An interview with Coach Smith: Newly-created Media Day brings attention to the central role of sports at Potomac


Tess Weinreich

Senior volleyball player Alex Vuono at the fall sports Media Day.

On Potomac’s fall sports Media Day, March 6, The Current sat down with athletics fellow Hailey Smith to discuss her role in bringing the event to Potomac. A former Division I softball player at Louisville State University and the University of Louisville, Ms. Smith has been integral in planning the school’s sports events since joining the Potomac community in the fall of 2019. 

Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for readability.


Q: What has the process of coordinating Media Day looked like?

A: A lot goes into coordinating media day. First, securing our vendor, Freed Photography. They already do our yearbook photos, but this goes a step further and securing these photographers because they don’t just take photos where you smile, it’s props and action photos.

The beauty is you have access to all the photos you can turn into gifts for your parents or just for yourself. 

A big part of it is the logistics, meaning the scheduling, roster sizes, making sure everyone has a uniform, and going through inventory of the 71 teams we have, when the  IS is included, and making sure everything is accounted for. 

Aesthetically, we make sure everything is pretty, good music, and we have all the personnel needed. 


Q: Whose idea was it to start media day?

A: I started the idea of Media Day, I felt that there was a culture missing at Potomac of getting excited about sports. Personally, when I played in college, my favorite day of the year was Media Day. It was when you got to do the cool poses and people asked you about your season.

For me, Media Day was a nice day of people celebrating you and I wanted to bring that aspect to Potomac and get the athletes excited about the season. 

We have had to do a condensed version because of Covid, but I just wanted to celebrate athletes because we don’t think they are celebrated enough here. 


Q: What do you envision Media Day looking like in the future, without the Covid restraints you’re dealing with today?

A: So we kick off with fall. That would be a whole day of scrimmaging for our football team, field hockey, soccer, and volleyball. Then we would have a big barbeque, hopefully, provided by FAPS [Fathers Association of The Potomac School]. After that, we would come back into Spangler and hopefully have a guest speaker. 

Planning for the Fall, we are thinking about inviting my best friend Ayanna Andrews, who is a professional softball player. She was the first female to win the Rawlings Gold Glove, she has her own podcast, and her own ESPN documentary. She’s a big thing, so we’re hoping she could come to speak to us. We want you guys to see how athletes can excel. Goodie bags will still be a thing, and you’ll still get your picture taken, but next year and in the future, it will be a whole day of programming.


Q: How do you hope to transform sports culture at Potomac, and how does Media Day help you work towards that?

A: I think it starts with us in the Athletic Department. We’re getting better at competing with academics for your guys’ time. 

Media Day helps because we want to communicate to the Upper School athletes that this is great, what you do is great. Not all Upper School athletes will go on to play in college, but to the kindergartners, lower schoolers, and middle schoolers what you’re doing now is the best thing ever. In P.E they’re staring at the Media Day banners hanging because they think you’re so cool. It gives them clear role models and something to look forward to.