Nick McAdam, Sports Editor
A month removed from the official departure of Gil Burmaster as Director of Sports Information, the Office of Athletics announced that 2012 UC graduate Laurel Simer will now fill the role.
Simer began her time working with the college in 2015 as the Assistant Director of Sports Information. As of Sept. 19, she has begun to take on 26 sports including the handling of media relations, publications, statistics and collections reporting and general administrative support.
Simer gives a lot of credit to previous influences here at UC, including Public Relations and Journalism Professor Paul MacArthur whose structured courses made her pay attention to detail.
“Certainly all my PR sports communication classes gave me the pillars I needed for this type of job,” Simer said. “[But] I always enjoyed Professor MacArthur’s classes. He was strict and meticulous, but that taught me the importance of double and triple-checking my work and paying attention to detail.”
When she was a student, MacArthur suggested that Simer take an internship alongside Burmaster, who held the position she currently is at the helm of. Simer remembers a lot of trust and valuable hands-on experience from Burmaster during her internship.
“When I interned for him, he was pretty much a one-man shop,” Simer said. “I remember one day within the first month or so there was a football game on the turf at the same time as a women’s soccer game on the grass field. He had to be at football so he gave me the stat laptop and sent me to soccer by myself. That was neat because, although I had started soccer games before, it was the first time I would be doing it on my own and it really showed that he trusted that I could do it.”
From that point on, Burmaster and Simer spent a total of eight years working together in the athletic department. Burmaster opened a graduate assistant position for her which helped her transition into her assistant position a short time later.
Seemingly every NCAA Division III tournament was hosted by Utica in some way shape or form during the 2017-18 academic year and Simer witnessed national championship crownings while gaining more communication experience.
Throughout all her time and experience, she was eternally grateful for everything that Burmaster taught her.
“He prepared me to be successful anywhere and I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for me,” Simer said. “We still talk and catch up a couple of times a week, and I’m very grateful to have him as a mentor and friend.“
Fast forward to her position now and Simer doesn’t plan on changing much from Burmaster’s previous efforts. Utica still ranks in the top 15 nationally in terms of Division III sports followers on all social media platforms.
One focus Simer plans to pinpoint is the emulation of what successful Division I schools are currently doing.
“They might have a bigger staff, but if it’s something we think we can do and it will help us, we will do it,” Simer said. “One example of this is doing photoshoots of all the teams and student-athletes before the season. This is the third year now that we’ve done that and it gives us great content for social media and it’s just another way to highlight our athletes.”
With everything going forward in the semester, Simer plans to adapt and plan for the times ahead in her new role.
“However, no matter what you do, I think you can always improve, so I’m always looking at ways we can get better,” Simer said. “Our field is constantly changing so there are always new things coming up that can help us.”