[Sports Information Director Jason MacBain introduces Bona players and coaches to the media following a game at the Reilly Center – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]
By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — Now batting for the New York Yankees, No. 2, the shortstop, Jason MacBain.
If the following sentence seems weird, that’s because it is. The shortstop for the New York Yankees is Derek Jeter, not Jason MacBain. However, in an alternate universe in which MacBain could have picked his profession, that’s what he would be.
“I wanted to be the shortstop for the New York Yankees ever since I could remember,” MacBain said sitting in his office filled with sports memorabilia. “But look at me! I realized pretty quickly that was not going to happen.”
But while MacBain is not a baseball player, he still has accomplished a feat that no one else has ever done. He’s the youngest Division I Sports Information Director (SID) in the country.
And his trip to the become the youngest SID has been a long, strange journey, starting with studying Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University.
“If I could not be a baseball player which was a long-shot anyway,” MacBain explained. “I had to be a part of it in someway.”
MacBain took all the required courses, soaking in everything professors had to offer him, but even that was not enough for the man who longed to be on the baseball diamond.
The pop of mitt and the thunderous crack of the aluminum bats brought MacBain to the office of St. Bonaventure’s baseball coach Larry Sudbrook. No, MacBain was not entering the manager’s office for a try-out, but for a way to stick around the game longer.
Sudbrook made him a student manager, a position MacBain held for all four of his years at St. Bonaventure. Sudbrook, impressed by Macbain’s work ethic, said he was a different type of worker.
“You would tell MacBain to do something one time and you would never have to tell him to do it ever again,” Sudbrook said. “And even better is he’d have it done beforehand every time after that. Not only did he make my job easier, but he got along with the team so well.”
The dedication MacBain brought to the student manager position was only equaled by his dedication to be the best journalist he could. He quickly rose through the ranks at The Bona Venture, St. Bonaventure University’s student newspaper since 1926, to become Editor-in-chief.
However, even with the success MacBain had in writing for the sports section and holding the Editor-in-chief role, he sensed that it was not the profession for him.
“I realized that so many people long to be in sports journalism,” MacBain said. “I knew that the only way to make it was to stand out and I didn’t. I needed to find a different way.”
And, while MacBain sat in his first MBA graduate program class, he realized that he was in the wrong graduate program. MacBain’s thought process brought him to the Integrated Marketing Communications program.
“It was an up and coming field. Only about five universities were using it at the time,” MacBain said as he remembered his research. “I saw that this may be another way to get into the field.”
It wasn’t a guarantee, but his thesis on a way to improve marketing of St. Bonaventure University’s Athletic Department, almost exclusively on the basketball programs, earned him high-marks.
But it wasn’t until he received a phone call as he did some landscaping that he knew he would be around the sports field that he loved.
“Steve Watson called me and said he wanted me to interview for the position of Assistant Sports Information Director,” MacBain said.
But Sports Information Director Dallas Miller was skeptical.
MacBain had never once interned in the Sports Information offices and did not have the background experiences necessary for the field. But Sudbrook went to bat for his former dedicated student manager.
“When the job became available, I spoke to Steve Campbell who was on the search committee,” he explained. “Listen, we can search all we want for someone who has a degree in this, but you’re not going to get anyone better than MacBain.”
And while MacBain did not have experience, his dedication allowed him to impress not only Miller, but himself.
Spending long nights in a cramped office inside the Reilly Center, the stubborn MacBain never once asked for help as he taught himself the responsibilities needed to be a great Assistant Sports Information Director.
MacBain would watch how other universities would use social media to help elevate the status of their programs and discuss how they can do the same at St. Bonaventure. The never-ending work ethic impressed Miller.
“I would say that Jason is a grinder and I mean that in a positive way,” Miller said. “No matter how big the task, no matter how late at night it might take to complete, Jason was the type to really drill down and do the work to get it done.”
And when Miller became hired by the Buffalo Bills as a Social Media Director, there was no one else Bona turned to than MacBain.
“He see things in way that none of us see,” Assistant SID Matt Moretti said. “While others just see what’s in front of them, he sees how to use the social networking to market a brand. His work ethic never stops.”
It’s that work ethic that has Sudbrook believing that this is just one stop on the way to a more appealing position in just a few years.
“I think his skill set won’t keep him here long,” Sudbrook said. “I think he’ll move onto a bigger school, one with a football program. He’s going to be extremely successful in this line of work.”
While MacBain did not experience the success of hearing his name being chanted in Yankee Stadium, his work ethic has helped him become the youngest Division I SID in the country, success no one else has found.