Editor's note: "For the Record" is a weekly series featuring former stand-out Ball State athletes and their lives after college.
Emily Feeney Miles attends countless South Carolina men’s basketball games. But April 1 was different. She looked up from her computer in her court-side seat just prior to the tipoff of South Carolina vs. Gonzaga to see 80,000 people.
“Behind the players that were getting ready to jump up for the jump-ball was just a sea of people,” Miles said.
South Carolina was the shock of this year's NCAA tournament. Coming in as the seventh seed, only .06 percent of NCAA March Madness brackets chose the Gamecocks to reach the Final Four. Since the NCAA expanded in 1985 to 64 teams, only two 7 seeds have ever made it to the Final Four. But, it took more than head coach Frank Martin and star point guard PJ Dozier to get the team to Arizona.
Years at Ball State: 1999-2003
Major: Sports administration
Miles, a former Ball State soccer player — and member of the first women’s soccer team at Ball State — serves as the associate director for media relations for South Carolina. Her primary responsibility lies with the men’s basketball team.
“I was very proud to be a small part of that,” Miles said. “I’m really happy for my teammates here in my office who were able to experience that with me.”
After nine years with South Carolina, the 35-year-old said she never would have expected to be in the position she is now. She said the entire tournament experience has been the highlight of her career.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” Miles said. “It was a lot of fun to have the experience from an employee standpoint.”
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South Carolina men's basketball hasn't won an NCAA tournament game since 1973, so Miles wasn't used to handling her game-day duties so far into the post season.
“It was very busy, as my husband [Jim] and three-year-old [Harper] will tell you,” Miles said.
Some of Miles' game duties include handing the scorebooks and arranging post-game interviews.
Miles’ position is also known as a sports information director, or SID. It was a term she had never heard of until her time at Ball State. During her time on the soccer team, she became familiar with the position and began volunteering in the athletics department as well as pursuing a degree in sports management.
“Ball State taught me a lot and definitely helped me from my time in the media relations office,” Miles said. “Working with the great people there helped me get me where I am today.”
When she graduated from Ball State in 2003, Miles then interned with the Philadelphia Phillies and Loyola-Chicago before getting her first job at East Tennessee State.
Miles said she is really able to connect with the athletes she works with because of her own time as a Division-I athlete.
“I feel like I understand what they’re going through, which I think helps me out with my job and understanding we can’t schedule an interview because of their study hall,” Miles said. "School comes first."
Miles said the atmosphere of not just the Final Four but the entire tournament was something she never imagined she would be a part of, and will never forget.
love athletics and have been involved with athletics my entire life," Miles said. "I
don’t know that I necessarily dreamed of having a job like this.”