by Pete Moore, Syracuse University Director of Athletic Communications
Raleigh, NC – Awards and other types of recognition are nice but one of the highest compliments an athletics communications professional can receive comes when an individual has poured so much of their heart and soul into the position that they actually become a part of an institution’s profile.
Don Bryant – Nebraska
Mary Jo Haverbeck – Penn State
Fred Stabley, Sr. – Michigan State
Roger Valdiserri – Notre Dame
And now, Annabelle Myers – NC State.
Myers is putting the finishing touches on her 18th year as a member of the athletic communications staff at NC State. She currently serves as the department’s assistant athletic director for communications and the primary contact for the Wolfpack football program.
Myers charged into the sports information profession in 1986 while an undergraduate at Clemson. She quickly earned her place on the staff.
“Annabelle came to our office when she was a senior, the fall of 1986,” recalled Tim Bourret, the current Assistant A.D. for football communications at Clemson. “She contacted Bob Bradley about doing some writing as she had done quite a bit for the student paper.
“Annabelle has a personality that makes you feel like you have known her for 10 years from the first meeting. After an hour interview with Mr. Bradley, she had him eating out of the palm of her hand. She had the position and I was wondering if Mr. B was just going to go ahead and give her my job!”
After graduating magna cum laude with a degree in English and a minor in communications in 1987, Myers earning her degree from Clemson, she was hired by her alma mater as a graduate assistant in the sports information office. She added a master’s degree in English while jumping feet first into her career.
When Bradley, a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame announced his retirement, Bourret was promoted to take his place in the director’s chair. One of his first moves was to add Myers to the full-time staff as an assistant director.
From 1989-94, she was a primary contact with football, men’s basketball and track and field. Her work was recognized nationally in the form of a number of CoSIDA Publication Awards, including a “Best in the Nation” certificate for the 1992 Clemson football media guide.
Myers moved on to East Tennessee State in 1994, starting a four-year stint as assistant athletic director for media relations. She was responsible for the Buccaneers’ 16-sport athletic program.
She returned to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1998 when she joined the athletic communications staff at NC State.
Myers became part of what was then a very small group of women who were primary football contacts at Division I institutions at the time. In addition to Myers, others included Liz Abel at Utah, Nebraska’s Chris Anderson, Sue Cornelius Edson at Syracuse, Auburn’s Meredith Jenkins and Shelly Poe at West Virginia.
These “trailblazers” ultimately helped pave the way for other women to have media relations responsibilities for a male sport at the college level, although at the time they may not have considered the impact each would have.
Myers, like her compatriots, jumped feet first into the challenge. Her outgoing nature, combined with an obvious passion for helping student-athletes, coaches and the university, made it a simple transition.
“Its impressive for anyone to be in this business for 25 years, but even more so for Annabelle Myers,” noted Mike Finn, Associate Commissioner for Football Communications with the ACC. “She’s made a positive impact representing NC State football and has made a significant difference working closely with multiple head coaches and countless student-athletes.
“More impressively, though, she has done that while also balancing the demands of family without shortchanging either her professional or private life.”
Myers branched out beyond the boundaries of the Raleigh, North Carolina, campus to play an important media relations role on the national level. She served on the NCAA’s Men’s Final Four Media Coordination Committee for seven years, teaming with influential colleagues like Virginia’s Jim Daves, Claude Felton from Georgia, Jim Marchiony, then with the NCAA, and Jeff Nelson from Penn State, to assist with all media aspects of the Final Four.
“I am not sure she gets enough credit for it, but I always saw Annabelle as a trailblazer in our profession,” said Daves, Assistant A.D. for Media Relations at Virginia. “The reason she doesn’t get credit is because she’s never viewed herself that way and never wanted any attention for herself. She’s just a hard-charging, fun-loving, sassy, passionate, spirited, personable professional.
“Annabelle’s work ethic and booming personality have demolished any barriers she has ever faced. She’s one of the most gifted people-focused individuals in the business.”
Now, more than 25 years later since her first job, Myers is still firmly planted in athletic communications. Her contributions to the NC State program are not lost on the Wolfpack administration.
“Annabelle is the consummate professional and is such a well-respected leader both on our campus and in our profession,” commented Fred Demarest, Associate A.D. for Communications and Marketing at NC State. “Her contributions to NC State athletics are immeasurable and she’s had such a profound impact in our community.
“She approaches every day with both a sense of commitment and a sense of humor. Her ability to bridge generations of NC State athletics is remarkable. From current student-athletes to long-time alums, they all admire her, and those long-standing bonds she forms speak volumes to her character.”
Her at-home support team includes her husband, Ernie Myers, a former Wolfpack basketball player, and their son and daughter, Ernest and Emerson.