New NBA season showcases OHIO's multimedia talent

Published: November 1, 2023 Author: Ken Klein

Every few years, Ohio University sends a premier player to compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) such as Jason Preston (BSM ’22) in draft year 2021.

Year after year, NBA teams rely on a deep bench of multimedia professionals from Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication. The start of the 2023-24 NBA regular season highlights key points:

  • Ohio University Scripps College of Communication alumni work throughout professional basketball in broadcasting, technology, sales, video, community engagement, marketing, engineering, and animation.
  • Women are integral, from executive offices to camera operators.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers organization is stacked with Ohio University Scripps College of Communication graduates.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Virtually every aspect of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers’ communications is supported by skilled staff trained at Ohio University:

Video
Nicholas Langer (BSC ’21) is a Video Producer.

“I was able land the job with the Cavs initially and continue to succeed because of experiential learning at Ohio University: WOUB, OHIO Athletics and classes,” said Langer, adding that alumni connections also have been helpful.

Podcast
Carter Rodriguez (BSJ ’13) is co-host and co-creator of the The Chase Down Podcast at the Cleveland Cavaliers, named for LeBron James’s full-court sprint to make a block to help seal the 2016 NBA Finals.

Marketing
Tori Carras (BSC ’14) is a Marketing Director.
Olivia Christiansen (BSJ ’22) is an Area Marketing Coordinator.
Amy (Giannell) Armstrong (BSC ’09) is Senior Manager of Retail Marketing.

Community Engagement
Celena Zevnik (BSJ ’04) is the Director of Community Engagement and Events.
Melanie Seiser (BSJ ’09) is Vice President for Youth Sports and Community Development.
 

Kierra Cotton
Cleveland Cavaliers’ in-game host Kierra Cotton at Rocket Mortgage Field House. Photo courtesy of Kierra Cotton

In-game host
Emmy Award-winning reporter Kierra Cotton (BSJ ’16) at WKYC -TV is the Cavaliers’ in-game host.

“I felt thoroughly prepared for my future career pursuits following graduation,” said Cotton, citing hands-on learning at WOUB and student-run AVW (video) Productions combined with classroom instruction.

Engineering
Stacy Knox (BSC ‘99) is an Engineering Manager to assure technical quality of radio broadcasts.

Scoreboard
Daryl Royer (BSC ’06) is a Scoreboard Replay Operator.

TypeScript developer
Tom Curran (BSC ’14); he and his colleagues at the Cleveland Cavaliers were recognized for “Best Technology Solution” by Greater Cleveland Partnership for their work on an internal ticketing tool and application.

Bobcats Throughout the League

At the NBA Atlanta Hawks, Kimberly Rometo (BSC '04 and MITS '13) is Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation & Technology Officer. She serves on the advisory board of the J. Warren McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies.

“Kim Rometo is a visionary and an industry leader in digital transformation in professional sports,” said McClure School Director Charles “Chip” Linscott, noting Rometo’s previous work for the Miami Dolphins. “Kim provides a shining example of what’s possible when technical brilliance meets foresight, management chops and business ingenuity.”

In September, Billy Hartman (BSJ ‘15) was promoted to senior manager of basketball communications at the Atlanta Hawks. In 2013, Hartman was an intern at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

For more than a quarter century, Chuck Swirsky (BSC ’76) has been a Play-by-Play Announcer in the NBA; completing 10 seasons with the Toronto Raptors and entering his 16th season with the Chicago Bulls.

Chuck Swirskey displayed on the Chicago Bulls' media screen.
Chuck Swirsky’s image on the skybox scoreboard at the United Center. Photo courtesy of Chuck Swirsky/Chicago Bulls

Pamela Sher (BSJ ’98) is Senior Director of Ticket Technology at the Chicago Bulls. Justin Baldinger (BSJ ’13) is Director of Corporate Partnerships Sales and Strategy at the New Orleans Pelicans and Saints. At the Milwaukee Bucks, Gracie Huffman (BSJ ’18) is a Motion Graphics Animator.

Jacob Solether (BSJ ’18) is a Camera Operator for the Memphis Grizzlies and the NBA minor league Memphis Hustle.

“I hold Ohio University, college experience through the ESPN project, and my esteemed educators at OHIO in high regard,” said Solether. “They collectively provided me with invaluable college training that undeniably played a pivotal role in shaping my successful journey.”

Expanding role for women

Eileen Eidelberg
Camera operator Eileen Eidelberg at Washington Wizards game. Photo courtesy of Eileen Eidelberg

Camera Operator Eileen Eidelberg (BSC ’22), who has worked in professional basketball, soccer, hockey, football, baseball and golf events, shares her insights about history and the future:

“Being one of the only women camera operators in the DC area can be a challenge at times. I have to give it my all every day and I have to not be afraid to ask for help. I have talked to another woman who is older than me and she had to go through a lot more than I did. I am incredibly lucky that mostly everyone treats me with respect and takes me seriously; she didn’t have the luxury when she began. I am really grateful for my coworkers being decent human beings because I have no idea what I would do if it was a toxic environment. I am still beginning in the industry, but it seems like most men in my area are accepting of the women in the sports broadcasting industry and I just hope in the future it continues to grow and get better for everyone.”