UH Athletics adopts a coherent media strategy


UH Athletics is starting to act like a Big 12 program. It’s weird but definitely welcome.

The department has decided to come out of its collective shell, getting more UH leaders in front of cameras and reporters. Most coaches and ADs that have come through UH have chosen to keep the media on the outside, which hurts their programs. Now, a department-wide effort is focusing on fan outreach.

Several weeks back, Dana Holgorsen recorded with the guys from the Scott & Holman Pawdcast. Dana has gone on local radio with his friends and big national shows like Barstool’s Pardon My Take but not on a UH-centric show. UH Football General Manager Ryan Dorchester helped arrange his appearance on the podcast. Hopefully, Dana keeps engaging.

On Tuesday, UH hosted a football player access day. In June! Over 20 players were available in an “open locker room” event at TDECU Stadium (there were AC issues in the locker room, so thankfully, they moved it to the Yeoman Club). At least 18 starters participated, and the interviews and information gathered will help create plenty of UH content throughout the summer. It was a genius idea from Associate Athletics Director for Strategic Communications Andy Pate.

There’s a word: strategic.

Transfer DB Isaiah Hamilton taking media day photos

That evening, AD Chris Pezman, Dana Holgorsen, and Kelvin Sampson did press conferences at Haak Vineyard in Santa Fe during UH’s Big 12 Preview Series. And Pezman will do the rounds this coming week with sitdown interviews with several local publications.

It’s an honest-to-goodness media strategy.

An Athletics official recently told me they view Sampson as “the gold standard” when it comes to media strategy. And they’re right: Sampson and his players are constantly marketing the program, always available, and hold more scheduled media access than any program I’ve seen. There are times during basketball season when we’ve spoken to Kelvin so often that there’s not really much left to ask.

I’ve never had that feeling about any other coach. Ever. Tom Herman did many things Kelvin does, but it was so superficial and only for his benefit.

Other coaches and the AD don’t need to meet the media as often as Sampson, but changing the old mindset is a big step. It’s helpful for the media but much more critical for UH. If Athletics is the University’s front porch, then it’s time to open the door and welcome everyone in.

They now believe they have a product to sell, and they’re finally going about selling it. And that’s good news. On Tuesday night at Haak Winery, Pezman said the program would have a big announcement this coming week. It may be the naming rights gift for the football operations building. But strategically announcing it the week they join the Big 12 shows they have a plan. And it’s a solid plan.

It really is a new era.

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