Effective May 2, 2022, Seton Hall University is pleased to announce the appointment of Jane McManus as the inaugural executive director of the recently established Center for Sports Media (CSM) within the College of Communication and the Arts.
In this role, McManus will develop and implement a multi-year strategic plan for the Center to further establish it as a world-class forum for interdisciplinary academic training and theory with practical and experiential learning opportunities. McManus will build upon an existing strong foundation of Sports Media-related curricular offerings, including the concentration within the B.A. in Visual and Sound Media program and the minor area of study for undergraduate students, by offering an array of complementary co-curricular opportunities for students across the University.
McManus anticipates working closely with students and faculty to create experiential learning opportunities to produce compelling and engaging for both internal and external audiences. Some of these initiatives will include furthering the CSM's established Speaker Series, integrating high-profile guests to lead workshops/master class opportunities, collaborating with University Athletics and Pirate Sports Network, and integrating related original programming for WSOU 89.5 FM, the University's student-run radio station.
In addition, McManus will collaborate with Interim Dean Renee Robinson, Ph.D. and campus partners on strategic planning, marketing, recruitment and ambitious fundraising campaigns to sustain the Center for years to come and position the CSM as the premier venue in the field.
"McManus' arrival to our campus and the launch of the Center for Sports Media is perfect timing," said Robinson. "Given the University's initiatives concerning the Seeds of Innovation and student learning, creative academic and co-curricular programming, field-based experiences and career readiness preparation, the Center was envisioned with these goals in mind. McManus brings the knowledge, skills, talent and passion to lead the initiative. Her industry reputation and ethical focus on sports media make her the ideal thought leader to guide this exciting new endeavor."
McManus underscored how the University is well positioned to launch the Center, as students can engage in sports in multiple areas such as law, business, broadcasting and journalism. "I'm looking forward to collaborating with professors and alumni to find ways to build connections that increase the rigor and opportunity for students who see sports as a profession," she said. "As much as I enjoyed my time as an NFL beat writer, or covering high school sports, I've loved a new challenge in academics."
McManus joins the University after a national search for the inaugural Executive Director. Ryan Hudes, Ph.D., associate dean and search committee chair, noted, "Jane emerged as a leader throughout our search and selection process, bringing together an ideal blend of expertise in both academe and media. This combination is a wonderful complement to the diverse array of scholars, artists, theorists, practitioners, professionals, and students within Communication and the Arts."
Most recently, McManus served as the director of the Center for Sports Communication at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where she directly engaged with students and set the agenda to prepare future leaders in sports journalism and communication. During her time at Marist, she grew the sports communication enrollment year over year despite the enrollment toll of the pandemic.
As director, she was responsible for outside-the-classroom programming, such as a speaker series; ongoing research, both independently and with Marist Poll; obtaining grants for adjuncts, such as ESPN host and analyst Michael Smith to teach an interview class; and consulting for the student-run sports website Center Field. She also planned large-scale fundraisers, including a gala at Manhattan's Pierre Hotel featuring Bob Costas, and facilitated philanthropic gifts.
Prior to that, McManus spent nearly 10 years at ESPN, covering the NFL and as a columnist for espnW. She hosted two radio shows, including The Trifecta with Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain, and was a frequent analyst for SportsCenter, The Sports Reporters, and Outside the Lines among other ESPN shows.
In addition to ESPN programming, she provided analysis on sports issues for MSNBC, Good Morning America, CNN, Al Jazeera, NPR and ESPN's national network of radio programs, among other outlets.
Her work has appeared in Newsday, The New York Times, USA Today and other outlets. McManus is also a sports columnist for Deadspin, and recently for the New York Daily News. She has a Deadspin sports podcast called The Ladies Room with Julie DiCaro.
McManus received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John's College, Annapolis, Md., and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she taught sports journalism for more than a decade.
"Working with students reminds me what it felt like to start something new, and how hard you have to work to get good at something," she said. "That's how I've approached my transition to this new phase in my career."
She added, "Besides that, who wouldn't want to work with Bob Ley? He exemplifies everything we want our students to be."
"The College of Communication and the Arts, students, and University are lucky to have McManus join us as we collaborate to educate and prepare the next generation of media professionals with 21st century skills," said Robinson. "McManus' leadership coupled with Bob Ley's generous gift places the Center on fertile ground for success."
About the Center for Sports Media
The Center for Sports Media within the College of Communication and the Arts redefines how students are trained in media, communications, sports business, engaging with the sports community, and producing groundbreaking content through University channels and partnerships with major media outlets. Established in Fall 2021, the Center for Sports Media provides an interdisciplinary foundation for academic training and theory with practical experience pertinent to excellence in the Sports Media discipline.