CHARLESTON, S.C. - Anyone who has been to a Charleston Southern football or basketball game over the last year has gotten the chance to meet Tom Deso.
A friend and a volunteer with the Bucs over the past two seasons, Deso has made his impact felt in the CSU athletic department. Whether it is volunteering with the Buc Club or by spreading the word about Buccaneer athletics at The Elms of Charleston and around the area, CSU's draw and appeal has been present in Tom Deso's life since stepping foot on campus.
Deso, a native of Upstate New York and long-time resident in the New England/Boston area, made his way to the Charleston area in 2014 after a selling off his business selling school furniture. His first introduction to CSU was through the music department on campus.
"We moved into The Elms and I was basically introduced to CSU through the concerts and performances in Lightsey Chapel," Deso said. "One of our friends' son-in-law works in the department as a professor and that helped start me looking into CSU and what more I could do. I really think this is a jewel for us to have in the neighborhood."
A visit by Assistant Athletic Director for Development Tyler Davis caught Deso's attention and introduced him to the Buccaneer athletic programs.
"Sometime in late 2015, Tyler came to do a presentation at the clubhouse about the athletic program and facilities," Deso commented. "He handed out some goodies and after the presentation, I went up to introduce myself and let him know if there was ever anything I could do to help out, I'm there."
The opportunity arose after a couple of meetings between Deso and Davis, and Deso has been working with the Buc Club at football and basketball games over the past year.
"Tom has been a pleasure to be around," Davis commented. "I will never forget the day, he asked me to get involved with CSU Athletics. I personally believe, his involvement with our athletic department is a testament to the great university we serve and the excellent programs we have."
"As the Assistant Athletic Director for Development I am thankful for his service and commitment to our vision of Integrating Faith in Learning, Leading and Serving," he continued. "We are certainly thankful for every contribution from our donors. I appreciate Tom helping our donors see the value and impact that the BUC Club makes in the lives of our student-athletes."
College basketball has always been a huge passion of Deso, along with following his Boston Red Sox. A University of Virginia graduate, he was excited to see the emphasis put on the defensive end this season by the CSU basketball teams.
"Coming from a UVA background, that sort of basketball is enjoyable to me," Deso laughed. "My main sports interest is watching NCAA basketball and major league baseball (MLB). Over the past year watching the young team grow up, it's been a lot of fun to see them improve on the court and come into their own."
He added, "I've also enjoyed watching the football team play. This past year against Liberty they won on the last-second field goal and I remember watching it from outside the end zone. That was just an amazing game to get caught up and watch."
When not attending games, Tom still finds his way on campus helping out in the athletic development office, or sharing the news about CSU athletics.
"What I want to do is help out with the people involved with fundraising and do some of the backend work to help free up time for them to build relationships in the community," Deso said. "The university has so much to offer, so many programs, and so many areas people can get involved with. It's just a nice place to be, a friendly atmosphere, and the values the university espouses are right there for people to see."
Anyone interested in attending a CSU game will definitely be welcomed by Deso and he actively encourages people to come see the Bucs.
"You won't be disappointed," he said. "I've talked with people who haven't been over here and I like to find out some ways to advertise and promote the program more. Just try it, come with me to a game, and check it out!"