Shane Donaldson is currently URI’s sports information director and continues to fulfill his passion for Rhode Island. | Photo by Grace DeSanti.
“There is not a place I would want to work more because no teams will ever mean more to me than Rhode Island teams.”
Shane Donaldson embodies what it means to be Rhode Island born and Rhode Island bred. Donaldson graduated from the University of Rhode Island in the spring of 1999 and has been a sports information director with URI athletics for the past eight years.
Donaldson was more than just a student during his time in Kingston. In addition to being a full-time student, he was the sports editor for The Good Five Cigar, a resident advisor (RA) and was also involved with both WRIU 90.3 FM and URI TV.
“I went from covering University of Rhode Island softball in the spring of ‘99 to staying at Bryant when the Patriots were still in training camp and rooming next to Drew Bledsoe,” Donaldson said.
“The second year I was there I did a daily diary with this rookie quarterback by the name of Tom Brady,” said Donaldson. “I spent 10 to 15 minutes with him everyday and just talk[ed] about his day. And he was the same age and you watch someone who has a commanding presence even as a fourth string quarterback, you look back and you see he was on a different level.”
After his three years in New England, Donaldson went to the MetroWest Daily News for two years and came back to Rhode Island to work for the South County Independent for another two years. After spending some time in print, Donaldson decided that it was time for a different career in sports.
“I left here and my goal was to be a sports writer,” said Donaldson. “Watching how the industry was shaping up and I shifted gears and found sports information. I made it a goal of mine to come back to Rhode Island.”
Donaldson eventually found his way back to Rhody after he spent some time with Salve Regina University. The URI graduate managed to come back home even if it wasn’t in the sports world. He first came back to URI working with Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing Dave Lavallee.
“I was working up the hill with Dave Lavallee in communications and marketing,” said Donaldson. “When I was there an opening came up in down in sports information. He was semi-joking and he thought I wanted to stay up there. Really, I wanted to help URI athletics get back to what I had known it as as a student and if there was any way, even if it was in a small way, that I could help turn it around, I wanted to try and do that.”
Donaldson has now been in the sports information department for eight years and has seen as a student and as an employee some of the greatest moments in Rhody history, but for him one sticks out above the rest.
“The Lamar Odom shot to win the Atlantic 10 tournament was special,” Donaldson remembered. “I was sitting in the WRIU studio. There was no Twitter or Google so I didn’t see the shot for days. I’m listening and I was the only one there and just screaming at the top of my lungs and after a while didn’t even realize how it happened, we just won.”
But for Donaldson, it isn’t any moment, any victory or any thing that has to do with sports that is the most special. When you walk into his office you will notice a bulletin board full of pictures and letters. In those letters are the words of former interns or
“When something like those come in, people take the time to say thank you for having an impact on their student experience, those are the special moments and I leave them in front of my laptop for a reason so I look at those and remember a lot of good comes out of what we do,” said Donaldson. “And at the end of the day we are working in sports, it’s fun.”