By Keotta House
If being the hardest-working man at Saint Mary’s University were a contest, Sports Information Director (SID) Donny Nadeau would take first place every year. Working nearly 10 hours a day, sometimes seven days a week, Nadeau is always on top of the ball when it comes to SMU athletics.
Graduating from Saint Mary’s in 1985 with a degree in journalism, Nadeau spent 10 years in the newspaper business as a writer and editor before returning to work at his alma mater for the past 18 years. He incorporates his passion for sports with his passion for SMU in his drive to become one of the best SIDs around.
“There is something about this school that I just love,” said Nadeau, noting that he met his wife of 28 years, Deedee, at Saint Mary’s and both of their children are SMU alums. “It’s an awesome place, and to be able to work here is pretty special.”
The hard work that Nadeau puts in could be regarded as even harder when you consider the medical challenges he faces each day of his life.
But of course, Nadeau deals with it like a champ.
“I don’t want people feeling sorry for me or treating any different,” he said. “There are people who are a lot worse off than me.”
Nadeau suffers from a degenerative eye disease called choroideremia. According to choroideremia.org, it is a rare disease that causes progressive loss of vision. The disease affects depth perception and color perception. It has no known cure and no pattern or plan of attack; at any moment, the person with the disease could lose their sight.
“Why dwell on it? There’s really nothing I can do about it — it’s not life-threatening, and, more importantly, I still get to do my job,” said Nadeau. “That would be more devastating, if didn’t get to [be SID], because I love this job.”
For a career, Nadeau has the opportunity to write, promote, live and breathe sports. To him, that is the best job he could have ever imagined.
Must be a cool job if Nadeau has that much passion about it, right? The best advice Nadeau can give is to get experience. Before you go marching to the athletic department to demand an internship, Nadeau has one question.
“What is it you want to get out of it?” he said. “There are so many aspects of the job, such as writing news stories, press releases, web responsibility, graphic design and photography.”
Nadeau isn’t retiring any day soon; but when he does, it’s a safe bet that his legacy at SMU is already cemented.
“I would want people to know I was a hard worker. I was somebody who cared not only about my job, but about the athletic department, the students and the student-athletes,” he said. “I was someone who loved what they did.”
For anyone who is looking to be the next Donny Nadeau, he has one hope for you.
“I hope the person taking over for me has a very hard time,” he said with a laugh. “I think that would say I did things to the best of my ability.”