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Published on May 02, 2023

Singing the Warriors Song

Bob "Bullet" Molta champions Eastern athletics for 48 years and counting

Bob Molta and students
Bob Molta, center, surrounded by (kneeling, from left) Thomas Stone and Andrés Mayuri; (second row, from left) Jessica Pyrek-Bennett, Liz LaMarco,  Bella Johnson, Emily Jeamel, and (back row, from left) Ben D'Addario, Sheriff Bilewu and Lexi Almeida

Sports Information Director Bob “Bullet” Molta has been a fixture at Eastern going back to the fall of 1974, all the while staying current with changes in technology, student culture and campus growth.

 How did Molta end up at Eastern?

A native of Branford, CT, Molta took the advice of a high school friend who attended Eastern and had raved about the baseball team. Molta chose Eastern Connecticut State College over Southern Connecticut State College to “get away” from his hometown and never looked back. 

What was life like on campus in the 1970s?

Molta was an economics major and loved Professors John Lombard and Ken Parzych. “They were such great professors,” he recalls. Molta was also influenced by Bill Stanley, a year older and also a resident of Crandall Hall. Stanley encouraged Molta to join the Campus Lantern staff as a sophomore.

“We worked so hard on the campus newspaper. We covered all campus events and would go down to the (Willimantic) Chronicle to lay the paper out.” Molta also started working as an unpaid student volunteer in the Sports Information Office in his sophomore year. “Del Dixon was the college’s public relations officer and also covered athletics. I remember him hauling his Smith Corona up from Shafer Hall to the Sports Center to switch from one job to the other. There were no computers back then.” 

molta with sign

How did Molta get his nickname?

During his first year on campus as a member of the Crandall (Hall) Crew, Molta’s friends nicknamed him “Bullet” after Bob “Bullet” Hayes, Olympian sprint champion and star of the Dallas Cowboys. Molta is “Bullet” to this day, and still gets together with the Crandall Crew for pizza several times a year.

After graduation

After graduating in 1978, Molta went to work at the Norwich Bulletin for four years before returning to Eastern in 1982 as a paid part-time employee in the Sports Information Office. “I lived on campus in Low Rise and they also covered my meal plan.” In 1986, Molta became Eastern’s full-time sports information officer.  Compared to his days in the 1970s when all students were unpaid volunteers, Molta now supervises approximately 20 student workers, including three student employees who manage the Athletic Department’s ETV video productions.

Warriors TV comes alive

Nick Aconfora ’15 helped Molta launch the video team for Eastern athletics in 2011-12. “We started off with a laptop computer and one camera,” notes Molta, “and through Nick’s vision and the University’s support, we were able to get a Tricaster portable mixer, more cameras and other equipment.” Over time, the ETV crew has become known for its high standards: male students wear a coat and tie, sportscasters are taught to be objective, and the video team takes pride in developing their work ethic and other professional skills. As many as six students at a time now staff the various roles for the expanded operation.

Favorite moments

Molta recalls with pride the school’s back-to-back national softball titles in 1985 and 1986: “It was great to win the 1985 national tournament on our home field!” The recent 2022 baseball national championship 20 years after the Warriors’ last national baseball title will also be an enduring memory. “Perhaps my most enjoyable moments are seeing the students who work for me grow personally and professionally, learning to show up and do a good job, about the technical side of sports reporting and doing a professional job without being there simply as a spectator or fan,” Molta said. “Developing relationships with athletes and student workers as individuals, seeing them overcome challenges and excel — that also has been very gratifying personally.”

molta with ncaa people
Bob Molta (seated left) is joined by fellow staff during the 2002 NCAA baseball national tournament.

What’s changed over time?

“Technology is huge. I used to have to dig to find statistics; now, each home team shares stats with the opposing team and we have databases to work with. It used to take days to develop film for photos, and it was expensive. Now we can get a photo of an athlete up on our website in five minutes. We have grown in many other ways. When I started, we had six varsity teams; now we have 19. All our head coaches are full time. Of course, the university has also grown — enrollment as well as the campus itself. The David G. Carter Science Building, the Fine Arts Instructional Center and the Shafer Hall renovations are all a tribute to our leadership. We have one of the most beautiful campuses you will ever see; when we recruit student athletes and get them on campus, it’s a huge selling point. Our academic programs and the quality of our students have improved as well.” 

Describe a typical day

“There is no real ‘typical day’ in my job.  I can go from uploading content to the website to taking photos, to doing the public address announcing at a game, sending out news stories and working on statistics. It never feels boring. Each season comes with different sports, different athletes, different weather. I have never gotten out of bed and wished I wasn’t coming to work. When I started doing this back in 1975, I knew it was what I wanted to do.”

“Bob taught me the definition of hard work and what it means to serve a community. Bob is one-of-a-kind because through all the hard work he puts in daily, he finds time to connect at a deep level with each person he is around.”  Nick Aconfora ’15

Written by Ed Osborn