Community Profile: Tom McGuire

A cluttered desk scattered with weeks of mail, invoices, receipts and numerous other materials, would make it seem like an organizational mess to an outsider. However, beyond the desk, covering the walls and lining cabinets and bookshelves are numerous magazines, awards, and other sports memorabilia that portray the successes of a distinguished man. Behind the desk sits a man who seems to have all the time in the world, and is always sporting a smile on his face.

Tom McGuire has been involved with Sports Information at Bloomsburg University for more than 23 years, and is in his 14th year as Director of Sports Information. McGuire oversees the 20 varsity sports in the Huskies arsenal as well as performing duties as the Athletic Marketing and Promotion director. During McGuire’s tenure at Bloomsburg University, sponsorships have increased from $7,500 to nearly $50,000 per year, and overall he raised over $200,000 toward athletic scholarships across all athletic teams.

McGuire has been a sports enthusiast all of his life, since the age of five. He began competing in sports in 4th grade, and participated in high school cross country and basketball all four years. After high school McGuire attended Wilkes University, competing on the cross country team for four years, being named the team’s MVP as a sophomore.

After receiving a communications degree, McGuire worked as a disc jockey at a local radio station in the Wilkes-Barre area. After a few months, he received a phone call from the athletic director at Wilkes University asking him to become the cross country coach. He accepted the position and while coaching, McGuire fine-tuned his publicity skills promoting the cross country team in local newspaper write-ups. Within a year, the position of Sports Information Director at Wilkes became available, and McGuire submitted his resume and application with virtually no experience in the field.

Once hired as the information director at Wilkes, McGuire began a nine and a half year stint with his Alma Mater. In this role, McGuire’s primary duties were promotion and publicity for the school’s 13 varsity athletic teams. McGuire also hosted the television show Colonel’s Corner, which highlighted all of Wilkes athletic events and programs.

After his tenure at Wilkes, McGuire became the Sports Information Director at Bloomsburg, along with being a contributor to the Bloomsburg University Magazine.

“I always wanted to stay involved with athletics in some way,” said McGuire. “Being involved with Wilkes and Bloomsburg as a Sports Information Director has kept it in my life.”

Throughout the 14 years which McGuire has been associated with Bloomsburg University, he accomplished many feats. In 2006, McGuire promoted former BU running back Jamar Brittingham for the Harlon Hill Award and the D2 Player of the Year Award—taking the formerly unknown athlete to a third place finish in final voting.

McGuire repeated his accomplishments in 2010 by taking freshman running back Franklyn Quiteh to a sixth place finish in balloting.

Also in 2006, McGuire promoted head football coach Danny Hale which culminated in a top 10 finish in the first ever Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award. Hale and the Huskies were featured in a national television presentation hosted by Keith Jackson on ABC Sports.

As if the list of accomplishments was not long enough, McGuire also has mentored nine students in sports publicity, opening many doors for different careers. Students who shadowed under McGuire now work with the likes of the New Orleans Hornets, University of Alabama Birmingham, Georgia Tech, and IUP.

Sophomore mass communication major Enrique Josephs was recently employed by McGuire to announce the Huskies sporting events. In just one semester, Josephs has covered matches for the Huskies including men’s and women’s basketball, lacrosse, softball and baseball, and has high aspirations for the upcoming years.

“Thus far it has been great working with Tom,” said Josephs. “He has given me a great opportunity to kick start my possibility of one day becoming a sports announcer.”

In his capacity, McGuire’s position calls for countless work hours as well as a hectic work environment. McGuire holds two things important to his success very closely, his organizational skills and not being afraid to delegate some work to his undergraduate students. “You can’t survive in my line of work wanting to do everything,” said McGuire. “Many people have quit the job because they simply had too much to do.”

In the field of Sports Information, those involved have to stand out from the rest of the crowd. McGuire believes that his ability to take on extra work with sponsorships promotions and marketing differentiates him from others in his line of work. “The fact that I do both promotions and marketing, as well as hold the title of Sports Information Director makes me very unique in the PSAC conference,” said McGuire. “Not many people are able to do it all.”

However, success does not come easy for McGuire; there are many challenges in his line of work. Supervising 20 varsity athletic sports allows him to be involved with many different people, but there are some drawbacks. “Keeping everyone involved happy is very difficult sometimes,” said McGuire. “I just do my best to give each team equal share in publicity and give it my all every day I come into the office.”

McGuire’s motto of giving each team equal share certainly pays off. He sees that the most satisfying part of his job is giving publicity back for student athletes in their hometown newspapers or local television. “Sometimes whenever a student athlete graduates from Bloomsburg, I receive a thank-you note for getting their name out there,” said McGuire. “And that’s what makes this job worthwhile—seeing all the work I do pay off”.

McGuire draws most of his inspiration from his parents, who taught him to be a driven individual he was growing up. He has taken much of their advice into his personal life, and his professional life. “My parents gave me valuable advice when I was growing up,” said McGuire. “Whatever they did, they did it well. They taught me to do everything as best as I can, and to work as hard as I can.”

McGuire also received professional advice from Pete Nevins, former East Stroudsburg Sports Information Director. Nevins served as the director from 1969-2002, until losing his battle with brain cancer at the age of 68. McGuire holds Nevins advice very close to him as he comes into the office every morning. “He always had great advice, and he has been doing my job since the time I was born,” said McGuire. “He was a guru, pretty much everyone around the country knew him.”

Being involved with athletics his entire life; McGuire does not plan to stop now. He has many personal and professional goals that have yet to be attained, but one thing holds true—he is making collegiate sports a better all-around experience for all student athletes affiliated with him. The accolades that McGuire holds are only the beginning in a career that will soon blossom with more success.

[box type=”bio”]By Bloomsburg University Student, Dylan Spangler. Dylan is a Junior majoring in Mass Communications.[/box]

TreeFest Heralds Holidays’ Beginning

Tree FestCelebrating the unique connection between the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s commitment of bringing live, professional theatre to our region and the Town of Bloomsburg, TreeFest once again heralds the beginning of the local holiday season. This year, TreeFest will be held November 25, 26 and 27, and December 2, 3 and 4 at the Caldwell Consistory, located north of the town fountain at 150 Market Street.

Tree FestThe celebration begins with the area’s growers donating over 140 trees, then hundreds of people including community volunteers, youth groups, florists and garden clubs set up and decorate the rooms and trees which are each sponsored by area businesses or individuals. TreeFest ends with the trees, decorations and other gifts going to area families in need, as identified by local social service agencies.

Throughout the event, a variety of entertainment is provided including school choirs, dance groups and folk musicians performing in front of a seasonal mural. Story times and art experiences for children are scheduled throughout both weekends. Visitors will be able to start their Christmas shopping at the dozens of professional craft artisans displaying their wares for sale.

But TreeFest has grown into so much more. A special Chinese auction, a children’s coloring contest and the raffling of a spectacular quilt are some of the other highlights. The gala Chamber After Hours is set for Nov. 29 beginning at 4.30, and the Rotary Christmas party takes place Dec. 1. TeaFest, an elegant Scottish high tea, will be presented by Sharon Duff at the Caldwell Consistory on Monday, Nov. 28 at 1:00 p.m.

First-year TreeFest chairperson Bonnie Crawford has enjoyed her learning experiences. “Seeing all that goes into putting this together, I never realized how many months of preparation it took,” she said. “Now I am just excited to see it all come together.” Crawford is quick to thank the many volunteers who contribute to TreeFest’s success. “I am also extremely appreciative of the fantastic people on the various committees. This is a truly dedicated team of volunteers who work countless hours to make this happen.” 

TreeFest counts on hundreds of volunteers over the two-week period, and children continue to be actively involved. Local schools participate in a Gingerbread house building contest, guides take young children on special tours, and students from Bloomsburg, Central Columbia and Bloomsburg University help in a variety of ways but most especially as part of tear down, clean up and tree distribution which mark the end of TreeFest activities.

Official parking behind the Columbia County Court House will be available on weekends. Bring your $2.00 discount admission coupon and visit www.treefest.org for specific hours.

Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble is celebrating 34 years of bringing live, professional theatre to the Bloomsburg and regional community. All TreeFest proceeds benefit BTE.

Article by Sam Bidleman
Photos by Marlin Wagner

Remember When: At the Movies

Remember when Bloomsburg had a Drive-In Theater? How about when there were movie theaters on Main Street? Did you know that not only was there the Capitol and Columbia, but at one time there was also a Nickleodeon on the west end of Main Street? This week we share our memories of being At The Movies.

My earliest movie memories are all tied to the Capitol. Remember when it was all one theater with a balcony instead of two screens? The ceiling had the most beautiful and intricate medallion on it — probably a leftover base from a chandelier that was before my time. I always got to the theater early so I could get my favorite seat (the middle of that center row, the row that had no one in front of it so short people like me could never get stuck sitting behind a tall person). I must have spent hours over the years, staring up at that medallion, listening to that tape they played before the movie started. Do you remember it? “I’ve been to Paradise (But I’ve never been to me),” and “The Age of Aquarius” were on there. Does anyone remember any of the other songs they used to play before the movies at the Capitol?

And remember that side exit they would open when the movie was over? Remember the mask that hung in the alleyway?  

The first movie I ever saw was Star Wars at the Capitol. I was only five years old so I fell asleep before the Death Star blew up. But I went back to see it many many times after that and was so in love with movies because of it, I knew I wanted to work on them when I grew up. And now I do! What was the first movie you saw in town? Which theater was it in? And does anybody remember when the Capitol showed “The Molly Maguires” (see this column’s photo)?

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I only have one memory of the Columbia Theater. By the time I was a movie-goer, that theater had fallen into quite a state of disrepair but they showed “Raiders of the Lost Ark” so I had to go there! About…14 times!

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Dave Henrichs has these Bloomsburg movie memories:

“I remember waiting in line for the first Batman movie with Michael Keaton.  The line was down the street to get into the Capitol!!!  But the first movie I remember seeing there was the first Muppet Movie with my mom, sister and grandmother….

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Cole Camplese has these Capitol memories to share:

“I remember when Kramer vs Kramer was there and the lines were around the corner. The same thing happened for ET, the Muppet Movie, and Jaws. All movies I saw at the Capitol!

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And Jack Edwards learned a valuable life lesson at the movies in Bloomsburg:

“There was a movie I wanted to see at the Capitol, ‘Green Mansions’ I think it was. It was a beautiful summer afternoon so I emptied my piggy bank, and with my life’s savings in my pocket I walked out to Old Berwick Road and waited for the next North Branch to come by. I got off at the corner of East and Main and headed towards the Capitol theater, window shopping along the way. About three doors from the theater, there in a store window, were two new hot rod model car kits, “The Green Hornet” and “The Black Widow”. It was a tough decision, but I chose the Green Hornet, $1.49, and counted my money one more time. I had it made! But when she gave me the total, there was this thing called ‘sales tax’! Now I was a nickel short of the 25 cents it took to get into the movie!

I needed a loan, so I walked down Main Street to Grammy Edwards’ bake shop. Grammy wasn’t there! She was running an errand and Nola, the lady who worked for her, was taking care of the store. Now what?

Nervously, I explained my predicament to Nola and asked if she thought Grammy would mind loaning me a nickel. She laughed and said, “Of course not”, and handed me a dime from the cash register.

After the movie I walked down to my grandparents’ house on Railroad and Third where I was to meet my parents. I had to explain my financial obligations to my mother. She wasn’t too happy about it. She looked me in the face and said, ‘Don’t you ever again buy anything you can’t pay for!’”

What are your Bloomsburg movie memories? Add on to the conversation below.

(Photo Courtesy of Jack Edwards)

Remember When: Main Street Eats

This is your column. It is our hope you will use it to tell our stories: Bloomsburg’s stories. It will grow and meander,  just like a conversation. It is a conversation: our conversation with our past. Where is this going? We’re not sure yet. It’s up to all of us.

I’ll start:  

My name is Jen Ralston and I was born at Bloom Hospital in 1971. I moved to New York City in 1989 to attend college and stayed there to pursue a career in sound editing for film. I still work in that field and because of that, I usually have to be somewhere other than Bloomsburg for work. But I come home whenever I can and I still call Bloomsburg my home.

Today, I am in San Francisco and I’m hungry, so my memories are tending to be food-related…

Remember When…Main Street Eats

I remember watching a soft-spoken man named Charlie hand-toss fresh pizza dough at — where else? Charlie’s Pizza.

We were a Charlie’s family, for sure, but I loved Luigi’s thicker crust. And, of course, their arcade room and all the different pinball machines! Remember the one that was named after a card game? The goal was to use the flippers to knock down tiles that looked like cards. Was it poker? Blackjack?

Which was your favorite pizzeria on Main Street?
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Do you remember the Texas Lunch? Chili cheeseburger with mustard and onions – that was my favorite at Texas. They had great fries, too. The only fries I’ve had since (outside of the Bloomsburg Fair, of course) that compare are from In-n-Out Burger.

I also remember their jukeboxes – one in each wooden booth. Most of the selections just had the artist’s name and two songs (the A and B sides of a 45…remember those?), but for some reason, Linda Rondstadt had a single on the juke with a tab that was a tiny picture of the cover for the Living in the USA album – a photo of her in roller skates.
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Do you remember Woolworth’s soda fountain? I used to love their vanilla Cokes and floats. What about their candy selection? Candy cigarettes and bubble gum chewing tobacco? Pop rocks, wax soda bottles, and pixie sticks?
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And finally, do you remember the bakery on the corner of West and Main Streets? What was it called? I loved their whoopie pies. I remember the night it burnt down. We lived in an apartment building two doors down. I didn’t realize I was a deep sleeper until I slept through the fire alarms and woke up in the morning to the charred remains of the shop. No more whoopie pies! As Nature Intended opened up in that place next. I started eating alfalfa sprouts. I also remember they sold Haagen-Dazs. I loved the coffee ice cream with bits of chocolate in it. Remember when ice cream was considered health food? (Me neither!)
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That oughta be enough to get us started! Have anything to add? Comment on these memories or add your own “Main Street Eats” memories below. Have other topics to memorialize? Write to us at: jenralston@thebloomsburgdaily.com

Photo by rob_rob2001