Oregon’s creative director position is unique in collegiate track and field

Originally Posted on Emerald Media via UWIRE

As the Oregon track and field team sat on the team bus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before a meet in early February, a hype video from the Oregon track and field Instagram started to reverberate around the bus. The upbeat music and stunning visual effects fired up the athletes before the meet even started.

Josh Phillips, the creator of the video, couldn’t help but smile to himself.

Phillips was hired in December 2017 as the creative director for the Oregon track and field team, a job unique in a track and field program. While his position is new, he has years of experience shooting photos during truly iconic moments at Hayward Field. From the women clinching the Triple Crown to Devon Allen’s victory at the Olympic Trials, Phillips has been there to capture it all.

With his new position, spearheaded by head coach Robert Johnson, Phillips continues to bring his dedicated approach to the Oregon team. Johnson wanted Oregon to have a bigger presence online, and that meant more coverage of meets away from Eugene, something not all programs do.

“I don’t know that another program has a position like this,” Phillips said. “That was his brainchild.”

A Eugene native, Phillips graduated from Oregon in 2012 with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Graphic Design. Phillips online portfolio boasts a well-rounded display of creative work. He has worked as a graphic designer for Nike and the American Marketing Association.

“I worked at Nike for a long time, and I had a hard time fitting in there,” Phillips said. “Because at Nike, say you have a graphic designer, you’re going to have the best in the world, and I think my specific skill set have always translated better to a smaller team where I can do a lot of different things really well.”

TrackTown USA’s smaller staff suited Phillips better. While working at the non-profit, Phillips was the digital communications coordinator, which involved running the company’s social media accounts as well as updating the website. But because the staff at TrackTown was relatively small, Phillips felt he was unable to put maximum effort into his work.

“I was able to do a lot of different things, which is a good thing, but it also spreads you kind of thin, and I felt like I was doing everything 75 percent to my capability,” Phillips said. “Whereas when I’m here my sole responsibility is to focus on the various social media entities that the Oregon track team possesses.”

Whether it be photo or video, Phillips has the eye for detail, and he wants to bring the same level of professionalism to Oregon’s social media. Phillips said part of his job at TrackTown was to post “the best professional looking photo on the internet.” He wants his posts to bring more than just the score or the time. His work has drawn praise from fans and Oregon athletes.

Triple jumper Drew Russert, a graphic design major, said Phillips has encouraged him to pursue his digital drawings, like the ones he posts on his Instagram.

“I don’t think he could be doing a better job,” Russert said. “The fact that he’s the first and doing it so well. …He’s done a great job.”

Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august

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