In the Locker Room with Amanda Phillips, Assistant Director of Athletics Communications


Photo by Erin Koo, Photo Editor

Assistant Director of Athletic Communications Amanda Phillips

If you’ve ever read a gameday recap, scrolled past media day flicks of Oberlin athletes on Instagram, or even just looked at some of the photos in the Sports section of the Review, you may have Amanda Phillips to thank. A former lacrosse midfielder at the University of the Cumberlands, she has served as the assistant director of communications since January 2021. Phillips helps with a wide variety of tasks such as photography, statistics, social media, and more to keep Oberlin athletics running for athletes, coaches, and fans.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How did your college athletic experience lead you to your current position?

In my third year of college, we won our conference championship. It was our very first one, partly because it was only our third year in program history. I did a post-game interview with our sports information director at the time, Tommy Chasnoff. He really liked what I had to say and the on-camera personality I showcased. He then ended up talking to me and was like, “I don’t know what your plans are, but I think you’ve got a knack for this.”

I wasn’t officially an intern, just an office assistant my senior year in the sports information department. A lot of it was just broadcasting, helping out with lacrosse and then soccer in the fall. I loved it. Then I took a graduate assistant position while I did my masters in the same department with Tommy. That’s how I got into the field as far as what I learned on the field and how it has helped me today.

How do you use the lessons you learned on the lacrosse field in your job today?

The nature of women’s lacrosse is pretty fast paced. You’re juggling between watching your defense, watching your offense, and carrying a ball up the field. You have to be cradling the ball constantly, making sure you’re following the game plan. The fast-paced environment of athletics in general prepared me for the fast-paced environment that is athletics communications, and also just being a student of not just lacrosse, but of sports — understanding how soccer works, staying up to date with basketball regulations, knowing what’s considered a statistic.

What is your favorite part of both your day-to-day duties and the special tasks associated with this role?
We just recently launched our TikTok under the name @yeo_athletics, and that has been so much fun. I like TikTok, but I’m not a TikTok creator. I’m working with Admissions Counselor Leah Crowther, OC ’21, and Assistant Vice President of Admissions Communications Ben Jones, OC ’96, and they’re helping out with some of the main TikTok duties. I’ve learned a lot and it’s been a very fun social media role to take on.

I think a special role I’ve taken a small step back from is in-game photography — this past year, we’ve hired so many phenomenal student photographers that have taken on that job. But I have now been exposed to this supervisor role that I enjoy. I really like seeing our photographers and watching them grow. We’ve had several this past year that had never taken photos of games before — first-years Suada Duvette and Callie Bateman, to name a couple — and it’s been so impressive to watch them look at their very first gallery to the galleries they’ve created now. And then there’s fourth-year Chase Sortor, fourth-year Lucas Draper, and third-year Maggie Balderstone — three people that have been taking photos with us in the past prior to my arrival.

Your GoYeo match and game recaps provide Obies with great information about all the sporting events around campus. What does your writing and research process look like for those?
I will say [Assistant Director of Athletics Communications and Compliance] Mike Mancini is a much better writer than I am. He has offered a lot of support in that department. When I entered this field, I was probably a stronger graphic designer, statistician, and social media manager than I was a writer. He really mentored me in the different ways of the writing process and how to best put a recap together.

There’s certain vernacular that’s used in sports writing that isn’t used in traditional writing. I really like to look at our stats … instead of regurgitating them, because you can look at the PDF or you can look at the box score, say “Okay, player A scored six goals, had one assist, and took seven shots. Player B, however, had many ground balls or three point attempts.” I think my process starts with the stats, and, when I get the opportunity, I add that color to it.

What traits do you think are necessary to have success in this role?

You definitely have to be affable. You need to get along with other people. You’re going to run into brand new coaches, you’re going to run into players that have questions. You’re going to run into other statisticians while you’re out in the field. Whether you’re traveling or they’re coming to you, you have to be willing to help people.

You have to be able to juggle every hat that’s thrown your way. If I couldn’t handle change, this would be a very difficult job to have. Not everybody wants to work a blowout game on a rainy Tuesday night, but that’s so important. You might not be the biggest fan of basketball for whatever reason, but you still have to put forth that effort because for the basketball players, they don’t care whether you like basketball or not, this is their sport. Along with just getting along with everybody, you have to put care and effort into your work.

What should someone who’s interested in becoming involved with athletics communications do?

Get involved in journalism, get involved in photography. I think being involved with the Review is a big thing. I think a lot of people don’t know that. Athletics communications is pretty broad. You can do a lot of different things in my field. You can be a social media manager, a photographer, a videographer, a content producer. You can just be running stats, you can be a game day operator. There’s so many different hats. But get involved in media in any way possible. If there’s anybody that wants to work in athletics communications, shoot me an email.