Photo by Michael J. Chaloupka
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is pleased to announce that Steve Wilson, Assistant Athletics Director for Sports Communications at Park University (Mo.), is the recipient of the 2013 Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award. The honor is named for the former statistical crew chief for the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship and given annually to an outstanding NAIA Communications and Sports Information Director. The award, in its 37th year, will be presented at the Ike Pearson Awards Dinner on June 11 at the annual NAIA-Sports Information Directors Association (NAIA-SIDA) Convention at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
"I never expected to be an award-winner of this magnitude in my career," Wilson said. "The list of Ike Pearson award winners is impressive and I am truly humbled to be mentioned in the same breath as some of those professionals. I've had the opportunity to work with some extremely talented student-athletes both in the classroom and on the field or court, and without them, I don't get to do what I love. I must also thank Ron Mears (current Assistant AD for Media Relations at the University of Memphis) for giving me my start at Texas State and serving as my mentor in this profession and my Director of Athletics, Claude English, for his continued guidance and the opportunity to serve a great institution like Park."
Wilson, a native of Salina, Kan., is in his sixth year of serving as the Sports Information Director at Park. He oversees all aspects of the sports information department, including the publicity, social media strategy and branding of Park’s 13 athletics programs. Additionally, Wilson coordinates the university’s athletics drug-testing program, game-day operations, departmental community outreach and is the editor-in-chief for all Park athletics publications. Between 2009 and 2012, Wilson played a key role in the introduction of social media at Park and this past year launched the Pirate Sports Network, which provides live statistics and live video to the institution’s parents, fans and alumni.
In addition to his work at Park, Wilson serves as the Co-Sports Information Director of the American Midwest Conference and is an active member of the NAIA-SIDA Board as an at-large officer.
During this tenure at Park, Wilson has had 18 publications named NAIA-SIDA top 10, including two first-place publications – 2011 Walt McAlexander Baseball Brochure and 2011 Individual Sport Brochure (Women’s Golf) – and received the honor as the NAIA’s top In-House Website in 2010.
“Steve brings the ideal talents needed to be successful in his role at Park University,” said Rita Weighill, Vice President for Communications and Marketing at Park University, in her recommendation letter. “He is well-respected by Park University coaches and athletes who rely on his expertise and networks to share details and news with the media and other constituency groups about team and individual player accomplishments. He truly serves as the “go to guy” in the athletic department and can always be counted on to help provide the best fan experience at every home game.”
Prior to Park, Wilson spent eight months at the NAIA national office as the Manager of Sports Information and Media Services. He served as the primary media contact for 23 NAIA championships and managed the association’s website in addition to serving as the liaison between the NAIA’s Sports Information Directors and NAIA Governing Bodies. Wilson also spent more than two years as the Assistant Athletics Media Relations Director at Texas State University – San Marcos, serving as the primary contact for baseball, women’s basketball and volleyball, while being a secondary contact for football and men’s basketball.
Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University in journalism and mass communications in 2004. This April, he completed requirements for his master's degree from the Hauptmann School for Public Affairs in Nonprofit and Community Services Management, and he will graduate in May.
“Over the last six years, I have had the pleasure of working both alongside and across the table from Steve,” said McKendree University (Ill.) Sports Information Director and 2005 Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award Winner Scott Cummings in his recommendation letter. “Steve has a great attention to detail and it is shown in every public facet of the Park athletics department. Fans, parents and alumni of Park have a better understanding of the Pirate programs because of his efforts. Steve is always willing to talk about the profession and at the same time is willing to help others in the profession, from newcomers up to those veterans in the business, like myself, who always want to get better.”
The Clarence "Ike" Pearson Award was first given in 1977. Wilson’s legacy joins an impressive list of former winners that include: Melvin Schreves, Elon College (N.C.); Gene Warren, Pembroke State University (N.C.); Stan Green, Harding University (Ark.); Don Briggs, University of Nebraska-Kearney; Dr. D.L. Ligon, Midwestern State University (Texas); Fred Nuesch, Texas A&I University; Andy Solomon, Winthrop University (S.C.); Kevin Keys, Liberty Baptist College (Va.); Tim Petermann, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; Mac Sisson, Ouachita Baptist University (Ark.); Gary Spitler, Pembroke State University (N.C.); Walt McAlexander, Lubbock Christian University (Texas); Larry Smith, Arkansas Tech University; Larry Scott, Minnesota State University-Moorhead; Bobby Hall, Wayland Baptist University (Texas); Reed Richmond, Tarleton State University (Texas); Paul Madison, Western Washington University; Jerry Hanson, Briar Cliff College (Iowa); Bill Boote, Northwestern College (Iowa); Bob Guptill, Central Washington University; Gary Pine, Azusa Pacific University (Calif.); Mark Bankert, Malone College (Ohio); David Fillmore, Evangel College (Mo.); Mark Womack, Cedarville College (Ohio); Russ Blunck, Western Oregon University; Ray Fink, Oklahoma Baptist University; Ken Isaak, Fresno Pacific University (Calif.); Jeff Raymond, Westmont College (Calif.); Scott Cummings, McKendree University (Ill.); Sam Ghrist, Eastern Oregon University; A. John Pearson, Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference; Dave Parsons, Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio); Candy Sullinger, College of the Ozarks (Mo.); Jay Stancil, Union College Ky.); Michael MacEachern, SCAD Savannah (Ga.); Steven Aldridge, Union (Tenn.).
NAIA-SIDA is the professional association for sports information directors with the NAIA. The Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award is the association’s highest honor and recognizes its honoree for accomplishments and services performed over a career. Criteria for nomination include at least five years as a member of the NAIA-SIDA and outstanding service to the profession and the NAIA at the conference and national levels.
Portions of this release are courtesy of Park’s athletic website