Northern Arizona University graduates trio of Couch Side bloggers

BY WADE MCMILLIN, editor is pleased to announce that bloggers Chuck Constantino, Trevor Gould and Brett Murdock earned their Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Ariz., last weekend.

Constantino, Murdock and Gould spent the past four years working for the Lumberjack, NAU’s weekly student newspaper. Constantino served as the Lumberjack’s sports editor for two of his four years at NAU while Murdock proved as a solid sports reporter. Gould also served on the Lumberjack staff, covering Arts & Entertainment as well as sports. The pair join other Couch Side bloggers, Stayson Isobe, Matthew Vinsko and myself as other NAU graduates on our staff. I would personally like to thank and congratulate Constantino, Murdock, who earned print journalism degrees, and Gould, who earned a public relations degree, for their work on this website and their accomplishments in the classroom. All of you can now be proud to call yourselves GRADUATES! You’ve earned it.

Here’s a closer look at my experiences with these bloggers:

Chuck Constantino

• Chuck Constantino: I first met Chuck during his freshman year at NAU when I also worked as a sports reporter for the Lumberjack under former sports editor, Eric Gallo. It took about a year, but Chuck’s and I’s friendship flourished during my graduation year in 2009-2010. During that year, I served as the sports editor of the Lumberjack in the fall semester and then as the editor-in-chief in the spring semester. Throughout that journey, Chuck was one of my right-hand men as a valuable member of the Lumberjack staff.

He covered basically all of the NAU sports and really showed a knack as a basketball reporter. His skills easily caught my eye as I invited him to join a very special project, Jacked Up, which was a weekly video blog. Our recorded show, which later aired on NAU’s television station, kept getting better and better throughout each episode. Chuck was instrumental  in a much-needed location change as we moved out set from a barren classroom to the rafters of NAU’s famed Walkup Skydome. With Chuck’s help, we were also able to record the show courtside on NAU’s basketball court. the sideline’s of the Lumberjack’s football field and the home of NAU’s swim team, the Walle Aquatic Center.

Jacked Up covered both NAU sports and professional sports, later adding an interview segment in the middle of the show entitled “Jack Chat.” We also had a lot of fun in our professional sports segments. I’ll never forget our NFL mock draft, which we impersonated ESPN’s Toff McShay and Mell Kiper. During a very busy senior year, Chuck still managed to find the time to blog for this website. His ranking of the top-five setup men in major league baseball still stands as Couch Side’s top post with more than 300 views. Chuck also recently served as a fill-in host for the Couch Side podcast. Trust me, if you want to have an educated man to talk pro sports with, Chuck is your guy.

Thank you for the memories, Chuck, and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

Brett Murdock

• Brett Murdock: Although I wasn’t as close with Brett as I was with Chuck, his reporting skills stuck out like a sore thumb. By reading any of Brett’s blogs or sports stories, a reader can immediately tell that this reporter is very passionate about sports journalism. Brett was one of the best football and basketball reporter I had ever encountered. He was also a crucial member of the Lumberjack staff, to say the least.

Brett is a big hockey fan. He thoroughly enjoyed covering NAU’s hockey team, the Ice Jacks, and I probably don’t know a bigger follower of the NHL than this bright, young man. His blogs for this website are some of the best we have. He and Matthew Vinsko have even dabbled into blogging about the WWE, which isn’t something a lot of people do. With Vinsko, Brett has written some of Couch Side’s longest pieces, previewing the postseason of both the NBA and the NHL. Not only were we very thankful to get those preview/prediction blogs, but Brett and Matt would e-mail them to me almost immediately after the regular season was completed, proving their passion for writing.

There is no doubt that the future is very bright for this recent graduate. His reporting skills are superior and trust me when I say this, Brett, you should have no trouble finding a job. I wish you all the luck in the world and a Stanley Cup Trophy for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Trevor Gould

• Trevor Gould: We all called him “Trevy.” I first met Trevor by sort of hearing about him as this whacky character through Chuck Constantino and another Lumberjack sports reporter, Matt McFadden. I’ll admit, I didn’t pay to much attention to the kid at first, but that didn’t last long. Before I knew it, he had me laughing at his clever quips and clumsy moments. Like Chuck and Brett, Trevor also has a very bright future. He is multi-talented as shown by his reporting skills in a number of fields. He also took PR classes and I believe he is looking into joining that field in some capacity.

I even had the pleasure to being interviewed by Mr. Gould. It was a prank we played on him during my senior year. For an April Fools edition of the Lumberjack, news editor Nate Alcorn had told Trevor about how much of a “stud” he was as a high school football player. So we planned to do a feature on Nate’s playing days. Now, at the Lumberjack, reporters are required to have at least three sources. How was Trevor supposed to find three people to talk about Nate’s fake high school football career? Enter, coach Joe Simple. I remember the telephone interview like it was yesterday. I was playing the part of coach Simple, sitting in the Lunberjack’s meeting room on speaker phone, surrounded by just about everyone who was in on the joke.

Trevor asked me about Nate and my first reply, in a southern accent, was ‘hold on boy, I have to go let my dog out.’ I proceeded to cuss out my fake dog and then continued the interview, rudely. Trevor kept his composure. And although the joke was on him, he stayed professional, proving to me that this young man would make an excellent employee wherever he may land.

Trevor’s personality is classic. Some of his blogs are very witty — search this site for Bismack Biyombo. It is your humor and you demanor that will take you dar in life Trevor. Congratulations and make your mama proud!

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