Meet Thomas Chen
NM: What is your official title with Seton Hall athletics?
TC: Assistant Athletic Director for Digital Media and Communications
NM: Where did you previously work?
TC: Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y.
NM: What are some of your responsibilities in your position at Seton Hall?
TC: “I’m in charge of media relations. I work closely with men’s basketball; I’m in charge of all our digital media efforts, such as Pirates Sports Network. I’m in charge of our content on http://www.shupirates.com. I’m in charge of statistical operations and social media as well. I also work closely with marketing.”
NM: What do you think about the area and Seton Hall?
TC: “I wouldn’t have moved here if I didn’t like the area. My wife is from New Jersey, originally Randolph, N.J. Seton Hall has a lot things going for them in terms of its location. It’s so close to the city. You really feel the New York market when you’re at Seton Hall. It’s a terrific place to be and I’ve been impressed by the campus too. It’s small, but very nice and I see a lot of potential here.”
NM: How does it compare with your previous location at Stony Brook?
TC: “It’s two different places: Seton Hall is a private, Catholic school. Stony Brook is a state public institution, with four major research campuses. It’s (Stony Brook) campus is quite large; they have very large enrollment as well. It’s two very different places.”
NM: What are your thoughts on the big fan support this season for Seton Hall men’s basketball?
TC: “I’ve been blown away. That was my second and third home games (St. Johns, Dec. 31, Villanova, Jan. 3) that I’ve been at. I’ve got to give hats off to all the fans and our ticket manager. It was really tremendous to see that at that level. I was really impressed with the students and everybody still on break, it was a couple weekends before (they had) to come back and for them to come and support the team in two very important, big games—first, it’s great to see they have that type of knowledge and two, they had the commitment to do it—it’s tremendous and I could tell the player’s really appreciated it.”
NM: With the season so far and the future ahead, can you talk about the emergence of Seton Hall basketball?
TC: “I’ve always known about Seton Hall basketball, I grew up in New York City. I know about the history and tradition. I always knew that Seton Hall was capable of being at the top of the Big East. When you’re in the New York market and able to recruit this area, you can definitely prosper. So, I had no doubt that this program could be fantastic.”
NM: How much of that helped make your decision?
TC: “Those things don’t exactly weigh into a decision to come to a university—you come here because there’s good people and potential for the athletic department as a whole. But, considering how important Seton Hall men’s and women’s basketball is to everyone here, it’s certainly a strong point and great to see that both are doing really, really well.”
NM: Given the state of the local professional basketball teams, is there even greater intrigue in Seton Hall grabbing some of the basketball market?
TC: “There should be. There absolutely should be. The pro markets aren’t as much fun to watch right now and they certainly charge a pretty penny. There is good basketball here. It may not be the NBA, but there’s good basketball here at Seton Hall as well as St. John’s. If you have a family and want to take them out and have a good time and see good basketball, you should come to the Prudential Center or the Garden to see St. John’s. All those people should come to the Big East Tournament this year. I think it will be fantastic.”
NM: What do you think about the Prudential Center?
TC: “The Prudential Center is fantastic. It’s a pro-level arena and we get to play there. I think it’s a great sell for our fans and recruits. I think our players enjoy it. I’ve been blown away from the locker room facilities we have there.”
NM: What are goals you have to improve basketball communications in your role?
TC: “There’s a ton of potential here. I’ve already been impressed by the media coverage and support from students and my staff for athletics. There’s a lot of great stuff already in place. It’s just trying to get better, trying to get our message out there. I think we have a lot of great stuff coming out. My goals are really to just improve what we’re doing and try and get better and just be the best that we can be.”
Neal McHale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @nealmchale.