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Life on the run

Posted Feb. 6, 2015
Reprinted from InterCom (pdf)
By Katy Metzger, senior visual communications major


It’s August 2010, a regular sticky morning in Columbia, South Carolina as the last few partygoers file home from Five Points. School of Journalism and Mass Communications graduate student Calhoun Hipp prefers to start his mornings off a little differently, beginning with a run before a long day of classes and work.

Flash forward to present day and Hipp, now the assistant com- missioner of communications for the Southland Conference in Dal- las, Texas, is still starting his day off with that early morning run to beat the heat. Of course Hipp is not up early just to run. His week ahead will be filled with football recaps, media guides, conference calls and weekend game prepping.

This seven-day-a-week job keeps Hipp running and has really tested his time management skills. His Master of Mass Communication degree comes in handy because his job requires him to communicate with and for the 13 schools in the conference. Hipp says his biggest struggle has been trying to juggle what’s going on with each sport in every conference and not getting lost in the process.

After graduating from Rhodes College in 2005 with a business degree, Hipp thought he’d be doing financial work. He originally came to the University of South Carolina to earn his master’s in accounting, but after much consideration he decided on mass communications. Hipp went on to finish his practicum, an “internship on steroids,” he says, for the media staff of the Charlotte Bobcats. From there he moved on to the media relations assistant at the Southern Conference, headquartered in Spartanburg, where he handled all the media relations for men's and women's cross country, indoor and outdoor track, volleyball, women's basketball and softball.

Hipp started working for Southland in 2011 as the assistant director of communications and has since worked his way up. Hipp says he’s really enjoying his job at Southland and looks forward to growing in the media relations industry.

As someone who is around college athletics all the time, you’d think it’d be hard for Hipp to pinpoint a favorite sport, but Hipp says without a second of hesitation that college football will always be his favorite. So how does Southland compare to the SEC? Hipp says Southland is much smaller and includes Division I teams, but they still host a lot of sports in the area and compete in major NCAA tournaments.

Just the way Hipp has worked his way up at Southland, he’s done the same with those morning jogs. Hipp recently finished his ninth marathon, the Chicago Marathon. His finishing time has qualified him for the Boston Marathon in 2016, something that he’s trained for since he started running races in graduate school.