(January 27, 2020) Matt Dean applied for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers Communications and Broadcasting Coordinator position despite being unsure if it would be a good fit. Following the application and interview process, though, he knew Fayetteville was where he wanted to be. Now Dean is the voice of the Houston Astros Class-A affiliate.
Dean leaves the Class-A Charleston RiverDogs after four years in a full-time position for a seasonal job with Fayetteville.
“It felt like I had grown as much as I possibly could in my role with the RiverDogs and had tapped out all of the experiences I could have there,” Dean says. “It was a little tough to leave the Charleston market because of how great of a city it is, but I felt I had ultimately gotten everything I could out of the role.”
Seasonal baseball employment also frees Dean to pursue winter play-by-play opportunities and visit family and friends in Wisconsin. Still, the decision to apply for the Fayetteville job wasn’t easy.
“I had questions about moving to a smaller market, only a slightly higher level of the Minors (Low-A to High-A), and passing on the full-time salary, but I was excited about the prospect of working directly for a Major League organization and opening up my network to a whole new organization and league, going from the SAL to the Carolina League,” Dean says.
The Woodpeckers are owned by the Houston Astros, one of the few Minor League teams owned by an MLB franchise.
“The Woodpeckers’ connections to the Major League team, their creative staff’s enthusiasm and talent, and the prospect of working in a second-year ballpark were the biggest draws to the new job,” Dean says.
The application process for the Fayetteville job was unique.
“The Astros sent me a link to a ‘recorded interview’ where I answered with video responses related to written prompts,” Dean recalls. “This was an interesting experience and a little bit awkward to get used to the non-traditional format; the questions ranged from doing a mock play-by-play call of Jose Altuve’s walk-off homer in last year’s ALCS to more standard interview-fare like my work-style, previous experience, etc.”
After the initial screening, Dean did a phone interview with Woodpeckers’ staff members and was offered the position.
Looking back, Dean is glad he applied for the job despite not knowing if it would be right for him. “It can be easy to pass on applying for a job that seems like a lateral move, but you can’t truly make that determination until you go through the interview process and receive an offer,” he suggests.
“At the very least, any job you apply to and interview with is a learning experience and good practice for the future when it counts. In this case, it worked out for the best because the more I interacted with the Astros and Woodpeckers staff, I saw myself becoming more interested in the job.”
Dean graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2015. He joined STAA shortly thereafter to give himself an edge in the job market.
“STAA is the single best source of what’s going on in the job market in this field and that’s why I continue to be a member,” Dean says. “Sports broadcasting is one of the most hyper-competitive fields out there. It is incredibly unique because of the sheer quantity and quality of candidates available for any given job. So for that, any edge you can have on what jobs are out there and how you can approach setting yourself up for success in your career is almost a necessity.”
Dean’s first baseball job was an internship with the St. Paul Saints in 2015. Working under Saints Broadcaster Sean Aronson fueled Dean’s passion for baseball. From St. Paul, it was onto Charleston and Fayetteville.
Dean’s advice to young sportscasters is to stay positive. “I read a great book called ‘The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing’ by Michael Mauboussin. The overarching takeaway was that we often attribute too much of success to skill [while downplaying the influence of] luck. Aside from flipping a coin, most everything we do is almost always some combination of both. It’s not groundbreaking, but I try to think about this when I get frustrated at times with trying to find the next step in my career.
“Control what you can control by working to improve on a daily basis, keeping your resume updated and interview skills on point, but realize that a lot of it is out of your hands and it takes a tremendous amount of good fortune to get where you want to be.”
(Visit Matt’s STAA Talent Page).