Tech Tidbits: Thank Your SID Week

Daniel Gallegos and Stormi Leonard January 2021
Daniel Gallegos (left), director of athletics communications at Arkansas Tech University, and Stormi Leonard, graduate assistant, during a January 2021 basketball game at Tucker Coliseum.

The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) recently sponsored the annual “Thank Your SID” week. It provides members of the media, fans and others with an opportunity to express their appreciation to the communications professionals who invest countless hours and their expertise in telling the story of intercollegiate athletics.

Arkansas Tech University has been fortunate to recruit and employ a number of gifted SIDs, each of whom left their mark on the athletic department and the institution.

The first Arkansas Tech SID that I had the opportunity to work with — Larry Smith — set the bar very high. Larry compiled a significant history of Wonder Boys and Golden Suns athletics through his meticulous record keeping, wrote news releases and feature stories that took fans inside the games and established an unrivaled reputation for hospitality in welcoming members of the media, opposing SIDs and other guests to Arkansas Tech athletic venues.

Larry, who had previously served as SID at the institution now known as the University of Arkansas-Monticello for 17 years, was Arkansas Tech’s SID from 1987-2005. He was inducted into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame in 2000. There is zero chance I would be writing this or have the career that I enjoy absent his influence and mentorship.

Ben Greenberg (2005-12) and Paul Smith (2012-20) followed in those footsteps and guided Arkansas Tech’s athletics communications through a time of rapidly evolving technology. They continue to contribute to the profession today.

Daniel Gallegos inherited the mantle of athletics communications at Arkansas Tech last summer. A former graduate assistant at Henderson State University and SID at Southern Arkansas University, Daniel spent two years (2018-20) at the NCAA Division I level at the University of New Mexico.

We are fortunate that he, his wife Kylie and their children, Parker and Paxton, were ready to come back home to Arkansas. Daniel balances traditional SID duties with emerging opportunities provided by technology and does it all with a level of commitment that endears him to coaches, colleagues and those of us who write and talk about the Great American Conference.

On behalf of my fellow Arkansas Tech fans and in observance of the CoSIDA Thank Your SID initiative, I express my appreciation to Daniel, his assistant Taylor Gamez, his graduate assistant Stormi Leonard and the team of student assistants in the ATU Office of Athletic Communications. You all are the best, and you make it possible for this old guy to maintain a hobby that he dearly loves.

Talk to you on the radio.

Tech Tidbits is a column written by Sam Strasner, ATU director of university relations and radio play-by-play voice for ATU football and basketball.