Column: Thank you, UConn

I knew there would be a time where I had to write this column. My final column for The Daily Campus. As much as I hate to say goodbye, it has come time to attempt to put words together to bid farewell to UConn.

Let me start by saying that I never imagined I would like a big school like UConn.

Coming out of high school, I didn’t want to go to a big school. I had no interest in going to a school where I’d have to walk 20 minutes to class everyday or a school where I’d have to sit through lectures of 200-plus people.

I spent my freshman year at Eastern Connecticut State University and played on the soccer team there. For as much crap as UConn students give Eastern, I genuinely like the school. But I knew I needed a change.

One thing that remained consistent during my transition from Eastern to UConn (and frankly my whole life) was that I always knew that I wanted to do something in sports when I graduated college. Sports have always been a big part of my life. Always. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I have a sports addiction.

I never knew that coming to UConn would lead to so many opportunities and countless memories. For someone who wanted to go to a smaller college and stay away from the big ones…boy was I wrong.

Before I keep going with this column, I have to mention a few people who have helped me along the way.

Thank you to Tim Fontenault, my good friend and first editor at the DC, who is, in a way, why I got into journalism. Coming out of Eastern, Tim kind of recruited me to UConn and to join the sports department. He and Matt Stypulkoski helped me a ton my first year at UConn in learning how to write about sports and teaching me what it takes to be a journalist.

Thank you to Katie McWilliams and Katherine Tibedo, who hired me as the associate sports editor my junior year and then trusted me to take over the section as the sports editor when the position became available halfway through the year. Thank you to Kayvon Ghoreshi and Matt Zabierek for trusting me and rehiring me as the sports editor during my senior year. Thank you to Dan Madigan, my best friend here at UConn and my associate editor, for helping me get through this year both inside and outside the DC.

Thank you to you, the reader, for reading the stories that I’ve posted and followed along on various social media outlets. Without you, this isn’t possible.

Lastly, thank you to my parents for supporting me throughout these past four years and throughout my life. During my three years at UConn, I don’t think I’ve visited home more than 10 times. Sorry for not visiting home more, but I’ve loved my time at UConn so much that I had to spend all the time here I could. I can’t thank you guys enough.

As I write this, there are so many memories that are popping into my head over the past three years I’ve been at UConn. Too many to mention.

I remember driving up to Storrs with my mom in our Honda Pilot on a hot summer day in late August to start my sophomore year. I couldn’t wait to get to UConn. It was a place I never imagined myself coming out of high school, but it quickly became a place I would gain so much love for and end up calling home for three years.

I barely remember walking into my first meeting at The Daily Campus, but I do know that everything I’ve done here at UConn and the DC was intended to help my future. I didn’t know what the hell to expect or what I got myself into.

My first beat at The Daily Campus was covering the men’s tennis team. I took every article I could that first year, whether it was a point-counterpoint or reviewing the former UConn players in the NBA, just to get my foot in the door.

But like I said earlier, being a part of The Daily Campus has given me incredible opportunities and a chance to witness some pretty cool moments.

I was able to cover the football team for two years. I covered a football game at Yankee Stadium and two basketball games at Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena. I traveled with the women’s basketball team as they won their 10th championship and third straight title in 2015. Shout out to Spencer Mayfield and Troy Caldeira for the fun times we had following the women’s team last year, but especially in Albany and Tampa.

This year, I was able to cover he men’s basketball team, getting to be up close all season long to a team that I grew up watching. I traveled to Orlando, Florida and Des Moines, Iowa for the conference and NCAA tournament. Quick shout out to Elan DeCarlo and Ashley Maher, who traveled with me all year. Ashley and I found out that, despite what you might think, you could actually have fun in Iowa. I definitely will remember all the great times we had this year traveling the country.

Every team I’ve covered at UConn taught me something different. Each team I dealt with taught me something that I’ll be able to take going forward.

Being at UConn and working at the DC has given me experiences I couldn’t have had anywhere else and given me memories that will last forever.

Whether it was traveling, staying up and pulling all-nighters to finish Husky Hoopla or the women’s basketball championship jacket or just all the nights working at the DC with some of my best friends…I am going to miss all of it.

UConn has been a home to me for three years. My only regret is not getting to spend a fourth year here. I have too many memories of being at UConn to name, too many people to thank for one column.

Thank you to my professors for teaching me everything I know about journalism and giving me the tools I need to be successful moving forward. Thank you to the writers on the football, women’s basketball and men’s basketball beat that have helped me the past two years.

And thank you to everyone who I have come in contact with at UConn, whether we we’re friends, lived on the same floor or just crossed paths for a minute somewhere on campus; you have made my experience at UConn unforgettable.

When I left Eastern to come to UConn, I said it was time for a change and time to move on. I’ll be leaving Storrs and I can’t wait to see what’s in my future. They say that college is supposed to be the best time of your life and I can confidently say that was true for me and my time here at UConn. Being at UConn was the best time of my life.

But, now it’s time to move on. It’s time for another change.


Matt Zampini is sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.zampini@uconn.edu. He tweets @Matt_Zamp.