Double-Life Brogan Prepares for Knecht Cup
By following Kansas Athletics on its various social media accounts, it’s easy to find fantastic posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The pictures or videos usually contain student-athletes during or outside of their respective competitions, but who is behind these posts? Meet Erin Brogan, a senior at KU from Haddonfield, New Jersey. Brogan is the subject of a double life worthy of her own TV show. Not only is she an intern with the communications department for Kansas Athletics, but she’s also on the Kansas rowing team.
Brogan’s days usually consist of little sleep, a lot of work and even more coffee. She deals with the typical college student tasks, but finds a way to balance life with rowing, school and work.
“We have 20-hour weeks for rowing and then I spend at least 12 hours a week in the office not including game days, then I have homework and applying to jobs,” Brogan explained. “It’s a lot of coffee, and I’m taking my coffee with a lot less cream these days. I wouldn’t trade any of it, though, even the rough days. On basketball game days I’ll be up at 5 a.m. and go for a row, then class, then the office, back to practice and I’ll make it to the basketball game a little before tipoff. We’ll leave the game around midnight and then it’s the same thing the next morning. It can get a little crazy.”
This is Brogan’s second year as an intern with KU Athletics working under Strategic Communications Manager Kyle Babson. Brogan states she soaks up everything Babson says with good reason, not only does he guide strategy on some of the largest social accounts in college athletics, but he had stints as a digital marketer for musicians Jay Z and Matisyahu. Brogan credits Babson for all that she’s been a part of in her two years.
“I have learned everything from Kyle, he is truly one of the best,” Brogan said with a smile. “He has such a professional background but at the same time he’s the best boss that I’ve had in my life. I’m going to miss him so much next year because he really takes the time to make sure you understand what he wants, but also that you get to put your input in it, as well. He finds a way to put your crazy ideas into motion and you actually make a difference. He’s not just a boss he finds a way to be your friend, as well, I’m really going to miss him.”
Some of her crazy ideas have paid off in dividends for KU Athletics and its followers. Brogan played a key role in creating the KU Athletics snapchat account, which became the first collegiate athletic account of its kind. Her snapchat idea initiated a double life for Brogan, which she states has been one crazy, fun ride.
“I told Kyle we needed to get a KU snapchat and he told me to do my homework on it and bring him a pitch for it,” Brogan said. “So that night I stayed up pretty much the whole night researching and found a business developer for snapchat. Kyle believed in the idea and I put together an email for snapchat, sent it in and ended up setting up a meeting with them later that week. It was weird being a junior in college, stinking it up in my French class and then 20 minutes later having a Skype interview with snapchat. Later on that week, Time Magazine wanted to interview Kyle and I.”
It’s a life that one minute has Brogan on the water listening to directions from Kansas rowing head coach Rob Catloth, and the next minute hanging out with ESPN’s Holly Rowe or chatting it up with National Basketball Association (NBA) scouts at KU games.
Though the work is hard and the hours are long, mix that with school work and practice and Brogan has her hands full, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s truly just been one crazy thrilling experience, it’s a growing field and I’m happy I have something to put on my resume,” stated Brogan. “I have been able to do some cool things. I help run the Instagram. We do a thing called ‘Birds Eye View’ with pictures from our amazing photographer Jeff Jacobsen, and Kyle lets me caption them. It’s also interesting to see how much you need to pay attention to each sport. You see which sport you haven’t posted about in a while or which is having an event this weekend. It’s extremely weird being on the other side of it now. It’s really important in the spring to get more footage out about rowing and softball, etc. because that’s when it’s in full force rather than in the fall or winter.”
Like Brogan explained, KU rowing is in full swing in its spring season. The Jayhawks have had three successful weekends thus far, winning races at the Cardinal Invitational, a home scrimmage against Drake and Kansas State and a victory in a dual against SMU. This weekend Kansas will compete in the prestigious Knecht Cup in West Windsor, New Jersey. The Jayhawks will face challenging competition on the water, but the trip also provides Brogan a homecoming opportunity.
“It’s about 45 minutes from my house so I think my mom and little sisters are coming,” Brogan said. “Maybe some cousins, it should be interesting it’ll be my last time racing in New Jersey so hopefully we get some wins.”
Though the site of the Knecht Cup will be new to Brogan, the faces will be familiar. The east coast is a hot bed for rowing and several of her competitors for this weekend, Brogan faced off against during her high school days. Brogan is excited to see familiar faces, but thinks the team will be even more juiced with an opportunity to face off against great competition.
“This one we have a lot of fun with because there are so many other teams there that we never really get to go against,” Brogan said. “You see all the times people are posting, but it’s fun to actually be there and see the faster boats or the normal ones. It’s a lot of fun and anything can happen at it. There will be a lot of ladies I raced against in high school there rowing for other teams so it’ll be cool to see all of them and see my high school rivals.”
For live updates of this weekend’s regatta follow KU_Rowing on twitter. For post-race coverage, check back with KUAthletics.
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