by Edmund Frazier Myer
Kevin Night Pipe, video coordinator for WSU football was honored with the 2016 Pac-12 video coordinator of the year award.
“It’s nice and it’s been very humbling to get some recognition for what you do,” Night Pipe said regarding his recent accomplishment.
|Kevin Night Pipe, video coordinator for WSU football and Rosebud Sioux tribal member recently was recognized as 2016 Pac-12 video coordinator of the year.
A lot of people have reached out to congratulate him. He said that his junior high principal sent an email to congratulate him.
“I’m 47 years old. I haven’t been in junior high for a long time,” Night Pipe said.
Night Pipe was born in Rosebud, South Dakota, and is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. He said that as a person who is light skinned, but “with a full-blood name (Night Pipe), it was kind of tough growing up sometimes. When we lived on the reservation I got it from both ways.”
“But I know who I am, and I know where I come from,” Night Pipe said. “Who my people are and who I am has always been a source of pride for me.”
“I think it gives people unique perspective when they find out who I am,” Night Pipe said.
He said that he was inspired by his parents, as both earned degrees in higher education.
He graduated from high school in Madison, S.D. It’s on the eastern side of the state.
“When I originally graduated high school, I wanted to be a coach and a teacher,” Night Pipe said.
While taking a course at South Dakota State University, he realized teaching was not going to be for him. Night Pipe started to look for something that fit him better, and back in the early 90s MTV was huge. He said that originally he wanted to be “a sound man for a rock band.”
He took notice of the fact that these music videos were done by professional camera and audio crews, and were starting to become a big thing on TV, so that’s when he enrolled in a video and music production course in Denver at the Colorado institute of Art.
Night Pipe said, “That’s where I got my first real hands-on experience with video and audio.”
He ended up moving back to South Dakota, and transferring to the University of South Dakota where he earned his undergrad in ’95, majoring in both political science and mass communication.
Night Pipe had a high school friend who played on the football team at USD, and Night Pipe knew somebody had to tape their practices, so he questioned his friend about who does the team’s video for the coaching staff. As it turned out, the team had just gone through a head coaching change, and his persistence paid off, because they gave him a call.
Night added, “That’s where I got my first taste.”
After doing that for three years, Night Pipe said, “I got my real big break after that when my cousin, Jerome Souers, got the head coaching job at Northern Arizona.”
Night Pipe moved to Arizona and worked as a graduate assistant video coordinator for the program down there for two years under his cousin, who is still the head coach of that program today.
Then he applied for this job here at Washington State and has worked for the football team since 2001. He said a lot has changed in his 16-year tenure as video coordinator. He said that since his recent honoring more people have been asking him about what it is video coordinators do.
A lot has changed in the video industry since he began, said Night Pipe, and everything is a lot faster. Just like with most technology, “everything is computerized now. Everything is digital.”
When he first started out they were recording to VHS tapes. Now everything is recorded to SD cards.
“We don’t shoot with anything that has tape anymore,” Night Pipe said. “Now we just pop the cards on the computer and upload the video that way.”
He and his crew have a host of job requirements on a day-to-day basis, including maintaining the video database of opponents, and of what the Cougs do at practice and in games. They also keep a recruiting database as well.
And coaches have access to pull up any video that they want to see and use to both teach and formulate game plans from their meeting room or office on their computer or IPad.
During practice his team, which includes six cameras operators, films the drills. Then, they take the SD cards and get everything in the system, and within ten minutes of when the coaches walk off the field, the coaches can go to the computer or tablet and watch what happened at practice that day.
During games the crew only shoots two camera angles: the sideline on the 50-yard line high up in the press box, and an end zone where they’re stationed on top of the football complex, behind the ZZU crew.
After the game, he and his co-workers take the game video and break it down to offense, defense, and special teams and then even more, including punt, punt return, kickoff, kickoff return, field goal and field goal block.
Then they take it a step further and clip together each play’s sideline shot and end zone shot so they are in the same file and easier for the coach to access. The job may seem meticulous, but for Night Pipe it has become routine.
Night Pipe said the hardest part of his job is “there’s always pressure” to have the film ready in a timely matter for the coaches.
Especially after a loss, coaches are going to want to see what happened because they can’t waste any time for a teaching moment. On away games they have to have the video ready to watch on the iPads before they get on the airplane.
Although he loves his job, it does require a lot of time on the road, and holidays away from family.
Night Pipe said, “It’s different when you spend Christmas and Christmas Eve in a hotel room, instead of being at home, like 95 percent of people.”
At practice, he has eight students working for him, 6 of them are shooting cameras and you have to make sure that they’re doing their jobs and not missing anything.
Night Pipe said nobody wants to have to explain to a coach why something was missed at practice. If an opportunity to get it on tape is missed, “once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
When the coaches have meetings, Night Pipe has to be ready to fix any video or IT problems.
Even though he has a lot of responsibilities, he said, “It beats working for a living, I’ve had to work and it isn’t fun.”
Night pipe said he’s been “very fortunate” to work under four different head coaches: coach Price, coach Doba, coach Wulff, and now coach Leach.
“Everybody has been awesome to work with since day one,” Night Pipe said.