Courtesy of Steve Conn

Steve Conn, senior assistant director of strategic communications, is set to retire at the end of the spring semester after 35 years at Yale. 

Conn first joined Yale Athletics in 1987 and has served as the primary contact for almost every Yale varsity sport as an associate athletics director and the director of sports publicity. He has the longest tenure of any Ivy athletics communications person and was the only sports information director to serve as a contact for both Division I ice hockey and lacrosse national championship winning teams. 

“It’s been a fantastic privilege to serve our student-athletes and coaches while working with a fun, talented athletics staff,” Conn said. “I never took a day at Yale for granted.”

Conn grew up in Woodbridge, Connecticut and has long been interested in sports. As a child, Conn and his family lived on the campuses of Stanford, the University of California, Los Angeles and Washington University. When he was 14, he took pictures on the sidelines of Yale football games. 

In 1981, Conn graduated from Amity High School and later became the school’s 2018 Hall of Honor inductee, as he played both basketball and baseball for the Spartans. 

“He is such a great person,” sailing head coach Zachary Leonard said. “Steve cares a lot about the student athletes. He is always thoughtful about the message, and he’s always thinking about the experience of the athlete competing.”

Conn later played football at the college level, walking on to the University of Miami team in 1983. Graduating in 1985, Conn interned at the University of South Alabama Athletics Department for a year before returning to the East Coast to write for Yale Athletics. 

Beginning his official career at Yale in 1987, Conn worked as the assistant sports publicity director. Simultaneously, Conn was writing for the Business Times, and he soon took over the office of sports publicity at Yale in 1993. 

That same year, Conn earned a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of New Haven. 

“I have been so incredibly fortunate to work under Steve for the last 27 years,” Assistant Director of Strategic Communications Tim Bennett said. “There is no one with more knowledge and love of Yale Athletics than Steve. He has represented Yale with class and dignity his entire career.”

Conn has not only worked on campus and traveled to cover the Bulldogs, but has also helped the NCAA run postseason events, such as Frozen Fours, Final Fours, lacrosse national championships and hockey and golf regionals. 

Conn’s writing has also won awards from the College Sports Information Directors of America or CoSIDA, and has been published in a number of magazines and newspapers. 

“To me and countless student athletes and student media, he has been a mentor and friend,” Bennett said. “What I’ve learned from him will stay with me for the rest of my life. It’s been an honor and privilege to work with him all these years.”

During his time at Yale, Conn has served as the primary media contact for a number of national championship winning teams: men’s hockey in 2013, men’s lacrosse in 2018 and heavyweight crew from 2017-19. Conn has also been active on a number of CoSIDA committees and established a crisis public relations plan at Yale that was shared by the organization.

While working as the primary media contact for Yale Athletics, Conn provided commentary for radio and television broadcasts at various Yale contests both in New Haven and on the road. Back on campus, Conn is also an advisor to Yale students in Morse College. 

“Steve always infused his love and passion for Yale Athletics into whatever sport or event he was covering,” men’s golf head coach Colin Sheehan said. “I admire the seemingly small, yet specific details he would include in his dispatches that gave a more complete picture. I remember very fondly, during the men’s hockey national championship campaign in 2013, how I looked forward to his releases after each of the playoff games.”

In 2019, Conn was named a senior assistant director of strategic communications and currently is the main media contact for ice hockey, heavyweight crew, squash, women’s soccer, golf and sailing. 

According to his colleagues, Conn’s greatest attribute is the relationships he has fostered over the years. He has remained close to a number of his former student athletes and student media members, which, according to Bennett, “shows the positive impact Steve had on them during their time at Yale.”

Over the course of his career, staff and student athletes have called Conn “Conn Man,” a testament to his close connections with those he has worked with. Conn said that one of his favorite elements of being at Yale is talking to alumni that he covered who now have kids playing for the Blue and White. 

“I hope I earned everyone’s respect through my attempt to be a caring and loyal professional who loved helping Yale teams,” Conn said.

Conn and his wife, Emily Resnik Conn, have two sons, Jeremy and Jordan, who are both college athletes. 

Amelia Lower covers women's soccer, men's lacrosse and men's ice hockey. She is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College and is from Rye, New York.