Barry McNamara  |  Published May 26, 2021

New Trail to Muscatine

Media promotion for Iowa semi-pro team is a joint Monmouth College effort between two grads, two current students.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – The M A M Trail was historically a direct route between Monmouth and Muscatine, Iowa, but now there’s a new trail between the towns being blazed by Monmouth College students and alumni.

THE MEDIA TEAM: From left, Tyler Bean '16, Troy Hippen '22, Zac Colberg '22 and Jake ... THE MEDIA TEAM: From left, Tyler Bean '16, Troy Hippen '22, Zac Colberg '22 and Jake Landry '21.Taking advantage of an internship opportunity, communication studies majors Troy Hippen ’22 of Monmouth and Zac Colberg ’22 of Woodbury, Minnesota, and May graduate Jake Landry of Sugar Land, Texas, have joined alumnus Tyler Bean ’16 on the media team of the Muscatine River Hawks, a member of the semi-professional Mid-American 8 Man Football League (MA8FL).

Bean was already with the River Hawks as their play-by-play announcer. Through the internship, Landry joined Bean in the broadcast booth as the color analyst, while Hippen and Colberg work behind the scenes. Hippen runs the software program that makes the broadcasts possible, while Colberg helps with the team’s social media marketing.

The internship started earlier this year and, even though the semester is over, Colberg, Hippen and Landry will continue working with the team through the end of the season, which could be as late as the MA8FL championship game the weekend after the Fourth of July.

“We heard about the internship through (communication studies faculty member) Chris Gobel, who heard about it from (department colleague) Trudi Peterson,” said Hippen. “She heard about it from Tyler. Professor Gobel told us, ‘Here’s an opportunity, and here’s the info.’ The three of us interviewed separately over the span of about a week, and we all pretty much got hired right on the spot.”

“We’re the first in the league to have (a media network). There have been some early issues, but we’re figuring things out.” Troy Hippen

Hippen said the River Hawks are a leader in the MA8FL in terms of media, paving the way with the team’s Muscatine River Hawks media network.

“We’re the first in the league to have that,” he said. “There have been some early issues, but we’re figuring things out.”

The Monmouth media group follows the team at home and on the road. Their May 30 road trip will take them to Decatur, Illinois, for a tough matchup against the Central State Savages. The River Hawks will have momentum on their side, though, as they are coming off back-to-back shutout victories by a combined score of 117-0.

“Everyone says we’re the No. 3 team in the league behind the Peoria Punishers and the Midwest Hawks, but we’re trying to prove them wrong and win the championship,” said Hippen.

Game day isn’t the only work for the media team. A weekly podcast, featuring Bean and Landry discussing the team, is produced by Hippen and promoted by Colberg, who also helps with the setup.

Much like some of the players on the team who are eager to move up to a higher level of football – in part, relying on video highlight packages produced by Hippen to spark teams’ interest – the Monmouth students hope that their time with the River Hawks can serve as a stepping stone in their careers.

“I’d like to stay working in radio or with sports, something of that nature,” said Hippen. “The coaches have talked about having me back with the team in the future. That would be something I’d do on the side, but if it leads to something else, so be it – wherever it takes me.”

“Ideally, I’d like to do social media and PR for a team,” said Colberg. “The dream job would be to do it for the Vegas Golden Knights (in the National Hockey League).”

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