Arizona State football player Marco Salas finds his passion in media relations

Arizona State May 2022 Graduate Marco Salas got to see the Sun Devil athletics department from two different perspectives in his four years as an undergraduate student. Salas played on the offensive line of the Sun Devil football team while also working as an intern in the media relations department under the widely-known and respective Arizona State SID Doug Tammaro, recipient of the 2022 CoSIDA Achievement Award. “Doug has helped me understand what it takes to work in the industry and has provided me a lot of guidance in the two years I’ve interned in the office.” Salas also attributed his success to the entire Sun Devil media relations office. “They say it takes a village to raise someone and I feel everyone in the office has helped me grow in different areas of life,” Salas said. “Doug Tammaro brought me on through an internship program provided by the Carson Student Athlete Center and I’ve met so many people through the internship.” Salas enjoyed working softball games as an intern, where he would mostly report to Paige Shacklett (then-softball SID) and Liesl Babicka (graduate assistant), who have since been promoted to Communications Manager and Strategic Communications Coordinator, respectively. “I’d say Paige Shacklett and Liesl Babicka have helped me grow and realize what it takes to be a modern-day SID,” Salas explained. “They pretty much taught me everything by throwing me in and learning on the move. When I would have an idea for a tweet or a story idea they would listen and let me run with the idea.” In late March, less than two months before graduation, Salas was named one of 13 recipients of the NCAA Ethnic Minority Postgraduate Scholarship, which he will use as he pursues his master’s degree in Sports Law & Business. “I applied for three NCAA Postgraduate scholarships and this was the last one I heard back from,” Salas said. “I woke up one morning with a weird feeling to check my email, and when I opened it up I saw the acceptance letter and I was thrilled.” “There are really no requirements to use the scholarship besides being registered full-time at a school. I plan to use the scholarship for any class fees and save the rest for any other expenses that come up.” As a student-athlete, Salas knew he always wanted to work in sports, but he wasn’t sure which path he wanted to take before becoming a media relations intern with the Sun Devils. “I thought journalism and working as a beat writer was the right path because I loved writing and telling stories, but I didn’t have the same passion I had while playing sports,” Salas said. “I love being a part of a team and I realized media relations was the right path for me because I feel I’m on a team in the media relations department.” Salas sees certain members of ASU’s media relations department not only while dressed in a polo shirt in the office, but also when he had his pads on during football practices and games. “I always see guys like Mark Brand and Connor Smith because they’re always at practice or in the locker room during a game,” Salas explained. “I usually talk to them more when they’re at practice and talk about projects that I’m working on, but during a game I’ll usually say ‘hey,’ and stay focused on the game.” At several colleges, it is common for athletes of different sports to become friends, but Salas assured those relationships built with other athletes never became a conflict of interest. “I think it helps to know other student-athletes and develop a relationship with them because you get to know them and their story,” he added. “For example, I did a story on honor student-athletes, and I knew a couple of swimmers who were in the Honors College, so I was able to use them for the story.” That didn’t mean that being around former teammates couldn’t pose a potential distraction. “Since I’m done playing football I was able to shadow Mark and Connor during spring football,” Salas added. “While I wanted to joke and hang out with my former teammates, I had to stay on task with whatever they needed me to do.” Salas left a message for current and future student-athletes that are considering careers in media relations and collegiate athletic communications: “Don’t be afraid to use your experience as a student-athlete in your work,” Salas emphasized. “In the beginning of my internship, I would try to separate myself in my writing as a journalist and not as a student-athlete, but I didn't like what I was putting out.” “Once I started using my experience as a student-athlete in my writing and relating it to the student-athletes I would write about, my writing and storytelling improved.” In addition to using experiences as a student-athlete to his advantage, Salas also benefited from keeping an open mind to trying new things. “Another piece of advice I’d offer is to not be afraid to start something new,” Salas added. “When I first started my internship with SDA [Sun Devil Athletics], I wasn’t sure what to expect but kept an open mind with whatever I was assigned, and I ended up loving it.” Salas begins the pursuit of his master’s degree in sports law & business this fall at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law, where he is most looking forward to “learning more about working in college athletics and developing new relationships.”


Full story: https://cosida.com/news/2022/5/2/membership-young-professionals-spotlight-arizona-state-football-player-marco-salas-finds-his-passion-in-media-relations.aspx


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