For Kings’ ‘Fresh,’ childhood passion becomes dream job

Scott Freshour ’06 (Communication Studies) was a freshman at Sacramento State and attending a baseball game when he and some friends decided to heckle the opposing players. That got them the attention of a member of Sac State’s athletics staff.

“I thought, ‘We’re getting kicked out,’” Freshour recalls. “But he says, ‘I like your passion. Do you guys want to intern in our sports marketing department?’ And I was like, are you kidding?”

He wasn’t kidding. Freshour got the internship, an experience that, in turn, helped land him his dream job: working for the Sacramento Kings, where he gets to put his infectious and seemingly inexhaustible passion and energy to good use.

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(Courtesy Sacramento Kings)

Officially, Freshour is the team’s producer of live entertainment, curating the plan for all in-game entertainment, from contests to baby races (seriously). But for Kings’ fans – who know him as “Fresh” or sometimes simply “Kings Guy” – he also is one the most visible elements of the in-arena experience, serving as emcee for skits and contests, as well as hype man responsible for pumping up the crowd.

“With my talented team, we create an entertainment experience and then I’m lucky enough to play a character in our presentation to fans,” he says, “It’s beyond fulfilling.”

It’s a role Freshour could have only dreamed of as a teenager in Redding during the early 2000s, when the Kings’ “Greatest Show on Court” was one of the hottest commodities in sports. He regularly made the three-hour drive to then-Arco Arena to catch games.

His love of and desire to be close to the Kings is one reason Freshour chose to attend Sacramento State, enrolling as an art major before switching to communication studies, where his professors encouraged him to challenge traditional methods.

“I’m incredibly proud to be a Hornet. My time on campus provided a foundation for navigating relationships with my team, building scripts and crafting an entertaining show, and ensuring that our fans are thrilled every time they visit Golden 1 Center,” says Freshour. “From the classroom to the quad, I found my calling: engaging with and entertaining people.”

Freshour’s success with the Kings isn’t surprising to Adam Primas, director of marketing/promotions and spirit groups with Sacramento State athletics. Primas supervised Freshour during his internship and saw first-hand the energy and creativity he brought not just to Hornet athletics events through his unique in-game entertainment or promotions, but to the office as a whole.

“Every time I hear his name I crack up,” Primas says. “He was just one of our best students. He could take the most monotonous job, hanging up a banner, and just have everyone laughing, hanging up more banners.”

At the end of Freshour’s sophomore year, the Kings called to ask if Sacramento State had any students who wanted an internship with the NBA team. Freshour jumped at the opportunity.

“Once I joined the athletic department, my college classrooms extended to the hardwood of Hornet Gym to the soccer fields and beyond,” he says. “Every season – volleyball, soccer, football, basketball, baseball – became its own semester and study of how teams operate and the intense work behind the scenes for each game-night experience.”

When Freshour graduated, the Kings offered a full-time position as an event coordinator. Over the years, his role has grown to stage and eventually talent manager. In 2008, he became the team’s emcee, and he was promoted to his current position as producer in 2016.

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Freshour has been invited to emcee the NBA’s All-Star Weekend for the past six years. (Courtesy Sacramento Kings)

“During the course of his time with the Kings, they have not been the best team record-wise, but our fans continue to come out and Fresh continues to entertain them and make the best experience possible,” says Scott Moak, the team’s vice president of game entertainment, production and content. Moak, the longtime PA announcer, first met Freshour in the early 2000s while working as the announcer at Sacramento State football, basketball and volleyball games. “He’s a crazy fan that’s turned into an emcee and is one of the best in the league.”

Moak says Freshour is the creative force behind the Kings’ in-game skits, contests and other entertainment features, many of which – including, yes, baby races – have been copied by other teams. And Moak isn’t kidding about that “best in the business” thing. Freshour has been invited to emcee the league’s All-Star Weekend for the past six years, a prestigious gig that lets him share his passion with NBA fans around the world – all while sporting Kings gear at center court and on national TV.

Off the court, Freshour’s passion these days is his 1-year-old son, who he is starting to bring to games and share the experience with as frequently as possible. He enjoys his sojourns to bicycle in the mountains, where he often finds inspiration for ideas to implement at games. And he still pinches himself that, 41 times a year, he gets to go to work on the Golden 1 Center floor, microphone in hand, in front of 17,000 fans, enjoying an adrenaline rush he calls “the best feeling in the world.”

“As a proud kings fan growing up, it is so mind-blowing to come to work every day in the NBA,” he says. “I know how much the city means to the Kings. I know how much the Kings mean to the city. I’m honored to be a part of it and look forward to the next phase of my career with the Kings.”

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Alumna turns the page at Teen Vogue, shares vision with New York Times

EDITOR
Sac State alumna Elaine Welteroth talks about her first foray into journalism in a New York Times interview.

The teen magazine famous for dishing out fashion and makeover advice is enjoying a historic facelift of its own. Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth ’07 (Communication Studies) is the force behind Teen Vogue’s transformation into a modern voice for an empathetic and engaged generation of readers.

Under Welteroth’s editorial direction, current issues of the magazine include fewer stories on fashion, beauty and style, and more on the progressive politics and social issues that impact and resonate with today’s diverse, digitally connected audience.

In a recent New York Times interview, Welteroth shares thoughts about her first foray into journalism and lauds a Sac State class that she says “changed her life.”

According to the article, the professor promised that any student who could get published in a national magazine would receive an automatic A. Welteroth pitched a story about plus-size footwear to Figure, a magazine for plus-size women, and her pitch was accepted.

Before her last semester of college, Welteroth interned at an international advertising agency, where she reportedly told a fellow intern that she’d rather be working at a magazine and showed him one of her stories from Figure. The other intern questioned whether her articles were real journalism, to which she replied, “I remember staying up for an hour and a half debating this man to the ground, telling him that beauty and fashion journalism is journalism.”

The editor-in-chief followed her heart and passion to become the second African American in Condé Nast’s 108-year publishing history to hold such a title and the youngest in Condé Nast history to become editor.

While content on the magazine’s robust website still includes articles on adolescent angst and celebrity crushes, the first navigation bar now reads “News and Politics,” a nod to Welteroth’s determination to move the needle on what’s considered news for teens.

“I felt like there was an opportunity to go a little deeper and to feature a different type of girl: someone who actually used their platform to be a role model and to be a thought leader. There was something shifting in the zeitgeist,” she told the New York Times. She added, “Teen Vogue has as much right to be at the table, talking about politics, as every young woman does in America right now.”

Welteroth was previously editor at Teen Vogue, which she joined in 2012 as beauty and health director. Before that, she was the senior beauty editor at Glamour, and worked as the beauty and style editor at Ebony magazine. – Anita Fitzhugh

Ryan Todd builds ‘culture of sustainability’ at Sac State

Sacramento State Sustainability Manager and alum Ryan Todd, left , works with environmental studies student Nicolette Garces at the University’s compost facility, which functions as a “living lab” for students from a variety of disciplines. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Ryan Todd graduated from Sacramento State in 2009 with a degree in environmental studies and a resolve to do his part to help the planet. Now, he’s back at the University doing exactly that, leading the team responsible for keeping Sac State one of the most sustainable campuses in the world.

Todd recently was profiled by the California State University as part of a series focusing on students, faculty, and alumni who are proving the transformative impact of a CSU education. He talked about how he became a student at Sac State, getting involved in sustainability issues, and some of the projects he is working on as the University’s sustainability manager.

Sacramento State’s roots as an environmentally friendly university run deep – literally. The campus is home to more than 3,500 trees and has been designated a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation five years in a row. Sac State was one of just 21 campuses and the only CSU to make The Princeton Review’s 2017 Green College Honor Roll, and the Closed Loop program – through which green waste such as leaves and lawn clippings is turned into compost used across campus as well as clean natural gas for the University’s shuttles – received a Best Practice Award at last year’s CSU Facilities Management Conference.

Todd embraces the concept of the “campus as a living lab,” involving students, faculty, and other parts of the University whenever possible in sustainability initiatives. The sustainability office has a new solar-powered golf cart, for example, thanks to engineering students who designed it using leftover solar panels. The Closed Loop program is another example: Students are dispatched to collect food waste, and the compost generated is used by groups across campus including Capital Public Radio, Associated Students Inc. (ASI) and the ASI Children’s Center.

“Everything we do, we do in collaboration with different groups,” Todd said.

Some of the projects Todd and his team – Energy & Utilities Analyst and Sac State alum Nathaniel Martin, Sustainability Analyst Kristina Cullen, and Recycling & Sustainability Coordinator and alum Joey Martinez – are working on include:

  • Replacing standard water faucets with infrared, motion-sensor faucets that save water, as well as replacing showerheads at Yosemite Hall, a project funded by a grant from the state Department of Water Resources
  • Partnering with local elementary schools to bring students onto campus to learn about sustainability issues and expose them to college
  • Retrofitting lighting inside Mendocino Hall to feature “daylight harvesting” technology, which automatically dims indoor lights depending on the amount of natural light coming into a room
  • Facilitating competition between residence halls to see which can conserve the most energy
  • Developing the campus’ first greenhouse gas emissions report following President Robert S. Nelsen’s pledge to reduce such emissions at Sac State and achieve carbon neutrality

The University’s new “Science II” building, which breaks ground this summer, is expected to be certified LEED Gold, becoming the third building on campus to earn a LEED designation (the other two are The WELL and American River Commons).

“What we’re doing is trying to create a culture of sustainability,” Todd said. “When you do that, it makes being environmentally responsible happen naturally. It sets the expectation that this is just how we do things at Sac State.”

To learn more about sustainability initiatives on campus, visit the Sac State Sustainability homepage at csus.edu/aba/sustainability/