Clark Kellogg wears several hats these days.
We're familiar with Special K around here for his work as a part-time television analyst for the Indiana Pacers. His solid analysis and upbeat manner always makes his work alongside Chris Denari on road games a pleasure. Well, except for the implosion in Miami last December. It doesn't get much worse than a drubbing of that magnitude which leaves both Kellogg and Denari sour.
But forget that nightmare, we're talking Special K and hats here.
Of course, Kellogg also dons the perfectly fitted cap of the top college basketball analyst for CBS which puts him next to Jim Nantz to call the Final Four and NCAA Championship games. Plus, the Indiana Pacers recently threw him another hat to wear as the vice president of player relations. I'm assuming that was a hard hat.
On Wednesday, Kellogg added another hat to the rack, that of advisory board member for the newly minted Capital One Cup which will begin this year for NCAA Division I men's and women's athletics programs. The schools will compete for the Capital One Cup and $200,000 to fund graduate-level scholarships for student-athletes.
As Kellogg explained it, awards will be handed out to the top men's and women's programs in 13 sports with the standings updated after each sports season concludes.
"It's a neat way to shine the light on a number of men's and women's Division I college sports throughout the course of the year, but also couples athletic excellence with providing student athletes an opportunity to continue their educational development with post-graduate studies," said Kellogg.
Despite the scandals we often hear about involving agents and college athletes, the vast majority of student-athletes actually rely on that education to move on to success after the games end. Helping fund post-graduate studies will allow those student-athletes the chance to pen another success story in the next chapter of their lives.
"You’ll find across the 300 plus D1 schools, there are student-athletes in a variety of sports that will be part of the Capital One Cup competition that do go on to law school or medical school and typically that expense comes out of their pocket," said Kellogg. So to have a scholarship fund available for those particular student-athletes that can help them with that expense is something I think is going to be beneficial. Plus, the excitement that the Capital One Cup will generate across campuses around the country."
Kellogg is quite familiar with college athletics having put together a legendary career at Ohio State. Then after an injury-shortened career with the Pacers, Special K found a way to stay in the game as an astute television analyst with a unique style. But now as the lead analyst for CBS, his words carry more weight.
Kellogg is the top voice in the college game, a king maker if you will. You've made it to the big time in college hoops if Special K is praising your game. Funny thing is though, you'd never know it from listening to Kellogg. His predecessor Billy Packer seemed to relish that role, knowing he could stir up a news cycle or two with some controversial comments.
That's not Kellogg's style, though. Unique, remember?
"The magnitude of the Final Four and the Championship game is a different level and I understood that when I was promoted to the position when Billy Packer stepped down," explained Kellogg. "But I’ve always tried to be me and be a good partner and teammate for those I’ve work for and with and try to be somebody that helps the viewer enjoy the experience without getting in the way. So if I can stay true to that and have a little fun along the way and not miss any important things along the way, hopefully CBS will keep me in that chair for awhile."
Kellogg puts on a great show without always trying to be the show, something CBS should utilize as long as he's willing.
I bet you're wondering if I touched on any Pacer-related subjects with Kellogg since, well, that topic would be germane to this site. Yes, Special K was kind enough to delve into several Pacer-related topics which I will share in subsequent posts.
If you'll allow me to tease, we hit on his role as VP of player relations and how he's working with Lance Stephenson and Brandon Rush after their recent off-court problems. We also touch on the state of the Pacers heading into the season and share our enthusiasm for the new story lines we get to follow this year.
So stay tuned. I'm sure you'll find Kellogg's comments as interesting as I did.