Excellence In Communications For 2019 Track & Field Season

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the three recipients of the Excellence In Communications Award for the 2019 track & field season on Monday.

Here are those deserving individuals: Wes Offerman of North Dakota State (NCAA Division I), Tim Flynn of Colorado School of Mines (NCAA Division II) and Ken Johnson of MIT (NCAA Division III).

The Excellence in Communications Award recognizes those athletics communications representatives at conferences and/or schools who have committed to outstanding coverage and support of collegiate cross country. Winners were selected by the USTFCCCA Communications Staff after a nomination period.

NCAA DIVISION I – Wes Offerman, North Dakota State

SkullSparks put out a graphic on June 10 that detailed the top-25 collegiate track & field and cross country accounts that generated the most Twitter interactions over the previous year between June 2018 and June 2019.

You’d expect LSU, Texas Tech, Florida, Oregon and Arkansas to be up there – which they were at No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5, respectively – but North Dakota State? You better believe the Bison sat pretty at No. 6 in front of Texas and Tennessee as well as several other major programs.

That’s because of the work that Wes Offerman did.

We wouldn’t be surprised if most – if not, all – of that engagement came during the indoor and outdoor track & field seasons, which is where Offerman thrived. He promoted the NDSU track & field programs with well-written content, eye-catching graphics and strong video content.

Offerman really impressed with his work surrounding Payton Otterdahl a.k.a. “The King of the North.” Otterdahl took the nation by storm this year and Offerman made sure everybody knew about it. The Bison thrower, who was recently named a semifinalist for The Bowerman, broke the collegiate indoor record in the shot put and won two NCAA titles in 2019.

It’s safe to say people took notice about the entire NDSU program, too – not just the biggest, baddest Bison on the block.

“The greatest endorsement I can give him is that he managed to create a fan base for a sport that often goes largely unnoticed,” NDSU coach Stevie Keller wrote in his nomination for Offerman. “When I am at competitions around the country, people talk to me about our team. They seek me out because they know our results and they feel as if they know our student-athletes. That is due to Wes and his commitment to our program and his passion for promoting the hard work and effort of our student-athletes.”

NCAA DIVISION II – Tim Flynn, Colorado School of Mines

There were a number of deserving individuals for their work at the NCAA Division II level this past year but Tim Flynn rose to the top of the list.

And deservingly so.

Flynn stood out from the pack with his stellar broadcast work that brings Colorado School of Mines track & field to the screens and devices of fans and supporters across the country. He uses a multi-camera production and provides play-by-play and color commentary throughout the meet himself in a broadcast that rivals what any institution is putting out on any level. His coverage is done in a way that keeps fans informed along with giving the proper coverage to both track and field events.

A complete archive of Flynn’s work from the year can be found in the on demand section here.

As his Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Sam Boender stated in his nomination, “ Flynn set the bar for internal video production of track & field – arguably across all divisions, and the coverage he offered was free to all viewers. Not only did he enhance the reputation of Mines but significantly increased the availability of the sport to casual and serious viewers across the country. Flynn’s track & field video productions are the mark, and everyone else is now trying to match it.”

To go with the broadcast work, Flynn also stood out in the traditional SID roles with his coverage of the programs through written content and social media.

NCAA DIVISION III – Ken Johnson, MIT

If you want a prime example of why Ken Johnson won Excellence in Communications for NCAA Division III, look no further than what he did during the indoor season.

Johnson created a live stream for the New England Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, which were hosted by MIT. He secured two cameras operators, an announcer and equal coverage of both the track and field events from start to finish. People took notice as there were nearly 2000 unique hits on the coverage of the two-day meet. (WATCH: Day 1 | Day 2)

That kind of coverage is seldom seen at the NCAA DIII level.

Johnson also publicizes team and individual honors by creating banners for national champions – which MIT had a few of during the 2019 track & field seasons – and seasonal posters for All-Americans, conference champions and Coaches of the Year to display throughout the athletic department and campus recreation center. Not only that, but he regularly updates social media and produces easy-to-read content.

“His coverage has led to a lot of people within the institute congratulating us,” MIT coach Halston Taylor wrote in his nomination for Johnson. “His use of the website and social media feeds greatly enhanced our reach throughout the school – beyond students and department staff. His support of our program has enhanced our recruiting, which has greatly affected the success of our program.”

Sounds like a perfect person to receive this honor.