Athletics behind the scenes: Mekye Phelps

Nyamekye Phelps joined Oakland Athletics in July 2015.

Courtesy of Oakland Athletics

Nyamekye Phelps joined Oakland Athletics in July 2015.

Devin Boatwright, Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Phelps is another athletics employee with a lot going on behind the scenes.

Phelps, who goes by Mekye, is a coordinator of athletics communication. He joined the office in July of 2015, but the road to his current position was a long and strenuous one. 

Phelps originally went to Michigan State for accounting. Like his colleague Maria Rivera, Phelps quickly realized that wasn’t what he set out for. Phelps made the switch to studying public relations and received his bachelor’s degree in 1997. 

After college, Phelps found himself working in public relations for the automotive industry, working with companies such as DuPont and Bosch. Once again, Phelps had a revelation sitting in his cubicle one day.

“I just thought… I can’t do this for the rest of my life,” Phelps said. 

Shortly after that realization, he decided to take a risk and make the switch to working in the sports industry. With this leap of faith came the tough notion that getting a decent job in this industry wouldn’t be as easy as he thought. 

“I took a leap of faith and wanted to work in sports,” Phelps said. “I reached out to Mike Murray (former Director of Media Relations for the Lions), and he gave me the cold hard truth saying that you’re going to have to practically start from scratch. Everyone and their brother wants to work in sports, so I had to be committed to making this switch.” 

Phelps then went back to school at Eastern Michigan earning a Master’s degree in sports management in 2007 while volunteering for free under Jim Streeter (the former Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations at Eastern Michigan). Phelps volunteered for two years, but he said he “had more fun doing everyday busy work in the first two months of me volunteering than I had in five years working in automotive PR.”

Phelps’ work wasn’t done there, as he interned at Wayne State, University of Detroit Mercy and last but not least Oakland University for several years. He finally got his chance and became a full time employee at Oakland University. 

“My story is very different from others,” Phelps said. “I was already working in the real world and decided to come back and start over. To me, this isn’t working, if you truly love what you do, you never really work a day in your life. So for me that’s how I cope and the journey was absolutely worth it.”

Outside of Phelps rigorous journey to the position he holds now, he is an avid shoe collector and enjoys the fact that his job allows his to showcase his collection. 

“Why is my shoe game the greatest? Well, because it is,” Phelps said. “I’m old. I started out with Jordan four, five, and sixes as a kid. One day I thought, I’d love to get more of those when they re-release. So it all started with me trying to collect the shoes I had as a kid, then I just kept going from there.” 

Phelps, like Rivera, loves his job and what he does here at Oakland and when you walk into their offices, you can feel the enjoyment they have for what they do.