The man behind the curtain

Courtesy of Jake Looman

Castleton Sports information Director Ben Stockwell, left, keeps track of statistics during a recent basketball game.

Castleton University sports teams have had tremendous success in recent years. We often see student athletes’ successes plastered all across social media and If you have seen anything written about any Castleton team, it came from the office of Ben Stockwell.

If you’re a Spartan athlete, he’s taken your headshot. Odds are, he knows 90 percent of your career stats as well. Many say he’s the best at what he does.

In today’s world, sports information encompasses everything from game day operations and statistics to daily press releases and keeping a large presence on social media. It’s a very thankless, behind the scenes job, but with an incredible amount of product exposure.

“Most of what Ben does goes largely unnoticed by the general public. But it’s very much noticed if it’s not done correctly,” softball coach Eric Ramey said.

Football coach Tony Volpone and field hockey coach Jessica Kischko both commended Stockwell for his ability to expose all that their respective teams do both on and off the field, and they said they know all other teams receive the same coverage.

“Families, recruits and anyone following his publications see an article about commitment to community or academic all-conference. When they read that and they see that Castleton puts an emphasis on those two areas, it resonates with a lot of people,” Volpone said.

As a sport media major at Ithaca College, Stockwell interned his senior year in the sports information department at Cornell University. Following another one-year internship at Stonehill College, he accepted a position at the University of Pennsylvania as an athletic communications assistant under Mike Mahoney. To Mahoney, Stockwell was unequivocally the man for the job.

“We really liked his demeanor during the interview process. He had excellent acumen for the profession,” Mahoney remarked.

The combination of his experience and a drive that would go unmatched in the industry is what many believe makes Stockwell so good at his job.

“He has an incredible work ethic, and I think this is a job that you truly need to love to do it,” Mahoney said.

That work ethic would drive him to a graduate assistantship under Jeff Weld, Castleton’s current director of Marketing and Communications, when he was in his former position as sports information director.

“I remember him being like he is now. Professional, quiet, he just gets it done,” Weld said remembering Stockwell’s first days. “I think Ben is probably the most polite person I’ve ever met.”

A promotion for Weld to director of College Relations and Sports Information for the 2012-2013 academic year meant that a position was open as the associate director of Sports Information.

“When Jeff got promoted, we didn’t even need to do any outside search. We knew Ben was who we wanted in that position,” Athletic Director Deanna Tyson recalled.

Now, Stockwell has sole control of the Sports Information office as the director of Athletic Communications, with still some oversight from Weld. When asked why Stockwell is so highly regarded in the industry, Weld was quick with his answer.

“Certain people in the profession get caught up in just doing stats really well, or just doing social media really well or just writing really well and Ben has a broad understanding that all of those things together are what make athletic communications worthwhile,” Weld said.

Tyson has come to value what Stockwell does on a daily basis.

“He always knows what’s going on, and what needs to go on, and that keeps him ahead of everybody else. He doesn’t wait for things to happen, he’s ahead of what’s happening. That’s why he’s so successful,” Tyson said.

Weld agrees.

“Ben has a unique ability to have great attention to detail, but he understands the big picture.” Weld said.

Right now, Stockwell has two graduate assistants and one senior intern working with him and they all know what is expected of them in their positions. Second-year graduate assistant Taylor Wilkerson spoke about their expectations.

“He values the quality of every piece of work that we send out, as well as timeliness and professionalism very strongly. He takes ownership of everything that comes out of the office and makes sure it is to the highest quality possible,” Wilkerson said.

But his coworkers say he also always has time to have fun. It is common to see him in Glenbrook Gym on his lunch break mixing it up with whoever wants to play hoops. While he values the fitness aspect of playing basketball, there is always room for some trash talk, lunchtime rival Ramey said.

“The reality of Ben and I on a personal level is that in pickup basketball he is 0-2 against me and I hit two game-winners. In the same day. And I haven’t gone back. Why would I?” Ramey joked.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post A tough road ahead
Next post 50 years of party