FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - Patrick Pierson (@Pierson_SID), who was responsible for all communication efforts at Florida Gulf Coast University as Assistant Athletics Director for Communications, has been named Associate Media Relations Director at Arkansas, it was announced Saturday. Pierson will be the primary contact for strategic communications for the Razorback men's basketball and men's golf teams.
Named FGCU's fourth full-time Director of Sports Information in July 2010, Pierson was elevated to an executive administrative role within the department in the summer of 2012. He was responsible for the publicity and branding of all 15 sports at FGCU, the Eagles' official website, the department's social media efforts, Atlantic Sun TV broadcasts and overseeing FGCU's radio and TV negotiations in addition to serving as the primary contact for men's basketball, men's soccer, baseball, men's golf and men's tennis. He also added sport administrator duties for baseball and men's soccer in his time at FGCU.
During FGCU's run to the Sweet 16 of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, the first by a 15-seed in tournament history, Pierson helped catapult Dunk City to a household name and consistent national trending topic by implementing a season-long strategic, pointed messaging strategy made more aggressive by the program's opportunity on the sport's biggest stage. Pierson handled the media crush that came to the Fort Myers, Fla., campus in the week after the Eagles' third-round victory before traveling for the Sweet 16, making FGCU one of the most recognizable schools in the tournament, and after the tournament he helped FGCU keep the Dunk City moniker after head coach Andy Enfield was hired by USC.
Well before entering the 2013 NCAA Tournament, Pierson implemented an aggressive, social-media-driven strategy for the program. His strategy included preparing the student-athletes to utilize social media benefits and then promoting their social media accounts in the game notes, online bios and other supplemental materials, which led to Sherwood Brown earning honorable mention All-America honors and becoming the face of Dunk City. Due to Pierson's long-range planning, the Eagles were prepared well before entering the NCAA Tournament to fully capitalize on the opportunity which saw the FGCU admissions web site traffic increase more than 400 percent overnight.
In addition to his success branding the men's basketball team, he experienced championship-level production from men's soccer. The men's soccer program, which spent numerous weeks in the top 25, became the only current Atlantic Sun team to win back-to-back conference championships, taking the crown in 2011 and 2012, the first two years the school was eligible to win the title.
In the 2011-12 year, Pierson led publicity for FGCU's first Division I postseason-eligible campaign that saw five different teams capture conference titles, while a total of six programs were represented in the NCAA Championships. FGCU was the only Division I school to capture its respective conference regular season and tournament title in men's and women's soccer and was one of just 15 schools to make its conference championship game in men's and women's basketball.
In 2012-13, FGCU repeated as the only school in the nation to win its men's and women's soccer regular season and conference tournament title, while its men's and women's basketball programs stacked up a combined 53 wins, the 9th-best total in the country. FGCU was one of just four schools with 26 or more wins in both men's and women's basketball, leading the 11-year old department's charge to a clean sweep of the three A-Sun All-Sport races.
Since the summer of 2011, Pierson has represented the Atlantic Sun Conference on the CoSIDA I-AAA University Division Management Advisory Committee, a group that represents the Division I institutions that do no sponsor football with the primary focus being the transition of the CoSIDA national convention joining NACDA in 2013.
Pierson comes to Arkansas with nine years of Division I athletics experience, including six as the head of a media relations staff. Pierson took over the FGCU office following six years at St. Bonaventure University of the Atlantic 10 Conference, including the last three as the Sports Information Director.
At St. Bonaventure, Pierson was responsible for the department's media and public relations efforts, including the official web site. During the summer of 2008, Pierson coordinated the complete redesign of the department's web site with CBS College Sports. He also served as the primary publicist for the nationally recognized men's basketball program and oversaw St. Bonaventure's other 13 sports, while also serving as the primary contact for women's soccer, men's golf, men's tennis and baseball.
From 2004-07, Pierson served as the chief publicist for the women's basketball program and the host SID for the annual St. Bonaventure Shootout in Elmira, N.Y. He also served as the media contact for 11 other sports and managed the athletic communications intern staff.
On the St. Bonaventure campus, Pierson served as the Chair of Hall of Fame Selection Committee, was a member of the BonAlumnus Board and spent the fall of 2009 as an adjunct professor in the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Pierson also served a year (2008-09) on the Atlantic 10 Softball Championships Committee.
A native of Frewsburg, N.Y., Pierson graduated from Robert Morris University in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in sport management. During his stay at Robert Morris, Pierson worked in the athletic department's sports information office for three years and had a one-year stint as a marketing intern. Also, while in Pittsburgh, Pierson served as a promotions intern for the nationally recognized Pittsburgh's ESPN Radio 1250 AM and as a NFL Experience intern for the Pittsburgh Steelers for two years.