A few months ago, I had to photograph K-State men’s basketball coach Frank Martin for some various marketing materials. Coach Martin is an intense and spirited leader on the court but a calm, cool, and charismatic man off of it. The art director wanted several shots of Coach Martin’s expressions that he usually makes during a basketball game. When Coach Martin arrived at the studio and I explained to him what I wanted, he jokingly replied, “It’s not a button I can push.”
Since we only had a few minutes together, I asked him to imagine he was in different hypothetical situations and I shot his expressions. Sometimes he reacted with a smile, sometimes it was a smirk, sometimes it was an icy stare, and sometimes he would erupt in a fiery outburst.
The photo shoot was a team effort of five people: Joni Smoller, director of fan experience and sales at K-State; Tom Gilbert, K-State’s assistant sports information director; Ron Cook, K-State’s graphic designer; Coach Martin and me. Together, we created a hugely successful advertising campaign for this year’s team which includes billboards, posters and the media guide.
The media guide cover has become as popular as Coach Martin himself. It has been the subject of articles on Rivals.com and in the Topeka Capital-Journal and Kansas City Star newspapers. Many Kansas City television stations featured stories about it during their 10pm newscasts and Tim Fitzgerald, publisher of Powercat Illustrated, wrote an article about it in his magazine.
Kevin Haskin, a sports columnist for the Topeka Capital-Journal, wrote a story that included a quote from Kansas’ men’s basketball coach Bill Self. “There was one of him smiling that I’d never seen before,’’ Self joked about one of the photos. “They must have caught him with what he wanted at Christmas when he opened a present or something.” Tim Fitzgerald, of Powercat Illustrated, wrote that K-State’s senior forward Victor Ojeleye said, “It’s a great way to show off Frank Martin as our leader. It’s the best media guide I’ve seen in four years.”
Not surprisingly, the biggest fan of the entire project has been Coach Martin. When Haskin asked him for his opinion on the media guide cover, Martin said, “I was fine with it. I’ve gotten, through emails and phone calls and now that I’m a Twitter guy, nothing but positive remarks.”