Last weekend, I was blessed and honored by the NAIA and NAIA-SIDA as I received the 2010 Clarence "Ike" Pearson Award for outstanding service in sports information.
I can not begin to express how humbling it is for me to join the previous 33 Pearson Award winners in this exclusive club. To read the names of the previous award recipients is like reading a list of the "Who's Who in Sports Information." Not quite sure I deserve to be grouped with such company, but I grateful to be included among the best of the best.
There are so many people I would like to thank and I acknowledged most during my acceptance speech last week at Menlo (Calif.) College during the NAIA-SIDA luncheon. However, not everyone could be there, so I want to publicly thank everyone here.
Actually, I'm kind of glad most were not able to see me receive my award. Let's just say I was overcome with emotion ... TWICE.
What can I say? I'm an emotional guy. (Thanks mom - hehe)
First and foremost, I must thank Union College. I am so grateful to work at Union. The past 11 years have been nothing but wonderful. The support I have received from the administration beginning with our president, Edward de Rosset, on down has been second to none. Union athletic director Darin Wilson, athletic administrative assistant Lana Faulkner and the entire Union coaching staff have been a joy to work for and with. I could not ask for a better athletic department to work in.
I would be remiss if I did not mention all of those who directly assisted me, either as an assistant, as a workstudy, as a volunteer or as a spotter. There is no way I could ever get half of what I do done if not for all of those who have helped me out. It would be impossible to mention everyone's name, but I must thank a few who have spent a great deal of time assisting me. So to Heather Cole, Amanda McKay, Taryn Jacobus, Gene Renfro, Haley (Bowling) McCoy, Matt Mahony, Jeremy Christian and Joe Nagle. Union has a tremendous sports information office not because of me, because of all of you all.
Next, I would like to thank all of the hundreds (if not thousands) of student-athletes who I have had the pleasure of promoting and covering. There have been some amazing stories I have been able to tell. I would not have any awards if not for all the student-athletes. What I have been truly grateful about Union's student-athletes is how they have accepted not only me but my family as well. Union is a second home for my son Jayson, and the student-athletes have made him feel very welcome. While it'd be impossible to mention all the student-athletes by name, I especially want to recognition the Lady Bulldog soccer team from 2000-03. The eight young ladies that came in as freshmen in 2000 and completed their time in 2003 with back-to-back national tournament appearances and a Final Four showing were not only great athletes but also great people. Those young ladies played with Jayson when they were on the bench, taught him how to dribble a soccer ball and made him feel special. So to Beth Martin, Maggie George, Paula Fantini, Veronica George, Amy Johnson, Chace Kirkwood, Kiki Alimonos and Erica George, thank you for everything.
I would love to mention every single SID who I have the pleasure of knowing and working with, but I know I would leave someone out. However, there is one SID I must recognize, Scott Cummings at McKendree (Ill.) University. Scott was the SID before me at Union, and we developed a good working relationship while I worked at local newspapers. When he moved on and I began to fill his shoes here at Union, he proved to be a great mentor as well as a friend. A previous Pearson Award winner himself, I thank Scott for all he has done for me.
I am so thankful for my loving and understanding children, Jayson and Haylee. I am grateful they share their daddy with the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs and love what I do and enjoy hanging out with me at work. While they don't always understand why I have to work so much, they are a constant reminder to stop and smell the roses. Nothing better than taking a break to play with my beautiful children.
Last and certainly not least, the biggest thanks of all goes to my bride, Genople. She has been nothing but supportive as I work the job I love most. She does a tremendous job running our home, making sure everything is taken care of and everyone is running on schedule. I could not do what I do without her. And not only does she lovingly manage and care for us all at home, but she also excels in her own profession as an activity coordinator at a nursing home. While it is my name that is on the Pearson Award, this award is all my bride's. This is her honor as much as it is mine.