By Jack Margaros
SPRINGFIELD — Brandon Eckles has returned to Alden Street.
The Springfield College alumnus has recently been named the Coordinator of Media Relations for Springfield College Athletics. After graduating in 2018 with a degree in Communications/Sports Journalism, he has circled back to his alma mater to be inducted as the newest member of Springfield’s athletics department.
“I think there’s an elevated sense of pride with this position because I was a student-athlete so I just can’t wait to pay it forward for the kids that I’ll be covering and make their experience fulfilling as mine was,” Eckles said.
The 23-year-old was best known as Springfield’s big man — being a four-year starter for the men’s basketball team. He was a pivotal figure and leader of the Pride’s most successful season in program history, where it advanced to the Division-III Final Four for the first time.
As he approached graduation, Eckles knew he wanted to work in sports. He applied to several athletic communications positions, but eventually was put on to a job as a sports writer for a small daily newspaper in Biddeford, ME.
“I drove up to Maine, crushed the interview, was feeling super cool about it,” Eckles said.
He made the decision to join The Journal Tribune, bought an apartment and was amped to start his life post-college.
He wrote about high school sports, joining just in time to cover championship week for the spring season.
“I liked obviously doing the reporting, going to high school games. Championship week was great,” he said.
Although, Eckles was still enamored by the prospect of working for a college athletics office. He saw a graduate assistantship open up at Western New England and jumped on the opportunity.
“I made a choice to change my happiness.”
He left Maine in the first week of August 2018 and began working in the Western New England athletics office a week later. While learning the ins and outs of athletic communications, Eckles was also pursuing a Master’s Degree in Sports Leadership and Coaching.
One year flew by, and Eckles’ skillset grew immensely. He became more versatile and enjoyed being around a college sports environment every day — which “keeps you young.” Most of all, he was pleased with his new career path.
“If I didn’t quit that job in Maine, there would have been no chance of me ever getting this job (at Springfield),” Eckles said. “That’s been the craziest thing about this whole experience.”
Over the summer, a full-time position at Springfield opened up. Again, Eckles jumped on the opportunity. After a successful interview, he was awarded the role.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t like what I do because I’m surrounded by college athletics and young people, young coaches that want to be successful.”
Returning to Springfield, Eckles gets to work closely with an old teammate and one of his best friends. Andy McNulty, the point guard during Eckles’ time on the basketball team, has been hired as a graduate assistant coach for the men’s basketball team.
“Me and him were freshman roommates. It’s definitely pretty crazy.”
In addition, Eckles gets to reconnect with his old coach, Charlie Brock — who is entering his 23rd season as the head coach for the Pride. The two have built a strong relationship over the years and continue to talk periodically.
“When I called him and told him, he was like ‘Great, I get to throw it all at you now,’” Eckles said. “It was so funny.”
Eckles hopes he can build the same types of relationships with every coach at Springfield, while getting to promote athletics in a “creative way.”
“I think it’s cool,” he said. “Gamedays are the best part about it because you’re at a live sporting event for work. You can’t beat it.”
Photo courtesy of Western New England University Athletics