Sports stops for life, remembering Hershey


From the sidelines
Marty Gordon

Photo courtesy of RU Athletics
Paul Hershey

Sometimes, the sports world has to take a moment to reflect on life. Yes, sports can distract us from our problems, but this week we lost one of the area’s sports information directors. Radford University’s Paul Hershey died Tuesday afternoon from injuries suffered in an automobile accident.

As a member of the press, I depend on the guys working at places like RU and Virginia Tech. In addition, I know how hard their job can be as I worked in the same office at RU as a student, learning the ropes of sports information.

So, I wanted to step back for a moment to remember Hershey. Of course, they have changed the title from sports information director to assistant director of communications, but the term SID is what Hershey did.

Hershey joined Radford Athletics as an assistant director for communications in August 2015. He previously served as a media relations assistant at Coastal Carolina from 2012-15, where he was the primary contact for women’s soccer, women’s indoor track and field and softball for three years.

He also was the cross country contact for one season and assisted with statistical and gameday operations for football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball.

Hershey served as the host SID for the Big South Conference Women’s Soccer and Softball Championships during the 2013-14 academic year, helping to coordinate all media relations efforts for the events.
Before going to Coastal Carolina, Hershey was a graduate assistant in the sports information office at Ithaca College in New York in 2011-12.

Prior to beginning his athletic communications career, Hershey worked as a sports writer for more than 10 years, with daily newspapers in Corning, N.Y. and Concord, N.C.

While with both papers, he covered a variety of high school and collegiate sports, including four ACC men’s basketball tournaments, along with professional events ranging from the NBA and NFL to NASCAR and golf.

Hershey graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1998 and earned a Master of Science degree in sport management from Ithaca College in 2012.

I first met him when the Virginia Tech basketball team traveled to the Dedmon Center to face the Highlanders. He was gracious in welcoming before the game and afterwards invited me to the interview room where the press got a chance to talk with both Radford coach Mike Jones and Tech’s Buzz Williams.

Hershey was very helpful and has been for the past two years when I needed anything on Highlander athletics. I wish I had more time to have gotten to know him.

Sometimes we need to learn more about the people we have daily contact with. This is true with Hershey.

I send my thoughts and prayers to his family, the Radford University staff and athletes, and the sports information directors as a whole.

Hershey was 40 years-old.