It’s the end of an era. The Mark brand era.
Brand, Arizona State’s senior associate athletic director for media relations, tendered his official resignation today. He had been an integral part of the school for nearly 40 years, with the remainder of that tenure being Director of Sports Information for the football program.
The brand handled media inquiries for the football program for local and national media. Under his leadership, the ASU football program had one of the most media-friendly policies with not just the head coach, but all assistant coaches and players made available on a regular basis.
During Spring Football, every assistant coach was made available and the media had the opportunity to interview more than 60 players during the 15 practices.
Brand ends his career on a high note. He is one of six people named to the 2022 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame, which will be honored at the organization’s 65th annual convention June 26-29 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Asked about the most memorable moments of his career, Brand couldn’t name a single one. . . or two.
“So many. It can’t be just one,” he said. “So many coaches, athletes. I went through 13 sports directors, nine head coaches.
Brand said he made the decision about a year ago, but informed sporting director Ray Anderson and assistant sporting director Jean Boyd about six weeks ago.
He said a big part of the decision was being able to spend more time with his parents as well as his wife Lori. Both sets of parents are well over 80 and have had health issues.
“We’re only about 20 years behind them and before we know it we’ll be their age,” he said. “We want to be able to enjoy certain things without having to worry about other things like work.”
Brand, a 1981 Purdue graduate, came to ASU in 1983 as assistant director of sports information for baseball, men’s basketball and soccer. He became director of sports information in 1987 and worked as a member of ASU’s senior management for several years, overseeing football publicity, managing the budget, and managing the football schedule.
He spent the two years before coming to ASU in a similar role at East Carolina University, serving as publicity manager for baseball, women’s basketball, soccer, track and field, swimming and diving, and assisting with men’s football and basketball, publishing multimedia guides and game programs.
Brand served as media coordinator for 11 first and second rounds and NCAA men’s and women’s basketball regional championships at ASU. He has been a board member and vice president of The Valley of the Sun chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame since 1989.
Recently, Brand was selected to be a member of the National Football Foundation’s District 7 Selection Committee and the College Hall of Fame. Brand has won several CoSIDA awards for his publications.
Brand said one of his favorite times was early in his career working with the baseball program when Barry Bonds was the face of the program.
He also says Pat Tillman’s years with football in the 1990s were also memorable, as well as the Rose Bowl games of 1987 and 1997.
Brand will soon no longer have to worry about arriving at the Tempe campus before sunrise or returning from early morning Saturday road games, not to mention countless hours spent observing and monitoring practices.
He doesn’t mind being backstage, in fact, he prefers it.
“I really don’t like being the story,” he chuckled. “I like being in the background. It suits me well. I enjoyed my time here, but all good things must come to an end.”
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