WILSON, N.C. — August 17, 2016 — Barton alumnus Brandon Sneed, ’09, author of the recently released “Head in the Game: The Mental Engineering of the World’s Greatest Athletes,” will share his compelling story as the featured speaker for the 116th Opening Convocation. The annual campus event is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 11 a.m. in Howard Chapel.
A distinguished tradition at Barton College, Convocation signifies the official opening of the academic year, and provides a particularly meaningful milestone for freshmen as they are ushered into the Barton Experience.
“We are delighted to welcome Brandon Sneed as the featured alumni speaker for Barton’s 116th Convocation,” said Dr. Gary Daynes, provost of the college and vice president for academic affairs. “Brandon has two characteristics that particularly exemplify an outstanding Barton graduate. First, he is driven by passion. Brandon loves sports and loves writing, and he has turned that passion into a career. Second, he is driven by an entrepreneurial spirit. He knew that he wanted to become a sports writer at exactly the worst moment to become a sports writer, in terms of the economy and sports. So, Brandon went out on his own and became a sports writer, self-publishing and writing articles at every opportunity. And, the result is that he is now a successful sports writer and a successful business owner. We look forward to hearing him share his story.”
Passionate about storytelling, Sneed began to carve a career for himself immediately after graduation by seeking out stories that deserved to be told and someone else missed. Currently a writer-at-large for B/R Mag at Bleacher Report, Sneed has proven time and again that he can capture a reader’s attention. A prolific writer still early in his career, his work has been published by “Outside,” “GQ,” “SB Nation,” “ESPN The Magazine,” and “Pacific Standard,” among others. Sneed’s work has been recognized with multiple Best American Sports Writing Notable Selections, and, in 2017, his story “I’m Not the Lone Wolf,” about Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer’s battle with mental health, was a finalist for the 2017 Livingston Award (best storytelling by writers under 35).
Yet, perhaps Sneed is best known for his three books to date: “The Edge of Legend,” about Barton alumnus and Harlem Globetrotter Anthony Atkinson and Barton’s 2007 NCAA DII National Basketball Championship Win; “Behind the Drive,” about Barton alumnus and owner of the successful Hwy 55 franchise, Kenney Moore; and most recently, “Head in the Game: The Mental Engineering of the World’s Greatest Athletes,” which was released earlier this spring.
Sneed described the process for writing “Head in the Game” as a journey. On his website, he shared that this book is about “…how ‘mental engineering’ has become the new frontier in sports training — and the huge implications that has for the rest of us. That means this book is full of science but ultimately built around a story. It’s the story of how I tried — really hard — to become a pro baseball player, and failed, and then went in search of answers when it turned out my brain was a little broken. As that unfolded, I met and spoke at length with many smart, interesting, even famous people doing thrilling stuff, discovering one wild story after another. As a result, not only did I get help, but I came to completely re-think the world as I knew it.”
This latest work has received rave reviews, including New York Times best selling author Lars Anderson who shared, “A graceful story about a revolution in sports and, ultimately, what it means to be a human being. If the brain is the new Wild West of performance training, Sneed is our thoughtful and tireless cowboy guide. A stunning work of narrative non-fiction.”
ESPN investigative reporter, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Don Van Natta, Jr., also impressed with Sneed’s “Head in the Game,” noted, “This book is so much fun. Brandon Sneed is such an engaging tour guide to a world I knew very little about. Sneed goes on a global quest to discover how athletes are merging science and technology to maximize their mental athleticism. He has written a thrilling manifesto that reveals the many ways we can improve our games and our lives.”
Sneed completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications at Barton College in 2009 and later earned a Master of Arts degree in Creative Nonfiction from East Carolina University in 2012. He and his wife make their home in Greenville with their two children and two dogs.