By Patrick Anglin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When he was hired to take over as head coach this past summer, Jeff Kampersal knew he needed a strong Director of Operations for his team. The Director of Operations is a prestigious position that operates behind-the-scene for all the Penn State athletic teams. Kampersal didn't have to look far to find his ideal candidate. What better individual for the job than Chris Demczuk, a freshly-graduated Penn State alumnus with four years of intern experience for the hockey team?
"They spoke positively about [Demczuk's] work from previous years," Kampersal said. "I thought it was important to have a connection to the past. He already knows all the ins and outs."
Demczuk had spent the last four years as a Penn State student pursuing a bachelor's degree in journalism. During his studies, he served as a student intern for the team. After graduating in the spring of 2017, Demczuk accepted a full-time offer as the Director of Operations for the women's hockey team. His journey has been an exciting one so far, centered around a deep love for the sport of hockey.
"I actually decided to come to Penn State because they were getting a Division I hockey team," Demczuk said. "I was a big college hockey fan and I was looking into sports journalism, so I figured what better place than Penn State, because they have so many great athletic teams and you can meet so many more people than you could at a smaller school."
Demczuk enrolled at Penn State in the fall of 2013, and immediately took the necessary steps to get involved in his favorite sport in any way possible. The rest is history for him.
"I started right away, my first year, as an intern." Demczuk said." The next year they needed someone to travel with the team, so I started to travel my sophomore year through my senior year."
Traveling on the road is both a pleasure and big responsibility. Demczuk enjoys the opportunity to see new places but is also kept very busy on the road trips.
"On the road, my biggest responsibility is video," Demczuk said. "Cutting clips during games and ensuring that our hockey technology is up and running so that coaches and players can analyze film. Also, making certain that logistically our travel runs smoothly."
The move from student intern to Director of Operations is a big one, but Demczuk's skills and experience made it a seamless transition for both him and the team.
"My senior year, I took over more of the tasks around here, such as the meal planning," Demczuk said. "Now I'm full-time and I get a little bit of everything. The biggest things are logistical tasks like planning trips, setting up meals, taking care of video needs for opponents and for us. Helping the coaches prepare on a weekly basis."
It's a lot of responsibility for one individual, but Demczuk manages to stay on top of things due to his efforts to remain organized and his high work ethic. The director of operations also credits his time at Penn State as a major component to his success.
"A lot of it is knowing people around campus, and knowing the campus," Demczuk said. "I understand what the girls do on a daily basis. I understand their work-load outside the rink. I understand having to walk across campus to class since I had class there too."
Not only was attending Penn State beneficial to him, but Demczuk also mentions that his time in the journalism major has set him up for monumental career success.
"A large portion of my job is communication, with other teams, with the [team] staff, our players and coaching staff," Demczuk said. "My journalism degree has definitely helped with that."
As Kampersal has said, Demczuk has both a wide base of knowledge on how the team should operate and the insight to take care of business when needed. The entire coaching staff is impressed with his ability to go above and beyond what is asked.
"There are little things that I don't even know about that he does that help us run smoothly," Kampersal said. "He takes care of things almost instantaneously. The meals on the road, the video breakdowns, the playbooks that he makes for us. He does all that stuff without direction. He just takes initiative and gets things done. He's been awesome."
Kampersal summarized his thoughts on Demczuk with a laugh and a smile.
"Hopefully Chris will be around here for a long time."
Demczuk also hopes to be around for a while, and has greatly enjoyed his time working with Penn State athletics so far. His mantra is a simple one:
"I just like watching hockey and being a part of it."