Andy McNamara knows that he never would have had the opportunity to be the Assistant Athletic Director at the University of Oregon if he hadn’t been open to trying new opportunities.
McNamara is in charge of the athletic communication office at the Oregon Ducks Athletic Department. He is the main communications director for the Oregon Men’s Basketball team and is a key contact for the Oregon Ducks football team as well. McNamara also coordinates media relations and leads the social media presence for the Oregon Ducks. When he was first hired, the Oregon Ducks had the seventh-largest digital presence in college athletics. McNamara also helped to launch the Quack Cave, which was the first social media command center in the NCAA.
McNamara is a graduate of the University of Maine, where he studied broadcast journalism. In college, he had hoped to pursue a career in sports radio. Shortly after college, McNamara quickly landed a gig as the play-by-play announcer for the Portland Pride in the Continental Indoor Soccer League in Oregon. Because they lacked anyone else for the position, he also served as the VP of Communications for the team.
When the league was dismantled, however, McNamara began working for Portland State University as the Assistant Director of Media Relations. McNamara felt that he was vastly unqualified for that position when it was first offered him, but he found the courage to accept the position.
“I was very fortunate,” said McNamara. “I didn’t have college athletics experience that comes with people that enter the field. I talked my way into the job.”
While working at Portland State, McNamara led communications for volleyball, soccer and wrestling. He didn’t know much about those sports, he said, but the university still trusted him to complete the job anyway. His attitude helped him stand out from similar candidates in the sports media industry.
“The fact that I was working in sports on a college campus gave me a youthful vibe,” said McNamara. “I knew it was something that I wanted to do for the foreseeable future.”
McNamara stayed at Portland State from 2000 until 2005, when he came to the University of Oregon as an Assistant Director for Media Services. His new position was created for him last September, when the Oregon Ducks Athletic Communications Department was restructured.
His job with the Oregon Ducks keeps him very busy managing media requests from outlets across the country.
“We’ve become a national brand in college athletics,” said McNamara. “Whether it’s the Duck or the uniforms or the logo, people know about Oregon, even if they’ve never visited the university.”
He identifies key skills that have paved the way to his success as having ability to identity publicity techniques, solid writing skills, solid communication skills and the ability to handle different types of personalities. He says being able to adapt and be flexible while also being cool under fire is invaluable.
McNamara encourages students to get to know other people who already have the jobs that they would like to have, which is how he was able to eventually work his way to the position that he has today. He originally thought he wanted to go into play-by-play sports broadcast, and he still does freelance broadcasting in his free time.
Working in sports forces McNamara to work many odd hours and lots of weekend shifts, but also recognizes the privilege that he has to work in the distribution of sports information at the University of Oregon.
“I feel very fortunate to have a job where I’m excited to go to work in the morning,” said McNamara.