Montclair State University sports have taken a huge leap in publicity throughout the years. Director of Sports Publicity Michael Scala and Sports Information Coordinator Patrick Duffy have made this a possibility. The pair is in charge of the promotion and publicity of the 18 sports at Montclair State, and do it in a variety of ways.
The two have done their part in publicizing the teams as much as possible. They utilize social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter along with the Montclair Athletics website to spread information about teams, players, coaches, events and sports content. Scala understands that social media is a fast and effective way to do this.
“Over the years, we’ve tried our best to use social media to disseminate information out to people so that people know what’s going on with Montclair State sports,” Scala said.
They also coordinate game procedures such as season and career statistics, live stats and web streaming, game day previews and postgame recaps of every athletic event and more.
The dynamic duo of Scala and Duffy are the encyclopedias of Montclair State athletics, as they have all the records, pictures and key moments in Montclair State sports history engrained in their minds.
It wasn’t so long ago that these two were students themselves here at Montclair State.
When Scala entered Montclair State, he quickly got involved with the athletic department and got his hands on anything he could. He stepped into what he called the “best situation a student could possibly ask for.”
He came to the university as a computer science major, which quickly changed once he fell in love with the sports culture at the university.
“As a student, I took on more responsibilities than any student would, [as] I was allowed to,” Scala said. “I was given that opportunity and ran with it, and it kind of became a passion. Slowly but surely, I turned away from being a computer science major and eventually became a broadcasting major.”
Scala graduated from Montclair State in 1992 and served as the director of athletic communications at Division I Monmouth University for two years. He then returned to Montclair State to continue to build onto what he helped get started.
As for Duffy, he didn’t always have his mind set on Montclair State. His first option was Kean University until his advisor in high school gave him the idea of considering Montclair State because of its strong communications program. He decided to take a visit to the university and instantly knew this is where he wanted to be.
“Once I visited here, I knew it was a fit,” Duffy said. “From the time I stepped on campus, that’s when I was drawn here. People always say college is the best four years of your life and it truly was the best four years ever.”
Duffy graduated from Montclair State in 2010 with a bachelor’s in communication studies with a concentration in public relations. He returned in 2019 as the sports information coordinator.
While they’ve built their own legacies at Montclair State, they look to help the up-and-coming students who are trying to build their own. They work hand in hand with Montclair State’s School of Communication and Media (SCM) and assist students on projects, reporting and getting in contact with the teams’ players and coaches.
Sports media professor Kelly Whiteside loves the way the pair allows students to work on their craft.
“Working with Scala and Duffy has been a great opportunity for the Red Hawk Sports Network and for our students because they treat our students like they would treat any professional reporter,” Whiteside said. “They also have the same understanding that they are here to learn, [so] mistakes will be made, and the reporters they are dealing with are still students.”
The SCM has many clubs, organizations and networks, one of them being the Red Hawk Sports Network (RHSN). The network allows interns to broadcast basketball games and cover games for their weekly show, “Inside the Nest.” RHSN broadcast intern senior Jess Liptzin feels Scala and Duffy have been extremely helpful in helping interns and students advance in their majors.
“Starting off as a beginner broadcaster, they’ve really been able to help me every step of the way [in terms of] giving me good feedback and just making me feel as comfortable on the broadcast as possible,” Liptzin said. “Also as a journalist trying to do stories on athletes, they’ve been really helpful in setting up those connections and making it a really great overall experience.”
Both Scala and Duffy agree that their relationship with the students, athletes and coaches have blossomed over the years, but they believe that their great relationship with the teams is what keeps making this experience the best.
“I think the relationship between us and the coaches and athletes is probably one of the better relationships that we have,” Duffy said. “In the years that I’ve been doing this, the more familiar the athletes are with you, the more willing they are to do the extra stuff. The rapport you build with them is the rapport that helps both parties grow in the long run.”
After being here for quite a while, Scala and Duffy couldn’t say what their favorite Montclair State sports memory is. Scala, who is now in his 20th year as director of sports publicity, isn’t sure if he can have a favorite because “they’re all his favorite.”
However, there is one moment in Montclair State history that stands out to him the most.
“I’ll get a little sentimental and say that my favorite moment in Montclair State history is when I met my wife here,” Scala said. “I have three kids and a wonderful marriage that’ll be 20 years later this month.”
If one thing is certain enough, Scala and Duffy have done more to give back to their alma mater than anyone could imagine.