MENOMONIE, Wis.–As a university scholar and cub reporter for the scholar newspaper, then as an area newspaper reporter and sports activities info director at UW-Stout, Layne Pitt has coated near 2,000 college athletic contests for each group through the previous practically 45 years.
He goes approach again. Within the late Seventies, he coated a soccer sport that celebrated the primary inductees into the Blue Satan Corridor of Fame. As we speak, the Corridor of Fame has about 200 members.
Through the years Pitt has created his personal Blue Satan legacy, nevertheless it’s by no means been concerning the numbers, titles, All-Individuals, record-setting performances or unimaginable pictures or performs. For the previous 28 years as SID, he has labored late, labored weekends, met media deadlines and stayed centered throughout double extra time video games to assist rejoice the efforts of the hard-working athletes, coaches and workers at UW-Stout.
In his soft-spoken, unassuming approach and regular presence, alongside together with his lived historical past of the Blue Devils, he has grow to be an establishment across the athletics complicated on south campus. He’ll depart a void when he retires Wednesday, Oct. 12.
“Layne is well-respected throughout the nation by all who’ve labored with him through the years, however particularly by the Blue Satan coaches and the scholar athletes who he has supported and represented together with his nice work,” stated Duey Naatz, athletic director.
“Layne is a real skilled in all elements of his work. His information and historical past of UW-Stout athletics and the flexibility to advertise UW-Stout with the tales of our scholar athletes is outstanding,” Naatz stated.
Changing Pitt might be Casey Parrott, director of athletic communications, who started work Sept. 16.
“On behalf of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Convention, we’re extraordinarily appreciative of Layne’s 28 years as sports activities info director at UW-Stout,” stated Matt Stanek, assistant commissioner for Media Relations on the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Convention. “We can not thank him sufficient for his limitless hours of offering publicity for the Blue Satan athletics division. Layne might be missed and we want him the easiest in his retirement.”
After practically three a long time with UW-Stout Athletics, the numbers add up: three chancellors, three athletic administrators, 53 head coaches and hundreds of scholar athletes. He led a workers that has produced greater than 25,000 tales, at the least 9,000 athlete portraits and tens of hundreds of motion pictures — together with creating movies, sustaining faculty report books and statistical archives and far more.
“My scholar workers has been excellent. We began off with a small workers doing paper stats. Now, with the enlargement of the web site, now we have upwards of 20 college students on workers to deal with stats, reside stream manufacturing, pictures (nonetheless and video), workplace work and writers,” Pitt stated.
He has loved attending to know his scholar workers and scholar athletes, who go to the SID workplace to talk or grasp round after video games. During the last a number of years he has stored a jar of Starburst sweet on his desk as a casual invitation to cease by. “It is a actually good gathering spot,” he stated.
UW-Stout has 19 groups, a quantity that has grown by a number of since he took over as SID in 1994. “Over my sports activities profession, I could not start to depend the variety of occasions I’ve stood for the nationwide anthem throughout the Dunn County space,” Pitt stated.
When he started as SID in 1994, he did not have e mail. The workers reported Blue Satan athletics information to media by way of faxes and telephone calls. Recreation statistics have been stored with paper, pencil and typewriter as a result of the early workplace computer systems weren’t transportable.
Change did not take lengthy, nonetheless. Lower than a 12 months later, he started creating athletics’ first web site with assist from Don Steffen, college editor, beginning with group schedules and rosters.
“The varsity had some kind of internet presence on the time, so I simply jumped on that wagon. We knew it was the long run. It simply continued to blossom, and earlier than you knew it we had a full-blown website,” Pitt stated. “The online has in all probability been our largest change. We are literally our personal media outlet with the web site. Nearly all the things you want is on these pages.”
Pitt, who has a level in pictures, has shot photographs of Blue Satan athletics all through his profession. He stopped utilizing movie round 2001. “The instant influence of getting a digital picture prepared to be used earlier than the sport is over is superb,” he stated.
“If somebody would inform me I might do solely one of many duties in my job, it might be pictures. I like taking pictures video games, function tales and within the studio,” he stated, noting that he went from the one athletics photographer to hiring scholar photographers the previous 15 years. “It is nice to see them develop as photographers.”
Prior to now 15 years, social media platforms akin to Fb and Twitter have introduced new challenges to the job but additionally new and extra instant methods to succeed in the media and Blue Satan followers, he stated.
Witness to Blue Satan historical past
He has seen loads of Blue Satan historical past. The interval from 2000 to 2009, nonetheless, stands out. The soccer group was 10-0 within the common season in 2000, after going 2-8 the 12 months earlier than. The ladies’s basketball group received 4 convention titles and made the nationwide event underneath Coach Mark Thomas. The hockey, softball and golf groups additionally shined.
“We hosted convention and NCAA tournaments like we by no means have. It was a whirlwind of exercise, going from one occasion to a different. The gyms and arenas have been packed,” he stated.
“I’ve at all times liked historical past, and Stout has an incredible historical past, each total and with the sports activities applications.”
He is appreciated the athletics administrators he is labored underneath — Steve Terry, Joe Harlan and Naatz — and the coaches, workers and athletes he is labored with, together with present Deputy Director of Athletics Erin Sullivan.
He is additionally loved seeing athletes succeed, each on and off the sphere, and attending to know them throughout their years at UW-Stout.
Memorable accomplishments embody Terry Anders profitable six nationwide dash titles; Brad O’Connell’s excellent baseball profession; Jeff Hazuga and Tony Beckham transferring on to the NFL; Laura Verdegan enjoying a basketball sport on a Wednesday night time and profitable the WIAC indoor triple bounce title the subsequent weekend; Kelsey Duoss and Julia Hirssig incomes All-America ladies’s basketball honors; and Amy Jamieson incomes first group all-conference honors in tennis, basketball and softball all in the identical faculty 12 months.
Pitt has seen soccer passing information set by Tim Peterson after which eclipsed by Matt Bunyan. The present Blue Satan quarterback, Sean Borgerding, possible will break lots of Bunyan’s information.
“Layne has been superior in his protection of sports activities each in season and out of season,” stated Borgerding, a senior from Spring Valley. “He is at all times working laborious to deliver out tales after video games to various things occurring within the off season.”
Borgerding stated Pitt’s help of athletes goes nicely past sport protection, akin to nominating athletes for convention and nationwide awards and honors, then highlighting their particular achievements.
Began profession as journalist
Previous to being employed as SID, Pitt was the sports activities editor, editor and a photojournalist for the native Dunn County Information for 11 years. He then labored for UW-Stout Photographic Companies for 2 years.
His work at UW-Stout has included being chairman of the Blue Satan Corridor of Fame Committee, a member of the Chancellor’s Athletic Advisory Committee and dealing with the scholar chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
In 2019, he obtained the Chancellor’s Tutorial Workers Award for Excellence at UW-Stout.
Pitt has been honored because the Midwest Division III sports activities info director of the 12 months by the American Volleyball Coaches Affiliation, and from 2005 to 2008 he was SID for the Northern Collegiate Hockey Affiliation whereas concurrently serving as UW-Stout’s SID.
A local of Bonduel, he has lived in Menomonie since arriving as a scholar in 1978. He transferred to UW-Stout after incomes an affiliate diploma in pictures at Milwaukee Space Technical Faculty. He was on the workers of the Stoutonia scholar newspaper and graduated from UW-Stout in 1981 with a level in industrial training. His authentic plan was to be a highschool instructor.
Pitt and his spouse, Laura, additionally a UW-Stout alum who works on the college’s Youngster and Household Research Middle, have 4 grown youngsters and three grandchildren.
“Laura has at all times been my help,” Pitt stated. “I definitely couldn’t have finished this with out her.”