As an annual tradition, the Ravens' new PR interns write a press release to announce their hiring for the upcoming season.
The Baltimore Ravens would like to announce the three-headed monster that joins them for the upcoming 2009 season. (No, not running backs Willis McGahee, Le'Ron McClain and Ray Rice.) The Ravens are talking about the public relations trio of Kristen Deahl, Tom Valente and Shane Koppens.
Deahl, who was fortunate enough to stay on with the team for another year, is joined by Valente and Koppens on the PR crew. Valente brings with him experience from two other NFL clubs, while Koppens will contribute his knowledge and understanding of what it takes to compete as a collegiate athlete.
Tom Valente joins "seasoned" veteran Kristen Deahl as one half of this year's season-long intern tandem. Their combined experiences in both professional sports and collegiate sports information have them well-rounded and poised for a championship run in 2009.
An Eastern American nomad, Valente was born in Atlanta before spending his childhood spread across Pittsburgh, Hartford, Conn., and Philadelphia. His past two years have spanned Detroit, Chicago, Miami and now, Baltimore.
Valente spent the 2008 NFL season as an Internet and publications staff assistant with the Miami Dolphins. His hopes and dreams of a Super Bowl championship ended abruptly when Dolphins' QB Chad Pennington completed four passes to Ed Reed and other members of the Ravens' secondary this past January.
Valente's NFL career began in 2007, where he spent the season as a media relations intern with the 7-9 Detroit Lions. Shortly thereafter, he accepted an internship role with the Northwestern University athletic media services department, serving as the primary contact for the nationally top-ranked women's tennis program and four other sports.
A graduate of "The" Ohio University, Valente earned a degree in sports management and business. His passion for sports communication blossomed as a student assistant working with the Bobcats' men's basketball program.
"I am thrilled and honored to be a part of the Baltimore Ravens organization," stated Valente. "With Kristen returning for another year, we have every intention of leaving our legacy as the 'goat' team [greatest of all time] within the public relations department."
Shane Koppens, a Loyola College graduate, was born in the Big Easy and raised in the Big Apple. Although a pigskin was the only ball in his hands as a child, he received a scholarship to the "Evergreen Campus" for his abilities on the lacrosse field rather than the gridiron. After recently receiving a degree in public relations, Koppens was tabbed as the Ravens' lone training camp intern.
Koppens left his mark on the prestigious Loyola program by being selected as a two-time captain and two-time All American for the lacrosse team. As the youngest rookie drafted into the 2009 PR class, he will look to make an immediate impact in his new role. He brings a competitive personality and strong work ethic – traits he hopes to share with the rest of the Ravens family.
Growing up in Clifton Park, N.Y., Koppens began and ended his football career playing for Shenendehowa High School on offense, defense and special teams (kicker). He had one of his better games against New Rochelle (N.Y.) and its star running back, Ray Rice, whom Koppens tackled numerous times and snagged an interception off of in the flats.
"Ray came into that game with the mindset of, 'I am the best player on this field,'" Koppens recalled.
After the future pro posted over 150 rushing yards and several touchdowns in the contest, Koppens found out that, indeed, Rice was.
"My mother always told me that she wanted me to kick in the National Football League," Koppens added. "Now that I am back on the field with Ray and available for training camp as a new intern, maybe Coach [John] Harbaugh will give me a shot."
Although Koppens has already gotten his feet wet at two of the offseason OTAs, his official debut in purple and black won't be until July 20.