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My Manchester Story

Dillon Bender

by Lauren Hughes | Jun 19, 2019
Dillon Bender

Dillon Bender, sports information director at Manchester University, discusses the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Final Four and his passion for DIII sports.

“What drew you to Manchester University?”

“When I got [into] this profession two years ago, I knew that I wanted to be a sports information director, preferably at the Division III level, and I feel like I’ve really found my niche here. I’ve seen athletics at all levels; I played college basketball at both a DII and DIII level and, in fact, my dad is the assistant basketball coach at Clemson University. Having seen it all, I really like the student-athletes at this level and the coaches because, although it’s not a slower pace, it’s more intimate at times. That win-at-all-cost mentality that you run across at some schools isn’t always the best because it devalues the college education. Our student-athletes are here because they’re incredibly terrific athletes but they are also focused on their education.”

“What has been one of your favorite Manchester moments?”

“Working and being a part of the hosting efforts for the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Final Four. Being from a basketball background, I was able to speak the language, I knew what coaches’ demands would be and, of course, I learned from being at former tournaments with my dad. The Division III Basketball committee was great to work with, Tami Hoagland and Ryan Hedstrom – I mean everyone worked so incredibly hard, and we had a lot of fun! The best thing was when it was over and people were telling us we did a great job. That was a real gratifying moment – even last week when I went to a convention, I had people coming up to me and saying they heard nothing but phenomenal things about the Final Four. It was a good vindication of all of our hard work and a really cool Manchester moment to be a part of.”

“Speaking of the Division III Final Four, was there a lot of student work that went into the tournament?”

“Yes! Student involvement was phenomenal! One thing about running these events is not every job is a glorious one, but they are all important. It could be as simple as running stat sheets to press row during media timeouts, film exchange between coaches, filming the game in the stands or post-game conference coverage, passing out merchandise or greeting people at the door – we even had game entertainment where students would throw out those squishy basketballs and shoot the T-shirt cannon! We had students involved in every facet of the tournament, and their enthusiasm was great.”

“Are you working on any projects over the summer?”

“Manchester is a proud Indiana Division III institution and we have a lot of great history. One project that I’m really enthusiastic about this summer, even though it can be frustrating, is complying archives from each of our sports. Before you came in here, I was working on game-by-game men’s basketball results. I dug through the archives and right now, I have every Manchester men’s basketball game I could find, dating back to 1921, and I’m compiling it into a PDF that will eventually go up on the website. I’ve also done that with football, baseball and softball, and we’ll do it for volleyball. I want to show our historical profile! It’s a big task but alumni really like it and it’s a way to keep them engaged.”