Zekeya Harrison was featured in the August edition of WoSIDA Women to Watch Series, released last week. Women Sports Information Directors of America (WoSIDA) is a subdivision of the College Sports Information Directors of America, dedicated to serving the women in the athletics communications/media relations field. Check out the interview below:
by Chevonne Mansfield, LEAD1 Association Director of Communications
Zekeya Harrison moved into the role of Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations at Tennessee State in 2014. She oversees the publicity of all 15 Tiger athletics teams, the official website of TSU Athletics – tsutigers.com – sports publications and all aspects of media relations and sports information for TSU athletics. Harrison has been with Tennessee State for over a decade and joined the Tigers in October 2006 as Sports Information Coordinator after serving as a graduate assistant at TSU. She was a recipient of the 2017 CoSIDA Ethic Minority Convention Attendance Grant in 2017.
What got you into sports information/how did you get started?
ZH: I started graduate school unsure of what career I wanted to pursue. I knew I wanted to work in sports but didn’t know in what capacity. I began working in academics at Tennessee State and then in the ticket office before the sports information director at the time asked me to come work with him. I started learning the ropes and once I completed my masters degree, I knew I wanted to continue in the field.
Who are some mentors that you learned from and what are some of the lessons they taught you?
ZH: I learned from Lee Wilmot and Wallace Dooley early on in my career. They each taught me different things, including the basics of sports information and what it entailed. Mr. Dooley imparted the tricks of the trade and always encouraged me to work smarter.
What is your most memorable event/moment from your SID career?
ZH: My most memorable moment is being a part of the journey that saw the Tennessee State women’s basketball team win the 2015 OVC Championship. Being able to document those moments and witness the student-athletes, who I had worked with for so long, reap the rewards of their hard work, was emotionally rewarding.
Why do you enjoy working at Tennessee State?
ZH: I enjoy working at Tennessee State for many reasons but one would be the family atmosphere. I also take a lot of pride in representing a place that is not only my employer but also my alma mater.
Who is the most memorable/well known student-athlete you’ve worked with?
ZH: I’ve met so many memorable student-athletes but probably the most well-known at this point is Robert Covington of the Philadelphia 76ers. Rob is a great person. He was a great student-athlete who always carried himself in a positive manner and was always kind. I’m proud to see all the things he is accomplishing in his career.
What obstacles or challenges have you overcome in your career so far? How did you get through them and what did you learn from them?
ZH: I had to overcome the obstacle of a late start. My sports information journey didn’t start until my first year of grad school, so I was behind most of my peers as it related to experience.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome has been having to constantly adapt to the changes that occur in this profession. Once you master how to work efficiently, it’s easy to get stuck in your ways. Sports information has transitioned into an entirely different thing than what it was when I initially started. Being willing to grow and learn new things that take you out of your comfort zone and really force you to continue to expand can be tough. There is always something new to learn. Although it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient at times, it enhances your skill set and essentially will make you a better professional.
Another challenge I’ve dealt with is having to fight the perceptions that are sometimes associated with being an HBCU and trying to stay relevant and competitive as a limited resources institution.