Video services director moves on

Video services director moves on

By Tyler Dixon

It is not often people get to know the man behind the camera, but Chris Hagstrom, former director of video services for Saluki Athletics, is hard to miss. From running around at basketball games to interviewing coaches, Hagstrom is a jack-of-all trades.

Hagstrom left his position at the university to work as the Director of Production for the South Bend Silver Hawks. The Silver Hawks are Class A affiliates of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Hagstrom’s dream was to be a broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs, which is why he decided to come to SIU. That was not the only reason he made the move to Carbondale, however.

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“It was the farthest away from home to get in-state tuition,” he said.

Hagstrom said the prestige of the radio and television program was a big influence on him attending SIU.

While attending Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Hagstrom said he got involved in the radio station. He said he played sports growing up, but after suffering an injury that never healed properly, he could no longer compete.

Hagstrom said despite his injury, he could not leave sports behind. He said he wanted to stay in sports for a reason that everyone has used one time or another.

“For the love of the game, those of us who can’t play, we want to find a way to have some impact in the game,” he said.

The long-time voice of Saluki basketball, Mike Reis, had a major influence on Hagstrom changing his career path from wanting to be on-air to working behind the scenes.

“God bless Mike Reis, he is the one that told me, ‘hey you’re not that good, Hagstrom said.

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Reis said he remembers a different side of the story. Reis said Hagstrom wanted to be the next play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Cubs but broadcasting was not his strength. He was good behind the camera.

“I’m not against people chasing their dream, but I am against them chasing their tail,” Reis said.

Hagstrom said people should listen to Reis because he has a lot of knowledge about athletics.

“He’s my mentor, I wouldn’t be where I am without him,” Hagstrom said. “If he didn’t tell me I’m an awful broadcaster, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in.”

Hagstrom graduated in December of 2007 from SIU, then held an internship for the Southern Illinois Miners before working there full-time. He said when he was offered a job in Saluki Athletics four years ago, he knew what he wanted to do.

“My goal in coming to this job was to put SIU on the map when it comes to video promotion, and that’s what we’ve done,” he said. “We’ve become the production group for the Missouri Valley Conference.”

A typical day for Hagstrom does not exist. He prefers to arrive at his office by 7 a.m. before anyone else is there because he can get the most work done. One of the first things he has to do in the morning is get his cup of coffee; he said he could not function without it.

Hagstrom counted the number of hours he worked in a particular week, which totaled 82. He said the week of New Year’s was especially difficult given the number of games in a small window.

Other than Hagstrom, every position in video services is a student worker.

“That’s the thing some people might not be aware of, this is all student run,” he said. “Everything we do is student run with the exception of anything that I may have a hand in.”

Hagstrom’s advice for younger students wanting to get into sports media is to get involved early and often. He said this is a chance for students to learn before they graduate.

“This is a chance for you to screw up, if you’re going to mess up, do it now because once you get out to the real world, it’s a much bigger headache,” he said.

Despite being the only non-student in video services, Hagstrom said the students were not just his employees but his friends.

Associate Athletic Director Andy Pettit had worked with Hagstrom on several projects, including commencement. Pettit said Hagstrom would be successful wherever he lands.

“I have a ton of respect for Chris, Chris was, if not the first, he was one of the first people here and one of the last people out,” Pettit said. “There’s a ton of respect if you can outwork people in this department, you’re something else because there’s a lot of people who put in a ton of hours here.”

Reis said Hagstrom did not walk on water and he is not irreplaceable.

“Everyone will be compared to him and that person will only be considered good if he or she does something better,” Reis said.

Hagstrom has now assumed his new role in South Bend, Ind., but said he is still helping with the transition for the video services department.

SIU alumnus Thad Jackson is taking Hagstrom’s role on a temporary basis until the athletic department can hire someone.

Hagstrom said the thing he will miss most of all is the people, but it will be good to be close to his family again, considering he has seen his family only eight or nine times in the past seven years.

Although he is looking forward to being a fan again Hagstrom said he will always be in the business of making fans happy.

“I hope to continue, wherever I go, from South Bend and beyond, to continue delivering the best content, but always being able to entertain the fans,” he said.

Tyler Dixon can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter @tdixon_de, or 536-3311 ext.. 256.

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