SJMC students intern, travel with Spurs Sports and Entertainment

by Cheyenne Meyer:

Fans of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team know the excitement of attending a game. Between the loud crowds, the pumped-up music, and simply seeing their favorite players in action is an experience fans sitting anywhere in the arena just don’t want to miss. Two SJMC students are experiencing the games from a whole new perspective. They’re seeing it courtside.

Taylor Hair and Avery Schneider currently intern for Spurs Sports and Entertainment. Schneider has been with the group since last year, and Hair joined the team in August. Larry Carlson, senior lecturer, said these internships were made possible by Mike Kickirillo, the director of broadcasting for the Spurs and SJMC alum (class of ’88).

Photo provided by Texas State SJMC

Mike Kickirillo, SJMC Alum – Photo provided by Texas State SJMC

“Over the years, [Kickirillo] has utilized many of my students as interns,” Carlson said. “A number of them now work for him as producers, etc. Thanks to him, we have a great pipeline from our School of Journalism to the Spurs’ organization. And Mike, just like the players, has collected five NBA championship rings during his time with the Spurs.”

Hair and Schneider recently had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles and San Francisco to work on the broadcast of the Spurs’ games against the Clippers and Warriors. Hair, a senior electronic media major from Lubbock, explained their duties as interns.

“Avery and I have numerous responsibilities on game days and non-game days,” he said, “from making sure equipment is on the truck, setting up the broadcast desk, writing credentials, logging videos, and even thinking up a trivia question to use during the broadcast.”

Hair and Schneider work every home game, and have a checklist of tasks to complete before each game begins. On the road, however, their responsibilities vary. For the Warriors-Spurs game, Schneider worked EVS tape, taking cues from the producer on which camera to show any given replay. Hair, on the other hand, worked as stage manager.

IMG_5742“The stage manager sits with Bill Land and Sean Elliot courtside,” Hair explained, “and gives them anything they need while they call the game. Mostly you give Bill sponsorship cards to read on-air, and [give] stats to both of them.”

Hair has always had a passion for sports and a love for the Spurs, but this internship experience has been a different kind of experience.

“There is something different, new and exciting about not watching the game as a fan,” he said. “To get a chance to travel with [the Spurs] to a game and cover that game has always been a dream of mine. It was extremely exciting to watch the defending champions go head-to-head with one of the most exciting teams in the league at their home arena; it was incredibly loud and surreal. It is great to pick the brains of some of the best in the business while helping cover a team you love. It really doesn’t get much better than that.”

Originally a transfer from Texas Tech University, Hair has found that the education he has received in Texas State’s SJMC has benefited him greatly in preparing to enter the job force after graduation.

Taylor Hair, courtside

“Larry [Carlson] and the other professors are great at getting you ready for the real world instead of just reading from a book,” Hair said. “The staff has plenty of experience that they can relate to any situation or experience you may be going through. I am extremely grateful to Texas State and the SJMC for whatever my future holds for me.”

Hair said his goal is to end up at ESPN or work for a professional sports team’s broadcasting crew.

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