How CougCenter Changed My Life

Brian's note: This was written by Neil Stover, the newest employee of the Pac-12 Network. I'm incredibly proud of what he accomplished during his time at WSU and that he'll be representing all of us down in San Francisco soon. It's an excellent job for an even better person. We can retire #HireNeilStover now. It worked!

You wouldn't think a blog could make any sort of significant difference in one reader's life. After all, how could a group of authors living in their moms' basements possibly play an instrumental role in anything? Even as the internet-scouring, blog-loving fanatic I am, the idea of one altering the course of my life was just flat-out silly.

But that's exactly what happened. Cougcenter changed the course of my life. That isn't hyperbole, it's fact.

Flash back nearly five months. Senior day was fast approaching as I prepared to partake in my last regular season game as a member of the WSU men's basketball support staff - I was the equipment manager for those who are unaware. That was when Brian-who has always been way too good to me despite us never having officially met in person-wrote a much-too-kind Senior Day tribute to me. As a rather quiet and unassuming kid, the attention was a bit embarrassing for me, though I appreciated all the support from everyone who commented on the article.

And then something happened that elucidated the impact a small act of kindness can make in one's life. A girl who worked at the Pac-12 (and whom I had never met) messaged me on Twitter. She noted she read the story on Cougcenter and thought it was inspiring. Just a few weeks later, I was fortunate enough to meet this girl in person at the Pac-12 Tournament down in Los Angeles.

Well, one thing led to another and it turned into a friendship. The girl was a shoe-in to be hired by the Pac-12 Network upon its inception, and once she knew who to talk to she spent seemingly every waking moment passing my resume around the Walnut Creek offices in hopes of helping me attain a job. As a broadcasting major and aspiring sports broadcaster, it truly is about who you know in this dog-eat-dog industry, and I was honored and thrilled to have her working on my behalf.

Somewhere around early June she was informed by some of the big wigs down at the Pac-12 Network that there would only be four production assistant positions open out of the 450+ applicants. Still, that did not stop her persistence in championing for me. Knowing I would be willing to work in a variety of roles to get my foot in the door, she kept pushing my resume to people in a wide array of departments.

Finally, last week all her-and I'd like to think at least a little of my own- hard work paid off for me. I received a call from the head of the Digital Network asking if I would be interested in a site coverage editor role with the Digital side. Video editing, photo cropping, headline writing- they were all aspects of the job. While it was only 20 hours per week, the interviewer informed me they were interested in me for a joint role in which I would split time between the television/broadcast production side and the aforementioned job with the Digital Network, bringing the hours to a full-time job.

As of just minutes ago, I officially accepted the position with the Pac-12 Network. My first real post-collegiate job takes me to San Francisco-and as someone who has lived in Washington my whole life, that's a pretty big deal. And more importantly, there will be at least one Coug representing the nation's best college down with the conference's new network.

But the point of my testimony is not to draw attention to myself. Instead it's to show just how major of an impact something as simple as a blog can have on somebody. Moreover, it's my chance to say "thank you" to the best blog community in collegiate athletics. To Brian and Jeff, both of whom I've befriended thanks to the power of Twitter, I appreciate all the two of you have done for me over the past couple of years. And to the rest of you: thanks for helping draw attention to me and my goals. How an easily embarrassed and (at least formerly) introverted student equipment manager can become the subject of a Cougars All-Access feature and CougCenter and Spokesman-Review articles, I still have no idea. But for everything you all have done for me, thanks. CougCenter gave me a perfect assist to help get my career rolling.

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