Lessons and Blessings From a Memorable Career
by ROB KNOX
I am blessed to begin my second year at UNCG, 16th in athletics communications & 23rd as a professional.
From resting on hard, wooden bleachers in high school gyms to sitting in the Philadelphia Eagles’ large pressbox and places in between, I’ve documented lots of memorable moments. I served in leadership positions that not even my wildest dreams would’ve imagined, met awesome people, and built tremendous relationships.
I loved telling the stories of triumph and writing about people.
Excuse me, while I pinch myself.
I’ve rafted on the historic St. Lawrence River in Montreal. I was lucky to witness Irish dancing in Northern Ireland at the Titanic Museum in Belfast. During my two years at ESPN, I met Jerry Rice, Tamika Catchings, Alex Morgan, and once waited for food from the cafeteria alongside Stephen A. Smith.
I’ve ridden on busses with numerous teams up and down highways after major victories and heartbreaking defeats. I’ve shared a freight elevator with members of the Atlanta Dream at Madison Square Garden. I stood on the sidelines in freezing cold weather as my fingers turned numb while covering high school girls’ soccer playoff games.
I spent close to three weeks in a “controlled environment” with the UNC Greensboro men’s basketball team, which included a memorable experience preparing for the NCAA Tournament. I celebrated with the Lincoln women’s basketball program when it won the Association of Division III Independents championship.
I sat in the last row in the middle seat between a pair of 6 foot, 10-inch players during a cross country flight with the Coppin State men’s basketball team when we opened the season with an insane road trip to Oregon, Illinois, and Notre Dame in a five-day span.
One of the most exciting moments of my career was documenting the phenomenal senior seasons of Kutztown basketball standouts of Stephen Dennis and Melissa McQuade, two of the humblest people I had the blessing of getting to know.
Some other cool memories were spending a weekend with the Lincoln men’s and women’s tennis programs at Virginia State, traveling with Towson women’s basketball to UConn for the program’s first NCAA women’s tournament game in program history, and working a game at the University of Tennessee with the UNCG women’s basketball team.
As you can tell, I’ve been to several places and witnessed many cool things during my career. I’ve seen the joy of competition at its highest level, the beauty student-athletes establish amazing standards of excellence, and the passion of the fans, parents, and supporters.
Serving others has been the bedrock of my career and it’s been fantastic. Mentoring has added deeper meaning to my purpose.
I’ve also failed a lot.
I’ve had plenty of typos — and probably will have more.
I’ve missed deadlines.
That hasn’t stopped me. It’s made me stronger.
There may have been times I was disappointed, but I was never discouraged.
All the love in my life from my family, friends, mentors, student-athletes, co-workers, and more filled my heart with gratitude. As I’ve learned during my journey the best highlights occurred to me after some of my deepest anguish.
Each place I was lucky to work during my career was special to me.
In embracing the grind to greatness and remaining positive throughout my career, I was taught the importance of accuracy and treating every assignment like it was the Super Bowl while living my dream as a sportswriter for my hometown newspaper, the Delaware County Daily Times.
I learned the value of tenacity and creativity while working at my alma mater Lincoln. I understood the importance of building relationships and developing staff at Kutztown.
ESPN taught me how to conquer adversity while continuing to show up. Coppin State helped me understand the infinite power of collaboration. At Towson, I learned how to lead from my seat along with the significance of investing in myself.
All of those skills — not on my resume — prepared me for the past year at UNC Greensboro when nothing during the 2020–21 year was normal except winning three Southern Conference championships.
There was no manual on how to thrive during a pandemic when you change jobs. Instead, I learned, like many of my colleagues, on the fly. It wasn’t easy. Zoom meetings were the norm.
Everybody was stretched and tested. Games were crammed into four months, which tested people like no other time ever. Through the 107 games in 138 days, by focusing on what I was able to control, my patience increased and my ability to absorb critical feedback improved.
While the memories will sustain me for a lifetime, it’s the people that I’ve been fortunate to work with, as well as those who have helped me, that have made a difference for me in my career. My network is amazing.
If I started naming names, this blog would never end.
I am fortunate that so many people have poured into me throughout my life that’s made the opportunity to begin another year in college athletics possible.
Continue to focus on your dreams and know that you can achieve anything!
I am excited to see what 2021–22 has in store.