With nine days until the Super Bowl, Tony Fay’s Blackberry buzzed with messages and requests.
As the Vice President of Communications for the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee, Fay dealt with a stream last-minute questions.
“It’s been a very busy two years, and now we’re coming right down to the end of what’s been a great journey,” the former Mayborn student said during his time working for the committee.
However, Fay never panicked about the frenzied activity. He took it all in stride.
“It’s exciting when you’re dealing with the first ever Super Bowl in North Texas, a place that loves football,” he said. “You have a great responsibility to want to put on the best show and then showcase your home region in the best possible light to the world.”
In his role, he oversaw the planning and execution of the committee’s public relations, community services and communications strategies. Fay also worked tirelessly to ensure people were left with a favorable impression.
"You just want to be as helpful as possible,” he said. “You never know when you’re going to end up being the only person they have contact with around the event. You want to make sure you’re always giving somebody the best possible experience.”
Fay didn’t always have aspirations to work in the public relations field. As a journalism student at UNT, he wanted to be a sportswriter.
“I knew I wanted to do that,” he said. “I had no idea that you could do PR or that teams have PR directors.”
While he was a UNT student, he learned about an internship opportunity with the Dallas Mavericks. Fay, a lifelong Mavericks fan, said he mowed yards in high school to save up enough money to buy season tickets.
“When I had a chance to interview, I was a walking encyclopedia of Mavericks knowledge,” he recalled.
Fay landed the internship. He climbed the ladder and became the club’s Director of Communications, a position he held for 12 years.
“It really was a stroke of good fortune being at UNT,” he said. “Dallas-Fort Worth is the fifth largest media market. It’s the fourth largest metropolitan area in the nation. So that allows for students there a lot of chances to do internships, and get their foot in the door.”
After his job with the Mavericks, he managed his own company called Fay Sports Publicity (FSP). His clients included the Heisman Winners Association, Lifetime Fitness, Red Bull, Chuck Norris’ World Combat League and the Frisco RoughRiders.
Fay credits Dr. Richard Wells, a former faculty member in the Mayborn, for equipping him with skills that have helped his career.
“I can still remember sitting in Dr. Well’s feature writing class learning the do’s and don’ts of feature writing,” he recalled. “That made me a better writer. I appreciate all those things that the university afforded me.”
After selling his part of Fay Sports Publicity, Fay was the director of sports marketing and communications for Beckett Media, the world's leading publisher of magazines covering the sports collectibles industry.
Fay advises students to find work while they’re at UNT so they can gain experience. And he said not to let money influence their career decisions.
“Don’t get hung up on money,” Fay said. “If you’re good, that will come in time. Just get your foot in the door. A lot of people I know take unpaid internships after college just to get that experience, to get their foot in the door to lead to bigger and better things.”