Several years ago, Danielle Percival was asked a question that would change her life.
Attending Troy University, Percival was presented with the opportunity to call play-by-play for the Sun Belt Conference Championship volleyball game.
“I said yes not knowing what the heck I was going to do because I knew nothing,” Percival said. “So, I spent the next two weeks watching volleyball trying to figure out how I pull this off, so that was a big boost for me — saying yes and jumping in.”
Now Piedmont College’s Assistant Athletic Director of Communications, Percival seems to have a knack of saying “yes” when opportunities come knocking. And opportunity is a frequent visitor.
As a senior in high school Percival took an internship with a local college, Faulkner University in Montgomery, where she did half time shows for radio and interviewed people for the campus television station. This opportunity, even at a young age, fueled her passion for all things broadcasting, and she pursued a degree in broadcast journalism at Troy University.
“I had the opportunity to work with the student-run television station, Trojan Vision all four years I was there,” says Percival.
Percival spoke highly of her time at Troy University despite her family’s deep history as Auburn Tigers. Troy was the obvious choice for Percival because of the immediate opportunities. Unlike Auburn’s journalism and broadcasting program, Troy allowed their incoming freshman to jump into the campus’ student-run television station. Again, Percival seized the opportunity to start interviewing coaches, shooing live footage at sporting events and developing a professional rapport with her sources.
“I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do when I got out of school because I didn’t want to do local news, but that was what I had been doing for the past four years.”
As fate would have it, the Piedmont College athletic department just received clearance for the assistant athletic communications position and was looking for someone with a broadcast journalism background to revamp streaming live sporting events. Percival fit the bill despite lacking some knowledge in the sports information role.
“It was a lot of learning on the job and Timmy [McCormack] took a big chance on me and that’s why I say I owe him so much,” says Percival.
To say that McCormack’s gamble paid off would be a gross understatement, looking at her resume now. Since joining the staff in 2014 as assistant director of athletic communications Percival has worked her way up to assistant athletic director. In her role, Percival supervises two full-time assistants, interns and student workers. In addition, Percival and her team are responsible for all home event game management, website and social media management and statistics for all Piedmont sports teams, serving as the webmaster for www.piedmontlions.com, managing the athletic department’s social media and maintaining statistics for all Piedmont College sports teams.
On top of making sure the Piedmont athletic communication department is running smoothly, Percival was elected to the board of directors of CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) where she will serve a three-year term. In addition, she is also serving on a diversity and inclusion committee within CoSIDA.
“It’s definitely a lot to balance at times, but taking a leadership position within CoSIDA has been a good growth experience,” said Percival.
Her involvement in CoSIDA has expanded her knowledge to increase efficiency and effectiveness within the everyday workings of the athletic department. However, stepping into a leadership role affords Percival the opportunity to understand how the governing body of sports information directors works—how to develop, support, and retain exceptional sports information directors across the nation, ultimately keeping the profession alive.
Percival’s secret to success—at any level—is the courage to say “yes” even if you seem “unqualified” on paper.
“Say yes to opportunities,” she said. “It may be that you do it and you fail and that’s okay or maybe you do it and you succeed and you find something you absolutely love and want to pursue.”