March 17, 2021
Life After Witt

Breaking Barriers

Sarah Fetters ’08 Promotes Ground-Breaking Performer As Lead Media Contact For Vanderbilt Football

One of the most consequential stories of the 2020 NCAA Division I Football season was about a young woman who broke down an important barrier. It was told by a Wittenberg alumna who is no stranger to breaking down barriers herself.

Sarah Fuller became the first woman to compete in a “Power 5” NCAA Division I Football game on November 28 when she executed a kickoff for Vanderbilt University against the University of Missouri. Two weeks later, she was successful on a pair of extra point attempts in a game between Vanderbilt and the University of Tennessee. Behind the scenes, Vanderbilt’s Director of Football Communications Sarah Fetters, Wittenberg Class of 2008, promoted Fuller’s achievements and managed the resulting crush of media attention with her usual grace and professionalism.

Fetters was thrilled to have played a key role in a story that transcended sports. She prepared Fuller, a goalkeeper for Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team, for the intense scrutiny that would come with her sudden star turn, and she coordinated media inquiries that normally do not come with the territory for a winless football team.

In an editorial she wrote for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), Fetters summed up her no-nonsense personal approach: “When we knew this event was going to happen, I had two priorities: Take care of Sarah Fuller, and take care of Vanderbilt.”

It’s fair to say that Fetters was the perfect person to promote Fuller’s big achievements. Since her first student-work opportunity as a sports information assistant at Wittenberg, Fetters has always worked in the business. She has quickly risen to a position of prominence in a field long dominated by her male counterparts.

“Who knows what they want to be when they get to college? I sure thought I did – I was going to teach high school math and coach softball,” said Fetters, who grew up in Maumee, Ohio. “My career path has been shaped by finding my passion and relentlessly pursuing it. I remember attending a colloquium my freshman year at Wittenberg presented by a man who was an alumnus and worked in marketing for the Seattle Mariners at the time (Randy Adamack ’73, currently the senior vice president for the Mariners).

“It really opened my eyes to being able to work in sports without having to play sports. I’m 5-foot-4; professional sports as an athlete was assuredly not in my future, but working in them could be. I love working with student-athletes, watching them grow during their collegiate experience and being a small piece of telling their stories. Wittenberg truly launched my career because it opened my ideas to what I could be as a professional.”

Fetters majored in communication at Wittenberg and was a four-year starter for the Tiger softball team. She earned multiple All-North Coast Athletic Conference designations, and her stellar work in the classroom, combined with her steady play in the middle infield, earned Fetters her greatest accolades – a pair of second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America awards in 2007 and 2008. During her four years in Springfield, Fetters also learned the importance of building relationships.

“Part of the reason I attended Wittenberg was the small class sizes, the ability to develop relationships with professors and my teammates and coaches. That same relationship core is still a large part of my professional career. A key piece of Sarah Fuller’s external success was due to our internal relationships and trust built with her. We spent hours on ZOOM that week just talking to her as a person and getting to know her.”
Sarah Fetters ;08

Upon graduation, Fetters accepted her first professional opportunity at East Carolina University. From there, she has climbed the ladder steadily with stops at the University of Texas, Mississippi State University, Duke University, and Western Michigan University before landing at Vanderbilt.

“Each stop was to further my career and open up the next possibility, but there has been a lot of packing and unpacking boxes,” said Fetters. “Since I started down this career path, I knew I wanted to lead my own department and head up efforts for a Power 5 football team, so I made moves to coincide with more experience and greater responsibility. I am a product of all I have met and have been shaped by the people I am fortunate enough to call friends in this business.”

Fetters remains as passionate as ever about her work. Her experience promoting Fuller’s ground-breaking performance only reinforced that she is in her perfect business.

“What I’ve learned all across the landscape of my career is to keep pursuing your passion and find a way to do it every day,” Fetters said. “If you can do that, the grind is significantly easier. Keep pursuing what you know to be right, and don’t be afraid of it.

“What is the perfect college opportunity or job for you may not be what’s perfect for somebody else, and that is absolutely OK. If it’s right for you, do it and don’t be afraid of it. Moving around a lot hasn’t been the easiest part of my career, but it has certainly been one of the best, and given me such a wide network of people I can continue to call friends.”

Communication & Digital Media At Witt
Believing that active, engaged learning immerses the mind in critical and creative thinking, Wittenberg's Department of Communication & Digital Media challenges students to become ethical leaders in reasoning and action by adopting a broad perspective in the study of how people make meaning.
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Ryan Maurer
Ryan Maurer
Senior Writer and Web Communications Specialist

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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