Harbert College MBA student Stephen Love works as football team's assistant video coordinator.
Stephen Love kept his camera steady, which seemed as remarkable as the moment he had just recorded through its lens.
He managed to track the pass as it left Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall’s hands and never lost sight of the ball as it – and Auburn’s hopes and dreams, for that matter – hung in the air. He kept his focus after Marshall’s improbable heave found its way into Ricardo Louis’ hands with some unintentional help from two Georgia defenders and Louis found his way into the end zone.
The stadium shook during the defining play of Auburn’s 43-38 victory over Georgia, but Love’s camera didn’t.
“I’ve had a lot of practice over the last five years trying to keep my emotions calm and focus on my job,” said Love, a second-year MBA student in the Harbert College of Business who serves as a graduate assistant video coordinator for the Auburn football team.
Love has borne witness to the best and worst of Auburn football these last five years while managing 14 student videographers, coordinating filming of practices, capturing game highlights and editing footage for the coaching staff.
He was on the field in Glendale, Ariz., when Michael Dyer’s second-effort run and Wes Byrum’s no-doubt-about-it field goal lifted the Tigers to victory over Oregon in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game. And, then, a year after editing highlight reels of eventual NFL first-round draft picks Cam Newton and Nick Fairley, he accumulated footage that current Auburn players would like to burn.
There’s little doubt that capturing the recent “Prayer in Jordan-Hare” has been more far more enjoyable than the season in which the Tigers had no prayer whatsoever against the conference’s top teams.
“It was incredible, one of the best catches I’ve ever seen,” said Love, who filmed the Marshall-to-Louis ricochet-and-run play from field level at the 50-yard line. “I was right in the middle of the coaches, so it was absolute chaos. It will definitely be one of the top moments I’ll remember from the last five years with Auburn football.
“Being here since 2009, I’ve gotten to see a lot, from winning the national championship to last year to this year and beginning to rebound. Perhaps the most memorable moment is rushing the field after the national championship game and getting a national championship ring.”
Love rarely wears the ring, but that still doesn’t prevent him from being confused for a player during the team’s Tiger Walk to the stadium even though he hasn’t worn a helmet and shoulder pads since high school.
“I’ve gotten asked for my autograph because they think I’m a kicker,” said Love, a Peachtree City, Ga., native.
There’s no telling what Love might see through his camera lens between now and the end of bowl season. This weekend, he will record what may be the most significant game in the Iron Bowl’s storied history. This much is certain: There’s very little that could surprise him anymore.
Wherever Auburn plays its bowl game, it will mark Love’s last set of tasks for the team. He has a job waiting for him in New York City as an assistant media planner for MEC Global, the world’s fifth-largest media agency. Love, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Harbert College, said his MBA experience created a wealth of professional possibilities. Case study projects, in particular, enabled him to showcase his creativity and problem-solving skills for potential employers.
“As an undergraduate, everything was focused on the academic side of things and the theory side,” he said. “When you get into the MBA program, so much of it is real life experience, how to solve real world problems. One of the things that stuck out to me was the focus on real world examples through case studies.
“I was fortunate enough to get an internship in Atlanta with MEC Global. I talked about everything I had done with the MBA program and all of the projects I’d been involved in, developing marketing strategies and running through the financial side. I could talk about all of these times where I was able to meet tight deadlines.”
The latter will serve Love particularly well, whether he’s following the ball during the late stages of the Iron Bowl or completing a project in his new job.
Much like this year’s Auburn football team, Love seems to do his best work under pressure.