RICHMOND, VA – As a former York College standout pitcher, Scott Day (’05) is used to being the middle of the action. Day has experienced his fair share of action and excitement in the last two weeks as the Director of Athletic Communications for the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams.
The former Spartan is in his fifth year at VCU, and his third year as the director of the department, is responsible for managing the media onslaught that has descended upon the Rams during their incredible run to the NCAA Division I Sweet 16.
“To say it’s been crazy would be a little bit of an understatement,” declares Day. “We went from being on the edge of the bubble to being one of the last 16 teams standing. It’s been a whirlwind for everyone involved in the program.”
The Rams found out they were selected to play in the 68-team field on selection Sunday. That kicked off a chain of events that has Day and the Rams riding high heading into Friday night’s Sweet 16 match up with 10th seeded Florida State in San Antonio, Texas.
VCU gained entrance to the tournament as one of the First Four so they had to do something that no other team had accomplished in the history of the Division I Tournament, win three games in five days to earn a trip to the Sweet 16.
The Rams learned of their berth on Sunday night around 6:45. Day then had to begin preparations that a Director of Athletic Communications usually has a few days to complete. Day had just over 18 hours to finish the laundry list of tasks that usually encompass a few days.
“I didn’t sleep on Sunday night because we were leaving on Monday to fly to Dayton and things needed to get done,” stated Day. “I remember sitting down on the plane and the next thing I knew we were landing in Ohio.”
The work behind the scenes in preparing for a trip to the Division I tournament is much like preparing for any NCAA event, just on a larger scale. Especially when talking about March Madness.
The Rams kept Day busy last week as they defeated University of Southern Cal, 59-46, on Wednesday in Dayton. After defeating the Trojans, the Rams jumped on a plane at 2:00 am Thursday morning, heading for Chicago, site of the second round against Georgetown. The Rams dominated the Hoyas, winning 74-56, advancing to the round of 32. VCU kept rolling on Sunday as they trounced Purdue, 94-76, to punch their ticket to the Sweet 16.
After the victory against Purdue, Day was inundated with media requests to speak to the engaging Ram head coach Shaka Smart along with various players that have keyed the Rams’ run in the tournament.
“We have had well over 110 media requests since beating Purdue including Mike & Mike, ESPN’s First Take, Kenny Mayne, Tony Bruno, Sporting News Radio, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and the New York Times just to name a few. The success on the court has opened doors for the nation to know more about the institution.”
Day knows that his is privileged to work with a dynamic head coach in Smart.
“Shaka has been incredible with the media,” states Day. “He is very engaging and entertaining and he has really been very accommodating to all the requests we have had without losing focus on why we are here, our guys. Coach Smart is not only a great head basketball coach but he really understands how to interact with the throngs of media that are now interested in our program.”
Not only is Day dealing with the thrill and excitement of a Sweet 16 run, he also has a number of exciting things going on in his personal life. Day and his wife, Amanda, are expecting their first child in late spring while they are also in the process of closing on their new house in the Richmond area.
“It’s been a crazy, hectic time but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I am very fortunate to have an incredible wife, a dedicated and hard working staff, and a group of basketball players who truly epitomize the model of a student-athletes.”
Day and the Rams depart for San Antonio on Wednesday and will attempt to become the second Colonial Athletic Conference team to earn a berth in the Elite Eight in the last six seasons. The winner of the VCU-Florida State contest will face off against the winner of the contest featuring the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks and the 12th seeded Richmond Spiders for a trip to the Final Four in Houston, TX.
“I would love to spend a pair of mid-spring weekends in Texas,” concludes Day. “This team has already proven it is up to the challenge so we all believe anything is possible.”