Kirk still Grasping Hall of Fame Induction
University of Central Oklahoma Sports Information Director Mike Kirk was inducted in the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame on June 28. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the national organization.
“It’s hard to wrap your arms around really,” Kirk said. “In this profession, as everybody here knows, our job is to get honors, awards and publicity for our teams and student-athletes, so to be recognized is kind of humbling and overwhelming. To be recognized by your peers is something I’ll never forget.”
Kirk has been with the UCO sports information office for the past 30 years, starting in the fall of 1987. He is tasked with overseeing the media relations for all UCO athletics.
“I was just doing my job,” Kirk said.
He started as a student assistant at Oklahoma State University, but after four years wanted to go in a different direction.
“I got a taste of the profession,” Kirk said. “I then wanted to be a sports writer, so I took a job at the newspaper in McAlester after graduating.”
After spending a year in McAlester and another year writing in Lawton, Kirk thought he found his career. However, a call from his brother changed everything.
Let’s wish a warm welcome to (l-r)Diane Nordstrom, Ed Hill Jr., Mike Kirk, B.L. Elfring, Steve Hatchell, and Bill Jones(not pictured) into the 2018 CoSIDA Hall of Fame ! #CoSIDA18 pic.twitter.com/sbuyNRU2ce
— CoSIDA (@CoSIDAnews) June 28, 2018
“The sports information’s director job came open here and one of my brothers suggested I apply,” Kirk said.
He did and, after an interview with former Athletic Director Skip Wagnon, he was offered the job.
“I started on November 2, 1987 and have been here ever since,” Kirk said.
It’s a decision that he doesn’t regret.
“I’ve always felt welcomed here,” Kirk said. “Everybody in the athletic department accepted me with open arms. Some of the people I started working with when I came in 1987 are my best friends.”
Although he loves the job, it is not without its problems.
“It’s a very time-consuming job,” Kirk said. “I missed a lot of my family’s activities over the years. That’s just the nature of the business and you have to deal with it the best way you can if you want to remain in college athletics.”
Kirk has worked on a national and global level in the sport of wrestling, serving on the NCAA Division II committee and being committee chair three times. He also served as the press information officer for wrestling at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and was inducted into the Oklahoma chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2012.
The honors are not what Kirk cherishes the most. It’s the relationships.
“The relationships I built and still have with a lot of our coaches along with former student-athletes is something special,” Kirk said. “We’re basically one big, happy family.”
In 2016 Kirk retired, turning over the job to Chris Brannick, but returned this year in a part-time role.