Jared Benko loves sports. He has worked at jobs doing everything from selling athletic shoes to coordinating media interview requests for the Atlanta Braves. He has been working in the Sports Communications office at UGA for five years where he frequently interacts with sportscasters from ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, and members of the print media. He is the Sports Information Director for the nationally-ranked UGA softball team for whom he produced the 2004 media guide that was judged sixth in the nation by the College Sports Information Directors of America. He has also contributed to the media guides for men’s and women’s basketball, gymnastics, and football. After he finishes his master’s degree, he plans to continue working in Division I athletics and one day become a collegiate director of athletics.
M.P.A. with a specialization in Higher Education Administration
University highlights, achievements and awards:
Upon graduating from the University of Georgia in the spring of 2005, I was awarded a graduate assistantship in the Sports Communications Office of the Athletic Association. Prior to graduation, I was a recipient of the HOPE and the Navy Supply Corps Foundation Scholarships. I have produced, edited and typeset 72 and 76-page softball media guides the past two years for the Athletic Association. The College Sports Information Directors of America (COSIDA) recognized the 2004 media guide I authored as the sixth-best softball guide in the nation. I also interned in the public relations department of the Atlanta Braves during the summer of 2002. Last season, I worked selected home games, including the NFL Playoffs, for the Public Relations office of the Atlanta Falcons. Additionally, as an undergraduate student, I was a member of the Sports Business Club.
Oconee County High School
I have been employed by the University of Georgia Athletic Association for over five years as a member of the Sports Communications office. Our office acts as an intermediary between various members of the media and all student-athletes at Georgia. It is not uncommon to find members of ESPN, CBS Sports or Fox Sports in our office during the fall. Part of our responsibilities include but are not limited to: writing news releases, producing statistics, coordinating interviews with head coaches and student athletes, nominating student-athletes for awards, producing game notes and setting-up press rows at various sporting events. I have been fortunate enough to work six NCAA national championships, eight SEC championship games, six NCAA regionals, along with several other events. Currently, I am in my third year as the Sports Information Director for the nationally-ranked Georgia softball team.
Family Ties to UGA:
My brother is currently a junior at the Terry College of Business majoring in finance. My aunt also received her graduate degree here at UGA.
I chose to attend UGA because...
...I felt that it offered a unique combination of academic excellence in a great social setting. Having spent a majority of my childhood in the Athens area, I had little doubt that I would leave the area for college. I feel truly fortunate to have such a great institution of higher education in my backyard.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
...work. I know that this response is not a popular answer, but I really enjoy coming into work everyday. My grandfather has always told me “if you find a job you enjoy, you will never work a day in your life.” I have found a lot of truth in this statement.
When I have free time, I like...
...to workout. I enjoy running and lifting weights. My favorite place to run is at the intramural fields. I also enjoy playing Xbox, watching TV, and reading.
My favorite professor is...
...Billy Hawkins. I had the privilege of taking several classes with him during my undergraduate experience. What made Dr. Hawkins unique was his communication skills and his sense of humor. I always found his lectures to be interesting and informative. He came prepared to class and was always available both before and after class to address any concerns that I had. To me, Dr. Hawkins is the epitome of what a professor at UGA should strive to be.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...my grandmother. She passed away on Sept. 30, 2005 after battling breast cancer for more than four years. She was truly a source of inspiration to me. I used to call her on a daily basis and check in with her. I know that she experienced a lot of discomfort during her last few years, but she would never show any pain when I spoke with her. Many of my favorite memories as a youth were spent with her. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and how big of an influence she has had on me. I count my blessings everyday for the opportunity to have had her in my life.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
...graduation day. I can’t help but reflect on my undergraduate experiences and how time has flown by. It still seems like yesterday when I was a wide-eyed freshman going through the orientation process. While the academic rigors here at UGA have been challenging at times, I would not trade any of my experiences at Georgia. I feel truly blessed to have been afforded an opportunity to pursue my education here.