Staff member reflects on time at UNC Asheville

By Max Carter – [email protected] Staff Writer | Sept. 17, 2014 |
Last Friday marked Matt Pellegrin’s final day with UNC Asheville as the director of athletics media communications.
Since his arrival in 2010, Pellegrin acted as information contact for volleyball, women’s basketball and baseball. He was responsible for statistics, pictures and video, which included creating video for Kimmel Arena’s video boards, broadcasting games on the Big South Network, commercials for events as well as directing and editing weekly television shows airing on WMYA My40.
“We really appreciate all of his great work,” said Mike Gore, associate athletics director for external affairs. “We are sorry to see him go.”
Prior to UNCA, Pellegrin spent four years as UNC Pembroke’s assistant sports information director, his first full time position.
Pellegrin said the video production was simpler at Pembroke compared to UNCA.
“We just pointed the camera at the field and went back and forth. It became more advanced when I came to UNCA,” Pellegrin said. “Here we use multiple camera angles, graphics, and have the ability to put a clock on the screen.”
According to Pellegrin he vied to obtain this step in his career.
“It was an opportunity to do a lot more with video, a chance to get back at the Division I level, and a chance to move to Asheville, North Carolina, one of the prettiest places in the country,” Pellegrin said.
Being at the division I level brought higher expectations though, especially considering the size of UNCA.
“Sometimes we have to do things twice as good and twice as hard as other schools because we are smaller. We have to fight that much harder to get attention and funding,” Pellegrin said.
The experience Pellegrin gained at UNCA helped further him in the media communications field. His next step is moving back home to Mississippi and taking over video production at East Mississippi Community College.
Regarding his time at UNCA, Pellegrin said his position here was instrumental to landing the job at EMCC.
“UNCA has been a good experience. My knowledge of video increased so much that the job I am taking is video only,” Pellegrin said.
Though he will no longer be working at a division I program, EMCC is a positive step for Pellegrin. In two of the three past seasons, EMCC’s football team won the junior college national championship and for five years has been the Mississippi State Champion.
Many players moved beyond the junior college, some even making it to professional football. Current running back for the New England Patriots, LeGarrette Blount, spent 2006-2007 with EMCC before transferring to Oregon University.
According to Pellegrin, the prestigious football program at EMCC requires advanced video production as well.
“It is very exciting for me to become a part of that production team,” Pellegrin said.
Not only is the position an attractive opportunity for someone in his field, but Pellegrin also said he liked the prospect of being 30 minutes from his family, still living in Mississippi.
“Getting the chance to have Thanksgiving dinner at home this year is very important to me,” Pellegrin said. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time here but family obligations and a chance to take a different direction in my career was too good to pass up.”
An aspect of the job he said he will miss most is travelling with the women’s basketball team.
“There are so many characters on that team. It can get to be a grind during the season and if you’re not a little goofy you’ll go crazy, and those girls are goofy,” Pellegrin said. “I don’t want to play favorites but I’m going to miss them the most. It was a fun four years.”
Now with Pellegrin gone, UNCA is in search of a new associate director of athletics media communication.
“We are reviewing resumes on a small search committee and are still deciding on a replacement,” said Janet Cone, director of athletics.
With no one yet to cover the position, other UNCA staff members are aiding with Pellegrin’s former duties.
The recent hire of Bryan Dillon as the new coordinator of interactive marketing and social media, who Cone said was hired to “engage fans through technology,” will be one of the contributor’s until the position is filled.
“Even though one person is leaving we have other folks, even students, who will be coming in on an as-need basis,” said Cone. “That is one of the good things about UNCA — we have very talented students that are willing to help.”
Cone does not expect tasks in media communications to slow or falter without an athletics media director.
“Matt has done a very good job but nothing is going to change,” Cone said. “We are just thrilled that he gets to be closer to home.”