Clarksville, TN – With July quickly approaching on the calendar, Austin Peay State University’s all-time sports information director, and Athletics Department Hall of Famer member, Brad Kirtley is nearing the end of a 30+ year career at the university as he heads into retirement.
Kirtley became APSU’s sports information director in February 1984 — replacing another Athletics Department Hall of Famer member Sherwin Clift — after working in the Southeast Missouri State University’s sports information office.
Since Kirtley’s arrival, it would be hard to argue that any other part of the Athletics Department at APSU has seen more of a chance in its day-to-day operation, and how things get done, as well as a change in the sports information profession as a whole.
When he got the job in 1984 he was the only fulltime employee in the office having to cover all the department’s individual sports with only a part-time secretary and a hand-full of student workers.
Kirtley was able to get the secretary position turned into a full-time position, but it wouldn’t be until 1999 when that position would be turned into a second fulltime SID position, with the hire of current sports information coordinator Cody Bush.
In 2010 he was able to hire a second fulltime sports information coordinator when Alaric Klinghard was hired. Colby Wilson now holds that position.
But adding a couple of fulltime members to the office staff are only the beginning of what he’s overseen since his start in the SID office.
Today there are personal computers, copiers, faxes, email, stat programs, Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc., that weren’t around in 1984. Back then there were typewriters, pen and paper or a mimeograph machine to make copies after football or basketball games.
Releases would be sent out in the mail every week, now with a couple of key strokes on a computer the same releases are sent immediately, both prior to and after any event of happening in the department, as well as putting it on the department’s web site.
Talk about going from the pony express to the speed of light in getting information out.
But it’s not just technology that Kirtley’s helped the SID Office transform through over the years.
Improvements in promotional aspect of each sport, i.e., media guides (now on-line), posters, schedule cards, post-season publications and sports feature stories – both for the Athletics Department and for APSU’s Alumni publications.
But despite all the improvements and innovations that have transpired over Kirtley’s 30+ years, it’s his work and management of more than 150 student workers and interns over the years, many of whom have gone on to be SIDs in their own right that will be a huge part of his legacy, as they move on with their careers and themselves working with the next generation of sports information directors.
So as his final days count down at Austin Peay before joining his wife Jan — who retired from Trane — in the next phase of their lives, Kirtley has left his mark on the Athletics Department and the Sports Information Office that will last for many years to come.