Daniel Gibbons is prepared to make a mark on Mercer as the new director of the ESPN3 program. He has already decorated his office in the WMUB building behind the Center for Collaborative Journalism with magazine covers highlighting various feats of athleticism.
A former college athlete himself—“if you consider golf a sport,” he quipped—Gibbons laughed when he said that sports are his “favorite thing in the world… I don’t really watch movies, I don’t really watch TV shows, just sports, all the time.”
He said he feels that his role here at Mercer will be a wonderful experience as it combines his two passions—sports and videography—while introducing two elements that are entirely new to him: teaching and working a job with regular hours.
“It’s like two jobs in one,” the veteran freelancer said of his position.
Part of his job will entail producing all Mercer’s video pieces such as highlights, hype videos and interviews. He will be involved in all facets of production at Mercer, from shooting, to editing to imparting his knowledge upon students in the program.
The other component will be managing the ESPN3 broadcast program, which Gibbons described as a “totally separate [thing], but still under my umbrella.”
Though very laid-back and approachable, Gibbons has an extensive background in videography. The Lexington, Kentucky native graduated from Asbury University and immediately immersed himself in the freelance world.
He shot horse shows for television broadcasts, travelling around the country until landing a more consistent job shooting sports videos at the University of Kentucky.
For three years, he produced videos for the school as well as shot weddings, corporate videos and more on the side.
Finally, Mercer University reached out to him asking that he interview for a full-time position. Having virtually exhausted the Lexington area’s videography opportunities, Gibbons said he was excited to move down to Macon and “try something new” directing the program.
He described his first impression of Mercer’s ESPN3 studio as a great one, observing that it is “very advanced” for ESPN3 standards and for a school of this size. The facilities provide students a lot of opportunities that Gibbons hopes they can apply to the real world after graduation.
“We blow a lot of schools out of the water with our ESPN3 program,” he said. “The students here work really hard.”
The students’ first impressions of Gibbons have been just as positive. Fourth-year engineering student Chandler Apple, self-described “unofficial engineer of the Mercer broadcast program,” called Gibbons “a fantastic addition to our program,” saying that he was immediately “ready to roll” despite being hired just weeks before the first broadcast aired.
Apple said that Gibbons “has exactly the right drive” to replace the previous director of Mercer’s ESPN3 program, Lisa Cherry.
The pair “spent many 14 hour days prepping for [the first] game,” Apple said. “[Gibbons] was always ready to learn… He works tirelessly. He worked a 95-hour week last week. I’m excited for the future of our program, because I believe his leadership and work ethic [are] nothing short of outstanding.”
Gibbons said his biggest goal for this year is to facilitate such high-quality shows that viewers won’t be able to tell the difference between student broadcasts and a professional ESPN production. He also appreciates videos’ ability to excite people and “pump up” teams and coaches.
“If I can make things that get people excited,” he said, “that’s the goal this year.”
Even more importantly, he said he hopes to “get as many students involved as possible.”
“We’ll take students, doesn’t matter your major… If you want to join, hit me up.”
Interested students can visit Gibbons in his office in the WMUB building or send him an email at [email protected]. Participants must work 20 athletic events unpaid before becoming a regular hire. Though the hours are not consistent, video work for football games will pay $50, basketball games $35 and all other events $30.