Hall-of-famer Jim 'Streets' Streeter leaves impact
Jim Streeter first arrived at Eastern Michigan University wanting to be a teacher or a coach. As an undergraduate he walked the hills of EMU covering sports and traveling with the team as a sportswriter and then as a sports editor for The Eastern Echo.
Now, Streeter still travels with teams and covering the games, however, this time around he’s got the title of associate athletic director for media relations beside his name.
“I was a good writer but not a great writer,” Streeter said. “You have to be innovative. With journalism, you have to think out of the box and have a feel for the other side of the story. I just didn’t think I had that extra boost.”
Streeter has been working with EMU’s athletic program since late summer of 1974, where he took the position of assistant sports information director. The next year he took over as the sports information director after the former SID moved up to the university’s information director.
“It’s been a privilege representing the university,” Streeter said. “It’s been exciting, ever changing; I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun getting to know players and their progressions to being successes at the collegiate level.”
Streeter has been the sports information director at EMU for 36 years. He graduated from college at EMU in 1973 with a physical education major and journalism minor.
“When I came to Eastern, I just thought it was the right size and right home,” Streeter said. “I also liked writing. I liked sports. I worked at the Ypsilanti Press for a while.”
Streeter was a sports reporter at the local newspaper covering high school wrestling matches and local events with EMU. He was doing a story for the Ypsilanti Press about the supposed NFL brainchild league and had the Detroit Wheels team rent Eastern Michigan’s facilities when he was offered a position with EMU’s athletic program as an assistant sports information director.
“We may be the only place where people know of events at EMU,” Streeter said. “We do a story with every statistic we can get our hands on. We are the information source for our sports teams.”
Since then, Streeter has been a part of media relations with EMU. Streeter was congratulated for his contribution to the university’s sports program by being inducted into EMU’s hall of fame in 2004.
“I was tremendously honored when I was inducted into the hall of fame,” Streeter said. “I didn’t feel I deserved it. It was an honor to see former students, former athletes all show up for the induction. It was a highlight of my career of where I was at, at that time. After what I’ve seen what the athletes have done, I feel that they’ve done a lot more than I’ve done. But certainly, it was an honor.”
Benny White, an assistant coach for the Men’s basketball team at EMU said: “It’s been great working with Jim. He made us all feel welcome from the first day we got here. He’s been a great support for a new era here at EMU.”
Sue Parks, the women’s track and field coach at EMU said: “Jim Streeter is definitely a legend at EMU. When you think of media relations at Eastern, you think of Jim Streeter. He has had a tremendous career here, and I am sure that he will be remembered as someone who was passionate about EMU athletics.”
Streeter said the reason he has been able to be so successful throughout his tenure here at Eastern is because he has had a strong administration that has made the
working environment easier to navigate, and he has always strived to hire people that were smarter than him.
“My goal is to hire someone smarter than me,” Streeter said. “My goal is to hire smarter people to precede us to the future and be successful. I’ve always had people around me that have been talented at what they do.”
Streeter has won about six awards with the College of Sports Information Directors of America during the past 30 years. He said they are mostly regional awards.
In 2001, Streeter helped create a football media guide that was singled out as the best in the Mid-American Conference by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Organization. Streeter was secretary of the DSBO from 1990 to 1994 and was vice-president for one year in 1989.
“I like to set the bar,” Streeter said. “We want to do everything we can to get our teams in the most successful level. Because we are in the MAC, we want to be the best in the MAC. I look at us, and many times we are the only contact other teams have with the university. We may be the only ones they meet here. How were they treated? We want them to leave here remembering that they were treated right and with a good first impression.”
He credits most of his success to his department. He said he has been able to be successful because the great students and great staff he has worked with through the years have allowed him to be as successful as he is.
“Things change over time,” Streeter said. “Technology has advanced for the better. The ever-changing landscape has been the hardest thing for us to cope with. We’ve gone from typewriters to memory typewriters to computers to laptops. It’s been a flurry.”
He said because of the growth of technology in the field of media relations hiring smarter people has helped him out through the flurry.
“The growth and maturity has been a rewarding part of this job,” Streeter said. “Same could be said for the students that have worked for us. They gone one and been successful at their jobs.”
Streeter currently works closely with the men’s basketball team, women’s tennis and rowing here at EMU. He has an assistant director of media relations in Greg Steiner who covers football, women’s basketball and golf for men and women. In the Athletic Media Relations department, he has four graduate assistants that cover the remaining sports at EMU. A new understudy for Streeter this year is Sean Hostetter. He covers track and field for women and men and volleyball for media relations at EMU.
“So far, it has been educational,” Hostetter said. “He’s done a good job at teaching me the productions of media relations.”
Chris T. Puzzuoli works with Jim Streeter as a graduate assistant, covering women’s soccer, wrestling and baseball.
Puzzuoli said: “Streeter is the ultimate fountain of knowledge. There isn’t much about the university that he doesn’t know. I’ve worked with him for six years now and you can always count on Streets to know the answer to the tough questions.”
Through his success at EMU in 2001 and years prior came an opportunity of a lifetime for Streeter. He was selected as one-of-nine media marshals for the 2004 Ryder Cup competition at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills.
Streeter said they only allow two media outlets onto the golf courses at the Ryder Cup, and he was a part of one of the media outlets at the tournament.
“We would tape an interview and send them back a tape,” Streeter said. “Two media people were allowed to interview during the matches so we were the only ones able to talk to the athletes before the match was over.”
He said he also did the PGA Championship in 2007 at Oakwood Hills. He also broadcasted the NCAA Final Four at Ford Field in 2009. Streeter is a member of CoSIDA, MAC News Media Association and DSBO.