Powered by Nevco, A New Gameday from CollegeAD focuses on how athletic departments are working towards the eventual return of sports and what that will look like on gameday. Ed Kull, the Interim Director of Athletics at Fordham University joins the podcast to discuss the role of communication and continuing to look to the future.
Ed Kull was named interim Director of Athletics at Fordham in July of 2020, following the retirement of David Roach. He took on the job amid a crisis, unlike anything college sports has ever experienced. Kull started the conversation by saying that New York City, the home of Fordham University, is faring better than it had been just a few weeks ago. He says the university is preparing for students to return to campus.
Fordham is a member of the Atlantic 10 and plays football with the Patriot League. Both leagues have elected to postpone fall competition. Kull says as things began to change rapidly his department made the decision to “over-communicate” to make sure everyone impacted by their decisions felt like they were getting the most up-to-date information. Ed Kull explains they utilized digital platforms and social media; they also did Zoom town halls that were Q&A based. He also says he preferred video to get the message out because of the most personal component.
Kull explains that Fordham was already leaning on social media and digital platforms before the pandemic, but circumstances dictated they increase their presence. He pointed to examples of trivia contests, voting on championship teams, and TikTok videos all in an effort to get the campus and community-engaged. He says it’s been a true example of collaboration between his department, the university, and marketing departments.
According to Kull communication with donors, sponsors, partners, and season ticket holders has also taken effort, but he has found success over the phone. Describing the phone call as almost a lost art in today’s text driven world. Kull explains that people he’s had trouble getting on the phone in the past were willing to give their time to a conversation and offer feedback, suggestions, and advice.
He says that communication has been “everything” to him as he assumed the role of interim athletic director July. Not only in terms of the COVID-19 crisis but also in building relationships with his team, staff, and senior administration.
As far as what a new game day might look like when sports resume, Kull explains that social media will play a large role in personalizing the events. He realizes fans want to hear from the coaches in terms of what’s being done to prepare, especially for Basketball which is still scheduled to return in November. Kull says they’ve also focused on grassroots communication to connect to with young fans and potential Fordham students
Next, the conversation turned to revenue generation during these unprecedented times. Kull says he’s included their sponsors and partners every step of the way. He explained a lot of it is talking with the sponsors to get a handle on their needs as well.
Kull says the one message he is constantly driving home to his student-athletes, staff, fans and partners is the entire experience of college athletics. He says they must still continue to develop leadership skills and job opportunities post athletics. He says he’s looking for ways to help student-athletes and the institution as a whole long-term, not just during the pandemic.