George Mason University

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Graduation profile: Living a dream, but planning for the future

May 16, 2018   /   by Damian Cristodero

Brian Negron, a 6-foot-7 setter, was named player of the year in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Photo courtesy Mason Athletics.

Brian Negron will have an opportunity this summer to live his dream of playing professional volleyball in his native Puerto Rico.

It is a fitting continuation of an athletic career that saw the George Mason University senior grow into one of the nation’s elite players and earn honors this season as the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association’s (EIVA) player of the year. 

“It does feel good,” the 6-foot-7 setter said. “It’s a lot of sacrifice. People think it’s easy, but you get a lot of closed doors and people who doubt what you can do. So it’s really good to receive one of these honors and have it in your back pocket.”

Actually, what Negron has in his back pocket is a skill set that was developed at George Mason, is more about his creativity and determination than his athleticism, and could eventually push him into the broadcasting or video industries.

That journey began the summer after his freshman year, when Negron helped his brother, Hector, start a YouTube channel dedicated to volleyball.

“I’ve always been a fan of the visual arts, and I fell in love with working with the camera,” Negron said.

With that spark, Negron, a sport management major, used his internship at Mason Cable Network. As a technical director, he managed coverage of Mason sporting events. He also produced his own show, “The Pressbox,” in which he interviewed Mason athletes and got them to do goofy stuff such as athletic challenges and reading mean tweets for fun.

Negron worked the camera, wrote scripts and edited video. If he saw a video package he liked on his Bleacher Report feed, he tried to duplicate it. He even edited his own highlight video to show agents and professional teams.

“All I know about video editing, graphic design and all that has been self-taught,” Negron said. “It’s fun. You go to YouTube, and you can learn a lot.”

“He just instantly was a huge asset for the team,” said Tyler Byrum, assistant broadcast director in Mason’s Office of Student Media. “It didn’t take long for us to trust him to step up with key decisions at key moments.”

It was the same for Negron as captain of Mason’s men’s volleyball team.

“Brian is a tremendous student of the game, and he brings that knowledge to our gym,” coach Jay Hosack said. “He is an avid video watcher and learns how to get better, a tireless worker, first one in and the last to leave.”

Negron will play with the Guaynabo Mets in Puerto Rico through August. But professional sports is an unpredictable business, and Negron, a member of the EIVA all-academic team, which means he earned at least a 3.5 GPA, is happy to have his video and technical experience as a career fallback.

“I’ve grown faster than I’ve thought,” he said of his time at Mason. “It’s been a fun experience, for sure.”

Brian Negron's skills developed as a technical director for the Mason Cable Network complemented his athletic development. Photo courtesy Mason Athletics.

Topics: Graduation