As a three-year member of the Alma College sports information staff, Harrison LaLone handled responsibilities in nearly every area of the office’s operation — from broadcasting games to handling statistics to serving as primary contact for specific teams.
Harrison was selected as the 2018 recipient of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s Tom Renner Award, which is presented annually to a student assistant at an MIAA member college sports information office for outstanding service.
Harrison is the fourth consecutive Alma student assistant to receive the Renner Award and fifth since the award’s inception in 2008.
“I’m glad I could continue the tradition we’ve built at Alma,” says Harrison. “Each of the previous three winners during my tenure have had a hand in my development, and I hope I’ve done enough for future candidates from Alma to say the same.”
Harrison says his time at Alma College flew by as he built relationships and earned experiences that will stay with him for a lifetime.
“My professors never hesitated to recognize my skills and abilities and tailor their assignments to me,” he says. “I also enjoyed working with Alma College Athletics, where I was provided a hands-on opportunity to hone my education and prepare for the future.”
Harrison began working with the sports information department as a sophomore. He was a critical part of enhancing Alma’s webcasting capabilities and produced the 2016 MIAA Softball Tournament and NCAA Division III Softball Regional and also served as a broadcaster for women’s basketball home games.
He also was the primary contact for the Scots’ cross country and track and field teams, and served as an assistant with the baseball program, making trips with the Scots to Florida to handle statistics in the last two seasons.
As a senior, Harrison added the responsibilities for the wrestling program and was a part of nearly every game day crew for home events, serving as the main statistical inputter at home volleyball and basketball games while helping to train students. He also handled public address announcer duties at several home events, including all baseball games over the past two seasons as well as the majority of soccer games at Scotland Yard.
In addition, he served as a member of the media services staff at the 2018 First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit and was a frequent member of the baseball statistics crew at nearby Central Michigan University over the past two years.
Students Learn their Craft
“In the sports information office at Alma College, everything is organized around opportunities,” says Paul Thomas, sports information director. “With the responsibility of providing coverage for the school’s 25 varsity sports, the pace of work is hectic, but at the center of all the activity — regardless of wins or losses — is a real-life, laboratory-like environment that allows students to gain experience in the work of athletics communications.
“The goal for every one of our students — especially those interested in a career in sport media — is to gain as much practical experience as possible through our office so that they can become ideal candidates for internships, graduate assistantships and full-time positions after graduation.”
Students who work in the sports information office are given responsibility to handle the day-to-day details for some of the Scots’ teams. Behind every game program, photo, story, social media post and video is the hard work of students learning their craft.
Harrison graduated from Alma College in April 2018 with a degree in communications. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in sport management at the University of Southern Indiana and has been hired as a graduate assistant in the Screaming Eagles’ Athletic Communications office.
Past Renner Awards winners have gone on to achieve success after Alma:
- Grace Wheeler ’15 served as the assistant sports information director at Alma College in 2015-16 and later served on the athletics communications staff at Michigan State University.
- Brad Vannatter ’16 works in statistical quality control with the National Football League.
- Ali Holmquist ’17 is the assistant women’s lacrosse coach at Bethany College (W. Va.) after spending a year on the athletics communications staff at Eastern Michigan University.