Mercer welcomes new staff members

The Cluster sat down with three new staff members: David Beall, Assistant Director of Media Relations for Athletics; Andrew Haeg, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Visiting Professor with the Center for Collaborative Journalism; and Stephanie DeFeo, Assistant Coach for Women’s Softball.


David Beall, Assistant Director of Media Relations:

Cluster: First, tell us about yourself, where you worked previously, went to college, that kind of thing.

Beall: I attended the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Ga., and majored in business management. I ran cross country for three seasons and was a student assistant in the media relations office. During my senior year, the media relations director left and I took over the department during October of my senior year. After graduating in May of 2008, I was hired full time as the media relations director. I worked five years at the university and was eventually promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for media relations. I then accepted a media relations position at USC Upstate in summer of 2012, covering men’s basketball, baseball and women’s soccer before making my way to Mercer in July of 2013.


C: Also, tell us about your job function:

B: I am the primary media relations contact for football and women’s basketball. I coordinate interviews for my sports, update, create media guides, write press releases, maintain statistical data, create game programs, design posters and schedule cards and serve as the social media coordinator for my sports.


C: What are you most excited about for this year at Mercer?

B: I am excited to be a part of a brand new football program and help create a tradition from scratch. From the first game program, media guide, social media accounts and media coverage, I get to create something that people are excited about, which makes my job enjoyable.

C: What makes you proud to be a Mercer Bear?

B: Seeing the daily interaction with fans on social media, I am proud to represent a university with loyal fans, and a group of people that care about an athletic department that is growing and winning at an incredible rate.



Andrew Haeg: Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Visiting Professor for the Center for Collaborative Journalism:


C:  Tell us about your background, what you are working on at this moment and what brought you here.

Haeg: I’m building something called Groundsource. It is a mobile engagement platform, which is another way of saying it’s technology that helps journalists reach out to people on their mobile phones, ask them questions and then gather that information and do something with it. It’s for journalists but also for researchers, non governmental organizations, community organizations and the like.

C: What led you up to this point? Were you in journalism beforehand?

H: I started in journalism about 15 years ago and I started writing for “The Economist” and producing and reporting for public radio. Did that for a few years and then had this realization that I was frustrated with the kinds of stories I was doing. It felt like I was doing the same story over and over again. I got in to journalism because I enjoy talking to people and understanding what’s happening. Before Facebook and Twitter, I saw that technology could help us get back to this shoe leather type of reporting that I valued in the first place.

C: What makes you proud to be a Mercer Bear? To be a part of the Mercer community?

H: I think my gut makes my decisions before my mind does, and right off I got a great feeling about the university. And values guide my decisions- professional as well as personal. It’s a very service oriented university that wants to support innovation as well as pursue academic and creative freedom. I’m really proud to be connected to a university that allows that intellectual creativity and freedom to produce innovative ideas that serve the community. I don’t think you get this opportunity often in life.


Stephanie DeFeo: Assistant Women’s Softball Coach:

C: Tell us where you are from, where you went to college, where you have coached and anything else along those lines.

DeFeo: I am originally from New Jersey.  I have been coaching for 14 years at the Division 1 level.  I went to college at the University of Louisiana Lafayette.  I was a four year starter, three-time Academic All-American, and went to the World Series twice.  I also played pro three years after I completed college.  My degree is in criminal justice with a minor in English.  I also graduated with honors.


After college I was an assistant coach at Southeastern Louisiana, University of Texas San Antonio and University at Buffalo.  My first head coaching job was in 1999 at East Tennessee State University.  I started the program there and coached there for two years.  After that I was head coach at the University of North Carolina for three years.  I then went to Ball State University and was Associate head coach for six years.  Last year I was an assistant coach at Purdue University.


C: How did you first learn about Mercer?

D:I learned about Mercer through my brother.  He is the head softball coach here and the first time I visited I loved the campus and facilities.


C: What makes you most excited about this year’s season?

D: I am excited to work with our team because we have so many great athletes and such a diverse bunch.  Even though I have only been around them for a short time, I know we have a great group of young ladies that will work hard and want to dominate on the field.  I am also excited about our staff.  Working with my brother has been something we have talked about for years.  The trust and knowledge between the two of us is invaluable.  We also have a new pitching coach Kim Mazzapica.  She is amazing and will do so much for our pitching staff!


C: What makes you proud to be a Mercer Bear?

D: What makes me most proud to be a bear,  having the support from our administration has been amazing.  I am proud to say I work for such a great University with such a great reputation for Academics and Athletics.