Guilford College Sports Information Director opens opportunities for students


DaeQuan Fitzgerald

Dave Walters gives a presentation at the first CoSIDA U Camp in Maryland during the summer of 2018.//Photo By DaeQuan Fitzgerald/The Guilfordian

“I was sitting in Dave’s office last spring after returning from a mission trip in Texas,” said Morgan Tompkins, a junior and member of Guilford’s volleyball team. “He asked me about my greatest takeaways from the trip, and it turned into a very personal conversation about life. I mentioned how much hope it had given me in a very hard season.”

Dave Walters has been at Guilford as the Sports Information Director since June 1996, and has been a pillar of Guilford athletics for nearly 23 years. He is currently the member of the athletics staff with the longest tenure. After Walters, the staff member with the next longest tenure is men’s basketball coach Tom Palombo, who trails him by seven years.

Walters may just have one title, but he has many responsibilities that go beyond that of an information director. He serves as a liaison to media, promoter for the athletics department, record keeper, reporter, event host, camera operator and occasionally a play-by-play announcer. He arrives at Guilford College each day at 9 a.m., and if there are games during the evening he can leave as late as 10 p.m.

“Dave truly is a one-man show,” said Katy Holt, a senior who is double majoring in exercise and sports sciences, and health sciences. “He has his assistants and we do a lot, but there is so much that Dave does that I don’t think many people realize.

“I’ve spent a lot of early mornings working with Dave and have seen first-hand how tolling the job can be, but he doesn’t complain. He just keeps looking ahead at what else needs to be done or what he can do to make someone else’s job easier.”

In addition to being the sports information director, Walters also serves as staff advisor to the Guilford Christian Ministry. In addition, he served as the assistant athletics director from 1997 until 2017. Outside of Guilford, he serves as a Sunday school teacher at his church and is involved with the College Sports Information Directors of America organization (CoSIDA). Walters served on the board of directors for CoSIDA from 2011 to 2016.

For his phenomenal work, Walters was awarded with the ODAC Sports Information Director of the Year award in 2005. The Old Dominion Athletic Conference gives one sports information director this honor each year.

“It really meant a lot because it was the first award given and was truly an award given by my peers,” Walters said at the time.

Walters often says that he doesn’t do the job alone and that his students are how he continues to do the job year to year. The Sports Information Director has a staff of 10-15 students who work in his office, as well as in game day operations, as a function of the work-study program. Many of those students say that while they help Walters get the job done, he leaves a lifelong impact on them as well.

“Dave cares,” junior and political science major Logan Shortt said. “He cares about his workers. He cares about Guilford College. He cares about the quality of his work.”

The tasks that are carried out by the students who work for him are varied, but how his workers describe him is consistent.

“Working for Dave has made me a better student and better person,” Tompkins said. “Dave has also been a mentor to me through my time here. We often talk about questions of faith and life, and he’s really helped me grow in that respect. He’s also been there for me on numerous occasions and shown me how to extend grace and support endlessly.”

Walters himself worked in the sports information office at his alma mater, Ithaca College. He attributes much of his attention to detail in the job to his mentor at Ithaca, Pete Moore.

“Working for Dave is amazing! He’s such a kind person and is willing to work with you … and he’s always excited to teach you new things,” sophomore Emily Heck said.

Many of the students Walters supervises hold work-study positions, and in that role, he takes every opportunity to mentor students in the field of sports information and create personal connections with his staff.

“Thank you so much Dave, for everything,” Holt said. “I have truly enjoyed being your assistant for the past four years and I am genuinely saddened that our time is coming to an end. Please remember to take some time for yourself now and then. You do so much for everyone, but sometimes you need a break, too.”