Excellence In Communications For 2018 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 2018 track & field season on Thursday.

Here are those winners: Zach Dirlam of the University of Florida (NCAA Division I), Blake Timm of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (NCAA Division II) and Temitope Bajulaiye of Babson College (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 track & field. Winners were selected by the communications staff at the USTFCCCA National Office after a long nomination period.

NCAA DIVISION I – Zach Dirlam, University of Florida

There were a number of deserving individuals for their work at NCAA Division I institutions this past season, but Zach Dirlam topped the list.

Dirlam is consistently at the forefront when it comes to delivering cutting-edge content about the University of Florida track & field programs across all platforms. He did wonders chronicling the Gators’ run to the men’s indoor team title, Grant Holloway’s sensational sophomore season – that could very well turn into a jovial junior jaunt – and Avione Allgood’s remarkable comeback story, to name a few.

A few clicks on Florida’s website show Dirlam’s strong storytelling ability and he continues to provide a deeper look at the program through immersive Adobe Spark initiatives ( Example 1 | Example 2 ).

“Zach is the best SID in the country,” Florida assistant coach Nik Petersen wrote in Dirlam’s nomination form. “He continues to improve and upgrade the way Florida track & field is marketed to the public. Whether it is articles, tweets, videos or a well-timed GIF, there is no one better. He’s a great feature writer – on athletes and coaches – and can tell the story of a track meet, a track athlete or a particular moment during a meet.”

Dirlam, who also received a nomination from USTFCCCA Hall of Fame coach Mike Holloway, recently won two writing awards at the annual CoSIDA Convention for a feature on 200-meter collegiate outdoor record holder Kyra Jefferson and his blog dispatches from the 2017 IAAF World Championships.

NCAA DIVISION II – Blake Timm, Great Northwest Athletic Conference

Over the years, few nominations for this award have been as strong as Blake Timm’s.

Five individuals from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference applauded Timm’s passion for track & field and the coverage that he provides one of the best leagues in NCAA Division II. Here are the highlights from those who wrote about Timm.

Ian Marks, the Assistant AD for Media Relations at the University of Alaska Anchorage: “Few people have the passion for track and field as Blake Timm. As the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Assistant Commissioner for Communications, his passion for track and field is on display every day. While many media relations professionals view the sport of track and field as an afterthought, Blake puts it in the forefront.”

John Spatz, Head Track & Field/Cross Country Coach at Northwest Nazarene University: “Blake cares about the sport and shows it through his knowledge and innovative eye-catching graphics for social media.  A quick look through the GNAC Track and Field website and social media pages provide an overview of the depth of coverage and the quality dedicated to this sport.

Gabriel Lynn, Digital Media & Sports Information Specialist at Simon Fraser University: “Blake Timm’s dedication to increasing the awareness and coverage of track & field has been evident since he joined the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). … Blake has established himself as the go-to person for all things track & field in the conference and the passion he has shown for the sport is greatly appreciated.”

Mike Johnson, Head Track & Field/Cross Country Coach at Western Oregon University: “Blake is always providing up to date and well-written spotlights on track and field. Blake is a true ambassador for the sport and the region. No other individual possesses and displays his variety of skills, professionalism, and attention to detail than he does.”

Evan O’Kelly, Sports Information Director at Montana State University Billings: “In one of the most challenging sports to provide comprehensive coverage, Blake excels when it comes to the promotion of track and field both in the GNAC and on a regional and national scale. Specific examples include his in-depth weekly notebooks and dedication to updating the GNAC top-10 performance lists on a regular basis. Because he takes the time to update these lists after each team’s competition, those of us at schools are able to accurately report on historic landmarks achieved and provide accurate live updates as our athletes compete. His expansive knowledge of one of the most intricate sports is second-to-none, as he has mastered the art of reporting on every fold of the sport from javelin throws to high jumps to the 3,000-meter steeplechase.”

Sounds like a perfect person to receive this award for Excellence in Communications.

NCAA DIVISION III – Temitope Bajulaiye, Babson College

As a former standout for Binghamton University, Temitope Bajulaiye knows what it took to excel on the track – and he has proven he has what it takes to excel off of it, too.

Bajulaiye, in his first year with Babson College, took the coverage of the Beavers to new heights through the written word, social media and more.

“With a sport that typically isn’t in the limelight and one that generally doesn’t generate a great deal of attention on campus, Temi goes above and beyond when it comes to coverage of the men’s and women’s track & field programs,” Babson College Associate Athletics Director for Strategic Communications Scott Dietz said of Bajulaiye in his nomination. “In addition to full previews for every meet over the course of the season, which is rare at the small-school level, he also goes out of his way to attend regular season meets, our conference championship and this year’s outdoor national championship.”

“Temi not only provides support of our programs but also takes full advantage of multimedia opportunities in the form of video, photography and social media. He has interviewed athletes, created video highlights, produced social media graphics, and assembled photo galleries as ways of giving our track & field student-athletes the attention, coverage and recognition they deserve.”