Behind every Shippensburg University athletic event, unsung heroes tirelessly work behind the scenes to ensure a smooth experience for athletes and fans.
These heroes are the people that make up the Shippensburg University Sports Information Department (SUSID), a unit headed by Sports Information Director Bill Morgal.
Morgal, a Shippensburg graduate, is aided by two graduate assistants and a handful of student workers. His assistants have fairly specific roles relative to Morgal’s wide scope of responsibilities, but their contributions are beyond measure, he said.
“They’re invaluable,” Morgal said of his crew of assistants. “You couldn’t do this job without them, and you couldn’t do this job without functioning as a team. Do you have to take up a lot by myself? Sure. But at the end of the day, you can’t do this without the cooperation of your students and helpers if you want to have a first-class product.”
On game days, Morgal and his team are responsible for stat keeping, media relations, online broadcasting, public address announcing and scoreboard operation. Morgal delegates tasks to his assistants for any given game.
On a typical game day, Morgal arrives at the stadium or field house an hour or two early — and up to five hours early for football games.
“I’m really big on being early and doing things early just so you can test as much as you can,” Morgal said. “You don’t have time to troubleshoot once things pop up. So you have to have an organized front and plan ahead of time, because you really can’t succeed regularly by doing it on the fly.”
Austin Moreno, a senior engineering student, is one of the assistants who is so integral to the functioning of the department. According to Moreno, Morgal always finds a way to get the job done, no matter the circumstances.
“There have been games that I couldn’t be at, and I hear later that [Morgal] was doing four different jobs while also trying to [do the public address announcing],” Moreno said. “But what he always says is, ‘The show must go on. We’ll make do with what we have.’”
In addition to orchestrating game day operations, SUSID is also tasked with upholding the image of the athletic department and its athletes.
That image is exhibited primarily through the outward face of SUSID — its website, shipraiders.com. The website houses player biographies, stats and records in addition to team schedules, rosters and news.
The site is the easiest way for fans and members of the community to keep up with the athletic teams, and the engagement it drives is a testament to its importance.
According to the site’s Google Analytics report, the SUSID website accumulated nearly 148,000 unique users in the four-month timeframe from August to November 2019. In the same span, it racked up more than 876,000 pageviews.
Whether it’s that online presence or its role as an operational lynchpin at games and matches, it is easy to overlook SUSID’s needed value.