A new direction for athletics marketing

After months of student dissatisfaction with the state of athletics marketing, changes have been made, which the department hopes will bring back student interest in athletics.
Following Brian Cohen’s departure in January from his position as director of athletics marketing, an interim director was chosen. Ed Kull, then a marketing assistant, was chosen to fill the void when Cohen left athletics to work with other campus offices. After nearly six months of service, Kull was officially named the new director in May.
Kull has been with the University since June 2003, when he started as a graduate assistant in the department of external affairs in athletics. After serving in that capacity for approximately 10 months, Kull became the full-time administrative assistant to external affairs in April 2004.
“Ed’s been in the department for a couple of years in different roles relating to marketing and promotions and I think he’s done a wonderful job,” said Athletics Director Chris Monasch. “We just thought it was a great opportunity to hand Ed some more responsibilities. He’s got some great ideas and we thought it was time to give him that opportunity.”
Kull has big plans for his new position, including attempts to reach out to the students as much as possible.
“We want to really reach out to the students,” Kull said. “It’s a college, it’s a university, the [athletes] are all college students. It’s about the students. It’s a college environment. You have to get the students there, first and foremost.”
Following the announcement that St. John’s was no longer going to be known as SJU but was changing to STJ, students showed disappointment. Although the decision was made by the University marketing department, and athletics was not responsible for such a change, it was still looked at negatively by sports fans.
In addition, a Feb. 2006 survey conducted by The Torch found that only 15 percent of students felt that the department of athletics marketing was doing a good job.
“[The survey] was informative and gave me feedback from students and motivation on how and where changes need to be made in terms of addressing the students and reaching out to them better,” Kull said.
In February, after learning of the survey results, Monasch agreed that the problem was finding better ways to reach out to the students.
“The product has to be there, and it’s getting there,” Monasch said in a February interview, “and we have to do a better job of trying to reach out to the students, and to all of our fan base. We constantly, in meetings, are asking people, ‘How do we let people know? What can we do differently? What can we do better?'”
Kull believes that a grassroots effort is needed. Because St. John’s athletics is in a university environment, Kull said, the best way to connect with the students is to reach out to them and show them that they are needed. The athletes are students, he said, and their peers need to realize that they are needed to cheer on the teams because without the students, there would be no athletics program.
In addition, Kull wants to give back to the students to show them that their support is appreciated.
“My focus is really just to show them that these events are about them,” Kull said. “It’s about their school, their population, and we need their support for [the teams] to be successful.”
Monasch agreed, saying: “Our goal is to create as much enthusiasm on campus about all of our athletic teams. It’s not only important to the campus, but to the fabric of the University and all the students here to get involved and support our athletics teams.”
It is the hope of the department, and of Monasch and Kull, that they will be able to reach out to the students and bring a renewed feeling of school spirit to the Queens campus.