LEXINGTON, Ky. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce that Billy Stone of CBS College Sports Network has been selected as recipient of the 2008-09 AVCA Grant Burger Media Award.
The AVCA expanded the media award's scope in 2004-05 by having a finalist in four different categories: broadcast, print, web and sports information/athletic communications. Further, the finalist for the sports information/athletic communications category came from region winners from each of the NCAA divisions, as well as the NAIA.
Furthermore, the organization again expanded the award in 2007-08 by adding one more finalist, and separating the overall winner from the finalist pool.
AVCA Grant Burger Media Award Finalists
Broadcast: John Kreger, Michigan State University
Print: Chad Purcell, Omaha World Herald
Web: John Tawa, PrepVolleyball.Com
Sports Info: Dave Parsons, Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Stone is Executive Producer for CBS College Sports Network's Alt Games College Sports Action Championships event, a unique collection of annual college championships that exclusively includes the College Beach Volleyball Championship. Stone helped found the College Beach Volleyball Championship in 2006 and brought on the AVCA and AVP as event partners. Now in its fifth year, the College Beach Volleyball Championship annually features the nation's top women's collegiate volleyball players and programs and is the elite amateur beach volleyball event.
Stone began his career at CBS College Sports Network (formerly CSTV) as coordinating producer. He oversaw more than 350 live sporting events and helped create original programming including GO PRO OR GO HOME, a popular beach volleyball reality series. Stone's dedication to volleyball has significantly elevated the sport's profile nationally and contributed to increased programming on the cable network.
"Billy Stone is one of a kind," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "He mixes creative genius with hard work and candor. The result is dynamite programming as part of CBS College Sports Network's Alt Games and the platform for a new college sport."
Stone has been working in the broadcast industry since 1988 when he produced and hosted the Ed Tapscott show for regional distribution while in graduate school. In 1991 he started FOSSTONE Productions. Stone' production company developed the MEAC game of the Week, syndicating both MEAC football and basketball events to 50 million homes, while also creating a national platform for the Ivy League with "Ivy League Friday Nights" on DirecTV.
In 2000, Stone joined myteam.com as VP Productions. In 2002, he joined NCSN as one of four original employees that would later launch the network, CSTV.
Stone graduated from American University in 1986 and went on to get his MBA from American University in 1988. As a freshman, Stone walked on to the American University basketball team, earned a scholarship, and was named a tri-captain of the 1984-85 Eagles. He currently resides in Herndon, Va. with his wife (Carolyn) and two daughters (Sammy -10, and Taylor - 12).
Kreger has served as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Michigan State University Spartans for nearly nine years. His energetic calls and top-notch broadcasts have given MSU volleyball fans around the nation a chance to follow their team. All of his broadcasts are aired live on www.msuspartans.com, and home matches are also run with streaming video. Kreger, the third-longest tenured broadcaster in the Big Ten Conference, and has developed an extensive fan following. He has become a symbol for the Spartan program, with his recognizable voice on match-night. During his time with MSU, Kreger has called 10 NCAA Tournament matches, including two Sweet Sixteens, and his love of the game has helped him promote the sport of volleyball on a whole new level. There is never a moment during a broadcast where listeners are left without details of where the ball is, who recorded the kill, who posted the dig or even what play was run. Kreger also institutes detailed interviews with both of the matches head coaches in to his match-night broadcasts and is an avid blogger, all helping to take the promotion of the sport of volleyball to new heights.
"I have had the privilege of working with John Kreger over the past four seasons and am amazed at his ability to depict such a vivid and accurate image of our sport with his words, " wrote Michigan State head coach Cathy George in her nomination of Kreger. "He is passionate, hard working, and carries a genuine excitement for MSU and Big Ten volleyball. He is an integral member of the Spartan family, but to say that he only represents our conference would be an understatement."
Purcell is a sports writer for the Omaha World Herald, located in Omaha, Neb. He has been the key cog to substantial coverage for volleyball in the newspaper, which is the largest circulating newspaper in Nebraska. Faced with the daunting task of reporting on the state's beloved Nebraska Cornhusker volleyball program, as well the hometown Creighton Blue Jays, Purcell's passion for his work and knowledge of the game make him a top-notch writer. Purcell has been key in the promotion of the Runza/AVCA College Volleyball Showcase, an annual event that has been held at Omaha's Qwest Center for the past two years. He also was instrumental in helping draw over 15,000 fans to each match of the 2008 NCAA Championships, which was also held at the Qwest Center, all because of his thorough and passionate coverage. Purcell takes care in providing readers with vivid and enlightening looks into the Huskers and Blue Jays programs, all while remaining consistent, factual and accurate.
"I feel passionately that Chad's influence while being the beat writer for Creighton and Nebraska has played a positive role in the continued growth of the sport of volleyball in the state of Nebraska," wrote Kirsten Bernthal Booth, head volleyball coach at Creighton, in her nomination letter. "He has provided incredible coverage in the Omaha World Herald, and he separates himself because of his commitment to details."
Adds Nebraska mentor John Cook, "One of the things we talk about often in our program is that to be truly successful in something, you must have a passion for it, and Chad is truly passionate about his coverage of volleyball. He goes the extra mile in covering events that most papers would just have in their agate section. Chad's dedication and professionalism are evident in his coverage."
Tawa is the Owner/CEO of PrepVolleyball.com, a web site that caters exclusively to the girls' high school and club volleyball communities. He serves as the chief editor and writer for the site, managing a wide array of content. Tawa's passion for the sport of volleyball is apparent on every page of the web site and has allowed the high school and club markets to have a space all their own. From the day of the website's unveiling until now, prep volleyball across the country has seen tremendous growth, and Tawa's efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Tawa has incorporated many different facets of volleyball into his web site. While most areas of the site are available only under member access (membership is a minimal $25 a year), there are several spots that offer free access to areas such as message boards, volleyball links, camps and clinics, unsigned senior lists, new feeds and "needs" lists. From recaps and summaries of events and tournaments, to previews of events to come, Tawa provides in-depth coverage of prep volleyball that spans the country. A few of the more popular and recognizable services the web site provides are the selection of high school all-americans and the rankings of incoming recruiting classes for collegiate volleyball. Tawa has also tapped into the social networking scene, launching pages on popular sites Facebook, Twitter and Yuku. In addition, he has also gone on to sponsor a major spring tournament in the club scene, the PrepVolleyball.com Classic, held at the Wisconsin Dells.
Parsons is the Sports Information Director at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, an NAIA institution located in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Having just completed his 11th season as the SID at his alma mater, Parsons has been instrumental in promoting the Cougar volleyball program and its successes in recent seasons and has served as the tournament director for the MVNU Volleyball Invitational and the NCCAA National Volleyball Tournament. Parsons doesn't stop at the university level though; he is currently serving as the president of the NAIA Sports Information Directors Association - NAIA-SIDA. Through his tireless efforts and passion for his work, Parsons has helped and encouraged other SIDs in the NAIA to become more actively involved in promoting their volleyball programs on both the local and national level. Because of his dedication and hard work in promoting MVNU athletics, Parsons was honored with the NAIA's Clarence "Ike" Pearson Award in 2008, given annually an outstanding NAIA Sports Information Director.
"Dave Parsons is an enthusiastic supporter of volleyball. He creatively thinks of ways to promote players, coaches and the sport in any way he can, " said MVNU head volleyball coach Paul Swanson. "Dave is a tireless SID who has been so important to our program, our conference (AMC) and to the NAIA as well. I am so pleased that the AVCA is recognizing a truly outstanding SID who has made a significant contribution to the sport of volleyball."
A list of the NCAA SID Region Honorees for the AVCA Grand Burger Media Award is listed below.
NCAA Division I Women's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
Central Region: Matt Shoultz, Iowa State University
East Region: Chris Cook, Duke University
Mideast Region: Jen Armson, Penn State University
Midwest Region: Richie Weaver, Tulane University
Northeast Region: Joe Guster, St. John's University
Pacific Region: Scott Ward, University of Northern Colorado
South Region: Sean Cartell, University of Florida
West Region: Mike DeVine, University of Utah
NCAA Division II Women's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
Atlantic Region: David Shulimson, Mount Olive College
Great Lakes Region: Derrick Sloboda, Lewis University
North Central Region: Celest Stang, St. Cloud State University
Northeast Region: Andy Beardsley, University of New Haven
Pacific Region: Nate Sagan, University of Alaska Anchorage
South Region: Jeff Messman, Lynn University
South Central Region: Tyler Madsen, Truman State University
Southwest Region: Trey Reed, Midwestern State University
NCAA Division III Women's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
Central Region: Vincent Novicki, Washington University in St. Louis
Great Lakes Region: Steven Wright, Ohio Northern University
Mid-Atlantic Region: Sam Atkinson, Salisbury University
Midwest Region: Tom Fick, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
New England Region: Janice Coppolino, Lasell College
New York Region: Robin Jonathan Deutsch, Vassar College
South Region: John Farina, Emory University
West Region: Dave Reed, Colorado College
NCAA Division I-II Men's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
EIVA: Jason Risley, George Mason University
MIVA: Amy Hyerczyk, Loyola University Chicago
MPSF: Stacey Shackleford, University of California, Irvine
NCAA Division III Men's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
EIVA: Pete Lefresne, Juniata College
NECVA: Rachel L. Pinton, Ramapo College
Midwest-III: Brian Gibboney, Milwaukee School of Engineering
NAIA Sports Information Director Honoree
Dave Parsons, Mount Vernon Nazarene University
About AVCA Grant Burger Media Award
The AVCA Grant Burger Media Award is an honor intended to recognize members of the media who have been involved in the advancement of the sport of volleyball, whether it be through consistent coverage in all mediums (sports information, print, broadcasting and web content), production of volleyball-specific publications or extensive radio and/or television exposure. It is named in honor of Grant Burger, former Director of Sports Information and Associate Director of the AVCA (1988-92), whose hard work, innovative mind, knowledge and enthusiasm took the areas of media relations and publications at the AVCA to a higher level and increased awareness of the sport of volleyball nationwide.