Woodville native takes reins as new Alcorn Sports Information Director

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 2, 2006

LORMAN &8212; The job title &8220;Sports Information Director&8221; may not be something the average sports fan hears of each day, but to members of the media they are an invaluable resource for information about college sports.

From setting up player and coach interviews to providing statistical information before and after games, SIDs provide a service sports reporters can&8217;t do without.

After nearly five months without one, Alcorn State hired Woodville native LaToya Shields

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late last month to be its next SID.

The 2004 Alcorn graduate spent much of her college career helping out with stats and other necessities for a variety of Braves sports, and she is excited to now be the one in charge for her alma mater.

&8220;It gives me a great sense of pride to come back and work here at my alma mater,&8221; Shields said. &8220;There&8217;s a real family atmosphere here, and I think that&8217;s part of the reason they hired me. That family feel makes it nice to come back and work with the people I knew before.&8221;

Shields, however, is very much in a foreign world. The sports information field is dominated by men, and virtually anyone working in sports is male.

&8220;As far as females go in this profession, only 11 percent of sports information directors are females, only eight percent are minorities and only two percent are African-Americans,&8221; she said. &8220;I feel like a huge part of the job I have now is to recruit more females into the profession with me. I plan to do that no matter what it takes.&8221;

Shields came into the sports information business in a roundabout way herself.

&8220;I majored in industrial technology with a concentration in computer networking,&8221; she said. &8220;When I was a student I started out doing basketball, and then I moved up to football. I decided it was kind of fun. Next thing you know when Josh (Bean) was here I was helping with all the sports and he said I should consider applying for the job.&8221;

With a major so at odds with her current line of work, Shields said there was only one explanation for the change in career path.

&8220;My love for sports (got me into this),&8221; she said. &8220;I never played sports but I always liked them. Basketball has always been my favorite.&8221;

Now a little over a week into the job and still getting her feet wet, Shields plans to make a few changes.

&8220;I really want the players to be more comfortable with the media,&8221; she said. &8220;A lot of them don&8217;t get interviewed after games, so I want them to be ready in case they go pro to be able to handle themselves properly with the media. I&8217;m looking to get them much more involved.&8221;