Sandlin oversees the ‘fan experience’ at BGSU PDF Print E-mail
Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor   
Saturday, 01 February 2014 09:47
Sandlin_Craig_Sat_Feature.8310_rotator
Craig Sandlin at the Stroh Center. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Emails concerning the National Anthem singer.
Concerns with overly vocal fans.
Complaints about concessions.
Or anything else involving the game day experience for Bowling Green State University athletics, Craig Sandlin is going to hear about it.
The 26-year-old Sandlin is BGSU's assistant athletics director for marketing and promotions. While it's a 24/7 job, Sandlin is enjoying himself.
''I love sports. There are days when I am in a little bit of a mood,'' Sandlin said. ''But ultimately we're here to ensure that our student-athletes have a great experience when they are here ... That's a very big part of it.
''That includes playing in front of good crowds,'' he continued. ''It's rewarding after a hockey game when your hear (head coach) Chris Bergeron or some of the players talk about the great crowd, and how important that was to them.''
Sandlin got into the sport management field after his first year at Ohio University, when he decided being a teacher wasn't the career path he wanted to follow.
''In my very first sport management class, the director of marketing at Ohio came into talk about opportunities in his office. About 20 minutes after class was done, I was in his office talking about those opportunities,'' Sandlin said.
Things worked out as Sandlin was a full-time intern in marketing at Ohio his senior year, getting his first real-world experience.
''It was awesome, and it showed me I had made the right choice,'' Sandlin said.
After graduating from Ohio in 2009, Sandlin worked several places, including his alma mater, with the Miami Heat, and at James Madison University.
Sandlin was hired as the first coordinator of promotions and fan experience at BGSU in July 2012.
He moved into his current position last December.
''It used to be one person doing everything - marketing, advertising, in-game experience, video board, everything. That's a lot for one person to do,'' Sandlin said. ''They made a decision to change up the structure a little bit, and created this position. My job is to take care of the in-game experience.
''Once people were in the building, we wanted them to have great time, so they wanted to come back,'' he continued. ''For the first year and a half, my job was strictly around in-game atmosphere.''
Chris Kingston gave Sandlin the promotion just six months after taking over as Bowling Green's athletics director.
''Craig is energetic, and has a creative mind,'' Kingston said. ''I noticed pretty quickly that he gets things done.
''He's in the right slot to help us move forward. I wanted to recognize his talent.''
With the promotion, Sandlin is now in meetings as a member of the senior staff.
''I want him in the room when we are discussing our marketing and promotions initiatives, rather than having him too many levels removed,'' Kingston said.
With his recent promotion, Sandlin has an expanded role where he oversees all of the different game day pieces, including the in-game experience, the video board, and advertising.
''I had always considered myself a creative guy. It's enjoying more than just the game, it's the fact that it is an event,'' Sandlin said. ''That's what struck me, making a game into an event.''
While the main focus has been football, men's and women's basketball, and hockey, Sandlin said BGSU attempts to promote all 18 sports.
'It's about getting the word out. It's about pride in your school. Sometimes it's tough,'' Sandlin said. ''One of the benefits is that we have coaches here who understand that challenge. They have been in a position where they didn't get anything. Any little bit we were able to provide them, I think they appreciate it, and that's a good position to be in.''
Even with the heavy work schedule, there are some perks in the job.
''Not many people can say their job is to have fun; my job is to make sure people have fun,'' Sandlin said.
Last month, Sandlin was traveled to Detroit for the Mid-American Conference football championship game, and the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
''It's nice and a reward for me to be able to go up there, but it's even better to see the kids celebrating on the sideline after the win,'' he said. ''At the end (of the MAC championship game) when they are getting ready to pour Gatorade on Dave Clawson, I'm recording a video so we can post it on Facebook.''
 

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