Kelly Whiteside, an associate professor at Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media (SCM), has been named to the College Football Selection Committee. The group selects the top 25 NCAA Division I teams in the nation and the four teams who play for the national title in the annual College Football playoff.
Whiteside spent 14 years of her career working at USA Today as the national college football writer and also dedicated her time to covering the Olympics and the World Cup before joining Montclair State. She has covered seven Olympic Games, nine World Cups, the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and numerous college sports. Whiteside was also the first female president of the Football Writers Association of America.
Whiteside says this is a huge achievement in her career and she feels honored to be part of the committee.
“I covered national college football for 15 years, so it’s really an honor to be named to the College Football Selection Committee,” Whiteside said. “It ranks right up there in terms of career highlights. It’s a sport I love, and it feels good to give back to a game that has been a big part of my life.”
Jon Kociban, a senior sports communication major, says he was not surprised with Whiteside’s selection for the Football Committee.
“I was surprised, but I also wasn’t,” Kociban said. “You’re blown away for a moment, [but] then you think about it and you’re like, ‘Of course [Whiteside] is involved in something like that.’ It’s such a high honor, but she is so accomplished in her career that it just makes sense. I’m very impressed and happy that she has this super cool opportunity.”
Kyle Forcini, a senior sports communication major, says this is a great chance for Whiteside to keep expanding her connections and providing more opportunities to her students.
“This gives her a ton of credibility, not that she needed more of that anyways,” Forcini said. “But it just kind of gives her a new avenue to make connections in that world as well. I know for one of my assignments we did last semester, she knows people who were able to get us to go to a Devils game, like actually cover it and sit in the press box. So, she already has a long list of opportunities you can [participate in] based off of her [connections] and experiences outside of being a professor.”
Whiteside believes it’s significant to incorporate this type of experience into her courses and is also planning to provide more meaningful opportunities like this to students in the future.
“I think it’s important to bring this type of experience into the classroom,” Whiteside said. “I would love to bring groups of students to cover high profile events, such as the College Football Playoff or Final Four in future years. We just launched our new [sports communication] major and we expect the program to grow quickly. Plus, the Red Hawk Sports Network (RHSN), also in its infancy, is doing a terrific job broadcasting our home games and producing two weekly shows.”
For some students, Whiteside serves as an inspiration to keep fighting for their goals.
Trevor Giesberg, a sophomore sports communications major, describes Whiteside as a passionate individual who motivates students to keep working hard.
“I would describe her as very passionate,” Giesberg said. “She, along with many of the professors here on campus, has had a lot of experience in the professional sports world. It has been amazing to see what she has done, and [how she has] inspired me to continue working hard.”