Tom Blake chose to attend Thomas College because it offered him a chance to grow personally. His time at Thomas as a student-athlete led him to his career. Now, he tries to give the next generation of student-athletes experiences like his.
“At Thomas, the small class sizes allowed me to get to know my professors on a personal level, and that was something that was really important to me,” he reflects.
Tom also cherished the opportunity to continue his baseball career and to play for coach and professor Greg King. “Being a student-athlete allowed me to be part of a family,” he adds. “Coach King cared about every player on the roster – from the top players to the last man on the bench – and wanted to see them improve not only as players but also as students and people.”
Tom parlayed his experiences in the Thomas Athletics Department and on the team into a meaningful career opportunity. “My senior year, I interned with the College’s Sports Information Department. During our spring training trip to Florida that year, I met the Director of Athletic Communications at Castleton University prior to a game and talked shop about the profession. A few months later, a graduate assistant position opened at Castleton, and I ended up landing the role, in part due to my previous connection I had made in Florida.”
After graduating from Thomas and spending two years as a graduate assistant at Castleton, Tom moved to Florida to take a position at NCAA Division II Lynn University in Boca Raton. He spent a year at Lynn before returning to Castleton in 2018, when the Director of Athletic Communications position opened. In his role, Tom is responsible for overseeing the publication and promotion of Castleton’s 28 varsity sports by using social media; updating the school’s website; and, by managing statistics.
“I always tell people that at the end of the day, my job boils down to ‘I’m paid to watch sports,’” jokes Tom.
As a former student-athlete himself, Tom understands the importance of providing a great experience to his student-athletes. “Being able to promote those who give so much time and effort to the University – whether it’s in a game recap, a social media post, or a weekly award nomination – is what makes the job worthwhile.”
The pandemic has been especially difficult, he notes. “My heart goes out to student-athletes everywhere who have lost seasons,” Tom says. “I cannot wait for schedules to go back to normal and to have our stands full of fans once more.”
Tom credits Thomas College for his preparedness in starting his career and navigating the obstacles he has faced this year. “From the relevant course work to the internship requirement to the connections with the professors, I have no doubt that Thomas was the right choice for me and is the reason that I am where I am today.”
*This story was originally published in the Fall 2020 Thomas Magazine & Annual Report.