Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Ned Colegrove serves as Georgia Gwinnett College's assistant director of athletics for communications and marketing. He is the primary media contact for the Grizzlies' new intercollegiate athletic program. Colegrove is pictured at the construction site which will house the new athletic complex.
Ned Colegrove, 26, is the assistant athletic director for communications and marketing and Georgia Gwinnett College. A University of Georgia graduate, Colegrove is the first person to hold this post at GGC.
In this installment of "Getting to Know..." staff writer Ben Beitzel talks with Colegrove about growing up in upstate New York and learning to spell his home town, transitioning to the south and how he avoided picking up y'all.
BB: First off, spell your hometown, I am not going to try to guess.
NC: S-K-A-N-E-A-T-E-L-E-S, Skaneateles, N.Y., like an atlas that's skinny, that's how you pronounce it.
BB: What kind of a word is that?
NC: I think it was a Native American word. I think it meant long lake, because it's in the finger lakes, the wine country, a lot of wine, a lot of cows. It's on a 17-mile lake created by a glacier.
BB: Sounds pretty.
NC: It's beautiful, it really is. I can't say, I mind the change in climate down here, but you can't beat the skiing up there. Fall and spring aren't too long, but it's beautiful in the summer.
BB: Do you miss the winter sports?
NC: Absolutely. We have two hockey rinks in my town. I didn't play growing up. Lacrosse is huge in my town. It's just a different atmosphere. I grew up skiing. From the time I could stand I was on a pair of skis. We had a little ski hill in our town and my family grew up out there. I do miss that. You miss the snow, but when I go home at the holidays and I spend a week or so up there, that's plenty of snow for me.
BB: What made you come south for college?
NC: With Syracuse University being right in my backyard and a lot of my friends going there, it's a great school, it's a great option. I just had a desire to start new and get a fresh start. I had a list of places that I had researched that had a strong journalism, specifically broadcast journalism, schools. The list wasn't terribly long, I kind of narrowed it down to a few and Georgia was on the list and when I was a senior in high school, I guess October of my senior year in high school, with my mother, I got down and saw Athens and applied early when I got home. I got in a week later and I never applied anywhere else. I didn't look back.
BB: Who else was on your list?
NC: Florida was on there. Missouri was on there. I took a look at Maryland. North Carolina. I had looked at kind of the mid-Atlantic from your D.C. to the Carolinas. I kind of whittled my list down a little bit. What I like about Maryland was the bigger campus, the bigger feel. That whole part of it and how it played into the student experience.
BB: My understanding of Syracuse is that they have a pretty good journalism program.
NC: Absolutely. It's up there in the top couple. I have several friends that were my year that went to Syracuse and I had a couple friends that one a lacrosse national championship. I just wanted to try something new and Athens, Ga., certainly fit what I was looking for.
BB: So did you adopt Georgia as a fan?
NC: Yes. Well, I grew up going to the Carrier Dome, seeing John Wallace and Lawrence Moten and Todd Bergen and Lazarus Sims and all those guys. And Syracuse lacrosse, I followed it very closely growing up and Syracuse football with Donovan McNabb and Marvin Harrison in those days. I got that in my blood and that gave me my passion for college sports, 30,000 fans at a basketball game, those were fun experience. I can remember a couple of times being in middle school or high school and sneaking down with my buddies to sit in the student section with the Syracuse students, just to kind of feel that. That energy was pretty cool, seeing them play Georgetown and UConn and those teams. But I definitely have adopted the Bulldogs, across the board, but obviously football.
BB: Well, Syracuse football, proud as it's tradition may be, isn't the most proud of teams.
NC: Exactly. Since the late '90s it's been a little different than it had been the decades before that. I am just a huge college sports fan.
BB: You came to school in Athens and worked at Georgia State and now here in Gwinnett, you must like Georgia.
NC: I love it here. It's over eight years now that I've been here and I have loved the lifestyle. I live down in Atlanta still. There is so much to do. Now that my body has gotten used to the climate down here, even when it's a little bit chilly I am putting on my jackets. I think back to when I would walk to school in the 40s in New York with just a T-shirt on. Here it's a different story.
BB: I remember when 50 was warm and now 60 is cold.
NC: You'd wear shorts in the spring time when it got 'warm' at 40.BB: What the biggest shock of moving to the south?
NC: I think it's funny, when I say New York. I think that's what a lot of people, their reaction when I tell them, who live in Georgia, that I am from New York, automatically is the assumption that I am from Manhattan or Brooklyn. A lot of people don't realize and you have to inform them that there are a lot of parts to the state and a lot of beautiful parts to the state. Now that I have sort of assimilated down here. Whether it was an accent they were looking for, but many of them have said, 'I never would have guessed.'BB: What have you picked up?
NC: Well, I haven't picked up y'all.
BB: That's that broadcast training.
NC: (laughs) That's right. The broadcast in me refuses to roll those words together.
BB: What's it like being the guy in the sports information role at a place where sports are so new?
NC: That's the fun part about it, it really is. No two days are the same coming into work here. It's really exciting to be a part of what we are and what we are becoming. You take a look at the facilities we are building, the passion we are generating. Not a lot of people get to be a part of something like this. Certainly it was a challenge to be brought in here and told, 'Go.' It's been a lot of fun. It's been a great challenge ... it's been very rewarding.