The S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University has had a history of being a pipeline for talent to ESPN. Many sportscasters and producers have graduated from SU and gone on to ESPN, including the likes of Mike Tirico, Sean McDonough, and Dave Pasch among many more. Today, students are getting involved with the company even before exiting school with the ACC Digital Network.
In a partnership with the conference Syracuse is producing live sports content for ESPN, with the ACC Digital Network. This network will drop the digital aspect next fall when it becomes a cable network. One of the men spearheading this initiative at SU is senior producer for Syracuse Athletic Productions Scott Hecht, who was brought in by one of Syracuse’s many ESPN connections Athletic Director John Wildhack.
Hecht worked under Wildhack, who was an ESPN executive at the time, as Hecht built up the SEC Network. This previous experience made Hecht the perfect candidate to lead the charge for the ACC Network here at SU.
“John had seen what I had done with the SEC Network, and when the opportunity to start up the ACC Network presented itself here,” says Hecht “John reached out to me and said come on up I want to talk to you, and I wound up taking the job.”
The transition has not been different for Hecht who abides by the same guidelines he used to build the SEC Network. As he continues to develop he has looked to raise the bar for the network here at Syracuse.
“We want to be perceived as best, and that is our goal. That is my goal, that is Kristen Hennessey’s goal, that’s Tom Whites goal, that’s Jim Hamilton, all the people that work in our department. It’s the goal of the Athletic department, that’s the goal of Newhouse, we want to be the best,” said Hecht.
But, Hecht knows that being the best is not as easy as it may seem. He talked about how sometimes you have to miss things to do your work. However, that is part of the job description and he passes that on to the students he works with.
“When my son was little, or when he was 5 or 8 or 12, I tried to make sure I could attend everything that he did, and I did as much as possible. But, you also have to put food on the table,” said Hecht.
It may not always be worth it either, “The place where you can decide how am I going to get there is here. If it is important to you and it is worth the sacrifice you’ll do it. If it is not for you, you’ll either figure out another way or you’ll go you know what maybe this wasn’t right,” said Hecht.
Today, he continues to sacrifice as he works with students to cover a myriad of SU athletic events. His position allows him to do the things he loves such as directing games, organizing the network in his vision, and mentoring.
Hecht says that it is the job of everyone in this business to pay it forward, “There is always people along the way that help you, and I learned that a long time ago. So I try to just pay it forward, everyone ends up paying it forward in some way shape or form,” said Hecht.
Hecht will continue to do so as the ACC Network profile increases, but he knows the network is ready to go linear now.