Hands shaking, Brad Monastiere marked a “1” in Grand Valley State University’s loss category on the stat sheet from his vantage in the press box. It was Hillsdale College’s 2009 Homecoming football game, and the Chargers had just stamped out Grand Valley’s 48-game winning streak with a 27 – 24 victory.
“I was like, no one’s done this for five years,” Monastiere said. “And I got to do it because our team beat them.”
Nine years later, Monastiere remembers that Homecoming as “the perfect day.” Though recording stats at Charger athletic games is just one of many hats Monastiere wears as Hillsdale’s assistant athletic director for media relations and event management — informally titled “sports information director” — he considers it one of the most meaningful.
“I very much view myself as a historian, of chronicling what we do across all the sports and having that become part of a permanent record,” he said.
Though he’s cornered out of sight in the press box or the basketball table at Charger home games, meticulously recording stats (the one task he won’t delegate), Monastiere is the communication hub for Charger event coordination and promotion. Besides recording stats, Monastiere runs social media for the Chargers, uploads athlete profiles and game recaps to the website, organizes team photos and sorts through game-day photography, and designs home-game programs. He’s also the chairman of Hillsdale’s Athletic Hall of Fame — he coordinates the nominating committee meeting, sends the committee information on potential inductees, and plans the hall of fame banquet.
“He’s so invested in our programs and our kids,” said John Tharp, the Chargers’ head men’s basketball coach, who traded office visits with Monastiere — partly for Monastiere’s M&M stash — since becoming the coach in 2007. “He is kind of ‘Mr. Hillsdale Sports.’”
Monastiere joined the Chargers in June 2005, after spending a year and a half as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News. Monastiere has no “average day,” and rarely runs on a 9-to-5 schedule. He works about 40 weekends every year, and the beginning of the school year — with the football and volleyball seasons coinciding — presents a particular time crunch.
Shouldering such a load, he’s single-minded in his inspiration.
“I’m in this frankly because I love our student athletes at Hillsdale College,” he said. “We bring the best here. You know their character is high, you know they’re high achieving people, and you know they’re going to do just amazing things when they leave here.”
Besides promoting them in his job, Monastiere hires students to help cover games, too.
Junior Samantha Catron, a softball player who has called stats during games for Monastiere since the fall of her freshman year, said he’s “probably the best boss you could ever have.”
Monastiere is considerate of his student workers’ schedules, making sure they have the hours they need but can take time off to focus on academics, Catron said. He trusts student employees, young as they are, which she said she’s grateful for.
Junior Paige VanderWall, a Charger volleyball player, has also called stats for Monastiere and helped him with graphic design work. Monastiere always has food for students before the games where they call stats, she said.
“Most all of us come straight from practice, so it’s really thoughtful that he looks out for us and makes sure we get a meal,” VanderWall said in an email. “Just little thoughtful things like that are what make Brad a standout [sports information director] across the board, and I know everyone that works for him appreciates those things!”
Though his care for student athletes has held strong during his nearly 14 years at Hillsdale, Monastiere’s job has evolved. When he joined in 2005, a Facebook account required a “.edu” email address, he said. Now, he’s set up the full-fledged social-media suite — Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the Chargers — except for Snapchat, which he said he won’t stoop to.
“You have to constantly evolve,” he said. “I’m trying to have recognition of what the fans demand — how do we promote our student athletes in the most effective way?”
Tharp affirmed that Monastiere is a huge asset to all the sports teams, constantly looking out for their interests.
“You know when there’s big games, Brad’s going to be there one hundred percent,” Tharp said. “He lives and dies with you.”
“I just don’t think people know how much Brad does for the school, and the amount of care he has for student athletes is unbelievable,” Catron said. “You’ll never find a Hillsdale Charger fan like him.”