Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

July 13, 2012

Fitting right in

New Northeastern State SID Cedrique Flemming is settling in.

The olive-colored walls in his office are mostly bare. But don’t be fooled by his lack of decorating.

Cedrique Flemming has certainly hit the ground running during his first two weeks as the sports information director at Northeastern State.

“I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people...and I’ve had one-on-ones with most of the coaches so far,” said Flemming who took over for Scott Pettus on July 1.

“These are a great bunch of guys and I’m excited to work with them.”

Flemming, 27, joined the NSU athletic department after serving as a media relations assistant at Tulsa for two years. Before that, he racked up media relations and journalism experience at Charleston Southern (S.C.), Bemidji State (Minn.), Sports Illustrated, the Utica Observer-Dispatch (N.Y.), the Manhattan Mercury and the Kansas State Collegian.

“Cedrique’s passion, background and expertise in media relations and sport information will be a great addition to RiverHawks nation,” said Tony Duckworth, NSU’s athletic director, in a release from the university at the time of Flemming’s hire. “I look forward to his addition to our team.”

While Flemming zigzagged the country from internship to internship and job to job, all along he just wanted to find a job where he was in charge. Now, he finally gets that opportunity in Tahlequah.

“I finally get to tell people what to do, basically,” Flemming quipped. “That to me was a big draw — being able to run my own department.

“I had an opportunity to work at an organization outside of sports information, just focusing on one sport, but I decided to turn that down. I like doing multiple sports.”

The Pratt, Kan., native will get his fair share of sports at NSU. And he hopes to implement a Division I-type caliber into each sport, when it comes to media relations.

“I want this to have the feel of a Division I institution,” Flemming said. “I worked at Tulsa, where I saw how Conference USA operated.

“...I see how Division I institutions are run, and I want to make this have that feel. I want the people around the MIAA to respect what we do around here; that they see us as one of the upper echelons, in terms of sports information.”

Fleming’s desire to form a top-notch sports information department comes from his two years of working with Don Tomkalski, the senior associate athletic director for communications at Tulsa. Tomkalski has been the SID at Tulsa since 1984 and is a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America, the Football Writers Association and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

“DT was paramount to my career,” Flemming said. “He’s so meticulous; you go into his office and there’s nothing anywhere. It’s just a desk, because he’s so organized...to me, working with him was an invaluable experience.”

Speaking of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, Flemming takes over as the SID as Northeastern State transitions from independent status to one of 15 members in the MIAA.

No pressure. Right?

“I like the fact that I can come in and help lead the way into this new conference,” Flemming said. “Obviously, it’s an amazing conference [with] great football, great basketball, great everything.

“...I just think with all these new things we’re going to jump into this new conference with a splash. And that’s what our motto is: ‘making a splash’ this year. So that’s what we’re hoping to do.”

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