LSU Alumnus Leads Social Media for the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans
LSU in NOLA: Alex Restrepo
BATON ROUGE - LSU graduate Alex Restrepo is working for his favorite teams, the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. Restrepo grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana, and said his childhood memories involve the NFL home team.
"I grew up a die-hard Saints fan, born and raised. My earliest memory is watching Saints football with my dad, and he’s the biggest Saints fan that I know,” Restrepo said.
As the director of social media for the New Orleans Saints football team and the New Orleans Pelicans basketball team, he’s just as excited to be a part of the organization, as he was as a child watching the games.
"Our main goal here is increasing our audience and engagement and kind of customer service,” Restrepo said. “You have to treat the accounts as: you’re just a fan that has more access than a normal fan. So you want to give them a behind the scenes look, but also be respectful to the needs of basketball operations or football operations, or corporate partnerships, community relations. There’s so many different hats that we have to answer to and work with.”
Now in his 10th year with the team, Restrepo said his decision to attend LSU set him up for career success.
“It’s a domino effect of where I’ve come now because of going to LSU,” Restrepo said.
Restrepo studied public relations at the Manship School of Mass Communication. He could have graduated in four years, but decided to stay for a fifth.
“This is a sports fan thing, but we had a very, very good football team. My last year of school was supposed to be 2006, when we had significant team of first rounders who beat Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, and we had a really good team coming back. So, I tried to convince my boss, Michael Bonnette, who’s still at LSU, to keep me on for one more year because I felt like it was going to be a great year, and I wanted to be a part of it,” Restrepo said. “I was able to stay in a graduate assistant role, and it worked out very well because we won the national title, and I got to be a part of it.”
As a student working for LSU Athletics, Restrepo worked with multiple LSU national championship teams including football, basketball and baseball, and even helped the Saints when they played a handful of games at Tiger Stadium following Hurricane Katrina.
"I helped with PR stuff. It was the bare minimum of things like passing out box scores, running coffee, you name it. I just wanted to be seen and in the mix, and the next year the Saints called me again for game day assistance,” Restrepo said. “During my last year at LSU, I would drive from Baton Rouge to New Orleans for Sundays to work the game. I wanted to get my name out there. I didn’t know where it would lead, but I wanted to work the home games."
After graduating in 2007, he sent his resume to all 32 NFL teams. He heard back from two.
“One was from the Baltimore Ravens. It said thanks, but no thanks. Then the second was from the New England Patriots, who was just coming off an 18-1 season, a huge powerhouse franchise with a lot of success and that was very exciting for me,” Restrepo said. "I interviewed, got the job, and moved up to Boston. I worked there for a year before moving to New Jersey to work for Rutgers University.”
At Rutgers, Restrepo was a member of the Sports Information team, focusing on wrestling and volleyball, and assisting on men’s and women’s basketball and football.
“That really broadened my view of working in sports,” Restrepo said.
He moved back to Louisiana, looking for a job closer to home.
“A job popped up at LSU that I really wanted. It was a social media manager job for LSU athletics. At the time in 2010, it sounds weird now, but there weren't teams running social media accounts yet,” Restrepo said. “I really wanted it, I studied up for it. But I didn’t get it. It was a huge gut punch.”
But remembering the connections he made while an LSU student led him to what he thought would be a short stint with the New Orleans Saints.
“This was the July after they won the Super Bowl, so there was a lot more media attention, a lot more responsibilities for content, and they asked me to help with training camp. I was writing two stories a week for the website and it was only supposed to last for a few weeks,” Restrepo said. "When I got there I realized they didn’t have any social media channels yet. Most teams did not, again it was very new. So, my first week here I went to Doug Miller, the executive director of football communications, and asked if he would mind if I started a Twitter account. They were more than happy to give it to me, and I used that as my foot in the door.”
Once working for the Saints, Restrepo said he took time to learn other communications skills like videography.
“One of the best things I learned from my job at the Patriots: nothing is ever beneath you and make it so they can’t afford to lose you,” Restrepo said. “I was trying to do whatever I could, so I would never have a last day. That was a year-long internship that turned into social media coordinator.”
From that one year internship to a 10-year thriving career, and counting.
“The best decision I made going to LSU was the doors that were open and the relationships I built there that I still have to this day,” Restrepo said. "I can't put a value on it for my career but also personally. You can't get that experience anywhere else."
To read more about LSU's accomplishments and alumni, visit our accolades website.
Contact Rachel Holland
LSU Media Relations