A Q&A With Mike Nemeth

A Q&A with with Mike Nemeth, one of Mississippi State's Senior Associate Athletic Directors. Mike talks about his new duties and responsibilities.

With your new title of Senior Associate Athletic Director, what will be your responsibilities?
"I will oversee media relations. I will also continue to work with Coach Croom as far as his media needs. But the day to day football operations, from a media standpoint will fall to Joe Galbraith. He'll handle press conferences and teleconferences, player interviews, assistant coach interviews. And he'll be at the practices. He'll also handle some new duties such as practice releases and several other things."

What are some other duties you'll have?
"I'll also oversee marketing/promotions. That includes all the advertising for ticket sales, season and gameday tickets. We'll also have all the gameday activities and events, the atmosphere. Chad Thomas is actually the guy who runs it, but I'm overseeing what he does. But he does the day-to-day duties. He's done a great job and will continue doing that.

"What I'm really going to do in that area, as well as in media relations, is really craft the approach that we are going to take - as far as what is important to the department, what is important as far as the job is concerned. In other words, what is most important to us from a media relations standpoint, what are we going to stress, what we are going to work on. It will be the same with marketing. Ultimately, our primary responsibility is to sell tickets and encourage Bulldog Club membership. Those are our two primary goals in virtually everything we do."

Will you be doing more speaking engagements?
"I know I'm in more meetings that Greg (Byrne) has included me in or has gotten me to go in his place. But I think that's going to be the case for several of us.

"Even though Scott Stricklin won't have the title of Senior Associate Athletic Director, he'll be out there trying to raise funds. He'll be on the road more than I will."

That's two things. Any others?
"I'm also a liaison between Jim Ellis, who is the General Manager for the Learfield Property at Mississippi State, and Mississippi State. Jim will be the guy who will run the Learfield operation for us on campus. He's going out and selling sponsorship in our arenas and stadiums. The money he raises won't necessarily be tied to tickets and donations. That would include things like scoreboard sponsorships, and things we sell advertising for such as gameday score cards and other things like that. But the revenue he generates will be more for Learfield, but Learfield pays us a rights fee, so we are getting money from Learfield."

That's a big job for Jim. Will he have help?
"Jim has Taylor Harris working for him and I think Learfield may hire another person pretty soon. And maybe even an intern to help them in the office."

In addition to those three things you also will work with baseball won't you?
"Yes, I'm the administrator for baseball. What that means is I'm the guy who will be working with our baseball staff to make sure they have what they need from an administrative standpoint."

What will most of your day-to-day duties be?
"I think media relations will be most of what I do day-to-day, but I'm trying to give Joe as much of that as I can. The reason is, first of all, he wants it and I want him to have that (responsibility). But at least in the short-term, I will still handle any major announcements, such as a schedule, a new assistant coach, maybe something Coach Croom is doing.

"And in addition to that, up to this point, Greg has had me doing some things that don't really have a direct line to my job responsibilities. So, I assume I will continue doing those things as needed.

"But I really think day-to-day it will be a mix of everything."

Really, it seems like Greg is giving those of you who are now Senior Associate Athletic Directors more duties and experiences so that it allows you to be prepared to be an athletic director if you want to work toward that goal.
"I think that is probably true. But it's not only giving us experience, it's also giving us more opportunities to do more things. And it's also freeing him to do things that are strengths of his such as allowing him to stay out on the road and raise money.

"Greg, who cut his teeth in this business as a fundraiser, has spent a lot of time going out and meeting the Mississippi State people. For him to continue that, it will require a lot of other people to pick up a lot of slack because he'll be out of the office so much."

Greg mentioned that you are on a university committee which is looking into the MSU logo. Where does that stand right now?
"I'm on a university committee that is in charge of reviewing the university logos to see if there is anything we want to look at it. I think we are still fairly far away from anything happening."

Based on everything you've said, it appears he's going to allow the head of the departments, especially those of you who are Senior Associate Athletic Directors, a lot of leeway when it comes to making decisions.
"I really think the people that we have working at Mississippi State - from Greg all the way down - are quite capable. So, it wasn't a problem when more things started falling into our laps. Everybody in our department is a professional who wants to be the best and wants Mississippi State to be the best. When I say professional, I mean we want to do the best possible job that we can do. And then when we do that, we want to look for ways so that we can do it even better. And in order for that to happen, we have to work a little harder than the next guy. But that's not a problem for us."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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