May 12, 2016
DALLAS – Mississippi State’s athletic media relations staff was selected to the Football Writers Association of America “Super 11” group of sports information departments deemed the best in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision for the 2015 season.
It’s the first time Mississippi State has received the honor. The award has been given every year since 2009. MSU was the only Southeastern Conference school on the list.
It joined winners: Clemson (ACC), Houston (American), Kansas State (Big 12), Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt), Indiana (Big Ten), Northern Illinois (MAC), Pittsburgh (ACC), Southern Cal (Pac-12), Utah State (Mountain West) and Western Kentucky (Conference USA).
The MSU media relations staff is made up of Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations Bill Martin, Associate Media Relations Director Gregg Ellis, Assistant Directors Andrew Piper and Brock Turnipseed, Graduate Assistants Emily McConnell, Hunter Richardson and Tyson Rodgers, Photographer Kelly Price, Digital Reporter Bob Carskadon, Office Associate Diane Keith, Assistant Athletic Director John Cade and numerous dedicated undergraduate students. Former Assistant Director Kyle Niblett also worked with the football program’s media relations. Senior Associate Athletic Director Scott Wetherbee oversees MSU’s media relations, marketing and Hail State Video Productions departments.
Since the FWAA’s inception in 1941, one of the organization’s primary tasks has been to provide better working conditions for writers across the nation. Over the years, the FWAA has awarded press box commendations to deserving schools, as well as conduct ratings of sports information departments.
“We look at this as one of the most important things that we do as an organization, honoring the very best SID staffs in the nation.” said Tim Griffin, the FWAA’s 2010 President and the Super 11 Committee chairman. “There are many great SID staffs around the country who are willing to work hard to help all media members. These 11 departments we are honoring are consistently exemplary above and beyond the call of duty. We hope this award will help to showcase them.”
Criteria employed in determining the winners not only included how press boxes and media operations were operated, but also the quality and timeliness of information provided. Also judged was the amount of information presented and appropriately updated on websites, and personal responsiveness to media inquiries as well as the accessibility of a program’s players, coaches and assistant coaches. The ratings also considered those departments that went the extra mile in servicing the media.
The Super 11 Committee received input from other FWAA members and others who covered college football during a period from Feb. 1, 2015 through Jan. 31, 2016.
“The FWAA takes seriously the relationships between reporters and sports information officials, and these 11 SIDs stand out because of their hard work and professionalism,” said 2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson. “The fight for increased access is critical to our FWAA members, so it’s especially important to recognize the work by these SIDs who represent their schools and help reporters do their jobs. They are the best of the best and set a high standard for others to achieve.”
In January 2009, the FWAA formed the first Super 11 Committee. The concept has been supported and endorsed by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), many of whom are members of the FWAA.