Page 35 - Foxtalk Winter 2012

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35
Winter 2012
malizing a partnership, using the new web site as the vehicle.
The APSE group would have a web page to use as a land-
ing spot for award-winning work, announcements, recaps and
videos of professional development seminars and other refer-
ence material.
Students, in return, would have invaluable connections to
professional editors and the kind of work they are doing.
When Pepin was sports editor at a regional newspaper,
the Middletown Times-Herald Record, he was recruited by
Strudler to teach as an adjunct instructor.
After Pepin moved to the online edition of the Boston Globe
and became chair of the APSE group, he worked with Strudler
to bring the editors’ group to the campus.
“Keith really has passion for sports journalism and that’s why
we’ve connected,’’ said Pepin. “We share that and we share the
desire to bring that to others and let them know why this is a
cool profession.’’
Last October, O’Connor came to Marist with Mike Breen,
the lead play-by-play NBA commentator for ABC Sports and
ESPN, for an evening of Q-and-A with students.
“I was very impressed with the kids and their willingness
and eagerness to learn and try to position themselves to enter a
very difficult work force,’’ said O’Connor.
And what was O’Connor’s advice?
Work like crazy if you want to get ahead and put your best
into the job you have at the moment.
O’Connor’s attitude goes back to his Marist days and
The
Circle.
He recalled, with pride, a major scoop—a story about
the firing of a Marist coach.
“I beat the
Poughkeepsie Journal
to the story,’’ he said, adding
he had four anxious days of waiting for the story to appear in
the weekly paper—days that the local daily newspaper could
have used to get the story, too.
But that never happened, and the anecdote, O’Connor noted,
highlights the huge difference between journalism then and
now, when a “scoop’’ could be posted online instantly.
Garofolo, one of the Sports Center’s first interns, heard
Breen and O’Connor on that recent visit and said their message
about hard work was loud and clear.
“You have to have a passion for what you do’’ and take
advantage of internships and the opportunities on campus to
get ahead in sports communication, like working for the radio
station, the newspaper or the McCann Center, she said.
Another Marist alumnus, J.W. Stewart, ’93, a former ESPN
news anchor, agreed that the new Sports Center, with its em-
phasis on new media, would serve Marist students well.
“Marist has always prepared students for the real world and
now they are going to be even more prepared for an ever-
changing communication industry,’’ Stewart said.
Back in his office, Strudler, who earned his undergradu-
ate degree at Cornell University, talked about his early
“horrible’’teaching days in a middle school classroom.
Students played tricks on him and he had no idea how to
handle the adolescent girls who seemed to cry at the drop of
the hat.
Not willing to give up on teaching yet, he went to the
University of Florida for his Ph.D. and merged academics with
his love of sports. From there, he came to Marist.
When the subject turns back to athletic successes—he won
the Orange County Triathlon in August—he turns modest.
He said he somehow manages to get in two workouts on
most days, squeezing those between classes and time with his
wife, Andra, and sons, Sloan, 4, and Elliot, 2.
But besides chatting about that recent win, he relished shar-
ing the harrowing but somewhat hilarious details of his first
triathlon attempt at age 15.
It began with a harrowing swim in stormy waters in the Gulf
of Mexico, off the shores of his home state of Texas.
“The swells were huge and I couldn’t see,’’ Strudler recalled,
then joked: “I could have been going in the wrong direction.’’
Back on shore, his mother (who’d passed on her love of run-
ning) was giving a tongue-lashing to his father (who’d passed
on a strong work ethic) because he’d encouraged their son to
train for the event.
Now they weren’t sure he was even still afloat.
But he was, though most other swimmers had opted to wade
in and walk the swimming distance along the shoreline.
Years later, the same “push on’’ attitude is present at the epi-
center of Marist’s sports communication program.
And asked why he did not give up that day in the rough
water, he responded simply:
“I said to myself, ‘I’m just going to swim.’”