Once again, I am in awe of these people who handle media relations for our college athletics programs across the United States and Canada. The media relations challenges that they face daily are unique and complex and would make some corporate media relations people squirm.
However, the communications challenges facing college athletics are not unlike those in corporations. The challenge to manage the message and protect the image is more complex than every before with social media outlets where everyone can be a reporter. And with this, the traditional sports information department is once again morphing with the times. More and more departments are hiring team members with public relations and communications experience, though I surmise that media relations experience is as important as ever, if not more so, as traditional media outlets also find their way among these changing times.
Ultimately, changing communications within college athletics will not fall to the sports information/media relations/communications director…whatever they are titled, but will be a culture change that takes external guidance and leadership from the athletic directors. But that is for another post.
Cindy Fotti, Columbia College, Rising Star Award
Mendy Nestor, Pittsburgh, Rising Star Award
Dan O’Connell, Towson, Lester Jordan Award
Debbie Copp, Oklahoma, Bob Kenworthy Award
Langston Rogers, Ole Miss, Trailblazer Award
Tom DiCamillo, Central Arizona/Pacific West Conference, Warren Berg Award
Debby Jennings, Tennessee, Arch Ward Award
Steve Roberts, Valdosta State, Hall of Fame/Lifetime Achievement Award
Kevin Ruple, Baldwin-Wallace, Hall of Fame
Jim Wright, NCAA, Hall of Fame
Nancy Justis, Northern Iowa, Lifetime Achievement Award
Tim Petermann, UW-Eau Claire, Lifetime Achievement Award
Mark Stillwell, Missouri State, Lifetime Achievement Award
Dick Vitale, ESPN, Keith Jackson Eternal Flame Award
Billy Packer, CBS, Jake Wade Award