AVCA Announces 2009-2010 Grant Burger Media Award Recipients

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 15, 2010) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce that Dave Reed of Colorado College/ESPN.com has been selected as recipient of the 2009-2010 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

Category                      Finalist                      Affiliation     

Broadcast                   Herm Elenbaas      KURL/KMZK Radio - Billings, Montana

Print                              Vinnie Lopes           The Ball State Daily News

Web                              Phil Brozynski          Chicago Sun-Times/Prepvolleyball.com

Sports Info                  Melissa Wolf            Concordia University, St. Paul

 

Dave Reed is the Associate Director of Athletic Media Relations at Colorado College, located in Colorado Springs, Colo. An 11-year member of the staff, he is the primary contact for all 15 of the Tigers' NCAA Division III programs, including volleyball, while also being the primary overseer of the athletic department Web site.

 

In addition to his sports information duties at Colorado College, Reed writes a regular national NCAA Divison I volleyball column for ESPN.com. His weekly columns showcase not only the elite programs in the country, such as his entries in 2009 featuring programs by the likes of Penn State and Texas, but also shine a light on smaller programs such as Tulane and UC Irvine.  In addition to his volleyball column, Reed reports for ESPN's SportsTicker, covering the Colorado Avalanche.

 

"In our quest to make volleyball a mainstream sport, voices like Dave's are critically important," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "His writing makes our sport interesting and accessable to the general sports fan who may not yet have discovered our passion."

 

Before his days at Colorado College, Reed served in athletic media relations at the University of Dayton (1989-91), The Ohio State University (1992-93) and the University of Notre Dame (1993-96). He has held the role as media coordinator for several Big East, Midwestern Collegiate Conference and NCAA Division I championships.

 

Reed left Notre Dame in 1996 to join the staff at USA TODAY.com, where he served as a content editor/stringer manager for three years. He was part of an 11-member team that specialized in the coverage of collegiate athletics, with an emphasis on basketball, football, ice hockey and volleyball.

 

Reed graduated in 1991 from University of Dayton with a degree in communications. He is a native of Piqua, Ohio. He and his wife, Gerri Anne, were married in May 2005 and are the parents of a son, Jackson.

Herm Elenbaas

Herm Elenbaas is the owner of KURL/KMZK Radio Station in Billings, Mont.  Elenbaas was the first to put girls' high school sports on the radio in Billings, beginning in 1987, and since that time, he has been the only station in Montana's largest city to consistently have girls' sports on the air. As a result of his daughter's interest in the sport of volleyball, Elenbaas began thinking of the possibility of broadcasting some intra-city matches to generate more interest in the sport. He put his idea into action, securing sponsorships, learning more volleyball "lingo" and began broadcasting local matches. He interviewed coaches prior to the matches, as well as after some matches, to gain more knowledge about the sport and the individual match. He has since gone on to broadcast all intra-city matches and all state tournament matches for the past five years. In addition, Elenbaas has made it possible for all state tournament matches to be audio streamed via the internet. Many former athletes and parents have expressed their gratitude to Elenbaas for giving them the opportunity to listen to Montana high school volleyball from across the United States.

 

"Mr. Elenbaas is a great example of someone who used his unique gift of radio broadcasting to benefit high school volleyball here in Billings, Montana," said Billings Senior High School head coach Jeff Carroll in his nomination letter. "Consequently, I believe he is more than a worthy nominee for the Grant Burger Media Award."

 

Added Montana High School Association Executive Director Mark Beckman in an endorsement letter of Elenbaas' nomination, "Herm has worked tirelessly to assure that female sports could be heard on the radio. Specifically, his play-by-play coverage of high school volleyball over the years has led to increased exposure for those talented athletes, and that exposure has increased attendance and support for the sport immensely."

 

Vinnie Lopes

Vinnie Lopes was the editor-in-chief and men's volleyball beat reporter for The Ball State Daily News, located in Muncie, Ind. Through Lopes' four years of coverage while a student at the university, student attendance slowly grew as the men's volleyball team made numerous appearances in The Ball State Daily News. The year before Lopes began covering the team, the average attendance at a men's volleyball match was 624 per game. That number grew to over 1,000 by 2009. Thanks to Lopes' coverage, the fans now knew intimate details about the players, as Lopes proved sports is more than what happens on the court. He also gained the confidence of the players, allowing them to share their frustration and encouraging them to speak no matter how hard a night's loss might be. When Lopes began to climb the ranks of The Ball State Daily News staff, he also stepped deeper into online coverage. Last year, he created CHIRP TV, a sportscast aired on the Daily News' Web site, http://www.bsudailynews.com/, once a week. Two spin-offs emerged from the online show, the Postgame Extra and Game of the Week, and both mainly concentrated on volleyball. In addition, he created a blog solely dedicated to volleyball coverage and began live-tweeting men's volleyball match on Twitter.

 

"In four years, Lopes took a beat that he knew little about and created an expert source for volleyball fans," writes former editor of The Ball State Daily News, Ali Newton, in her nomination letter. "He took a hidden gem of the Ball State and Muncie community and helped it explode into a school treasure. From his innovation in using more than just the traditional newspaper, going beyond the typical score, to showing sports is more than sports, Lopes broke the mold with his volleyball coverage."

 

Phil Brozynski

Phil Brozynski is a sports reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. He is the only reporter in the Chicago area to cover both girls' and boys' volleyball, providing complete and in-depth analysis for a sport that sport that severely lacks coverage in the area. He writes a weekly girls' and boys' volleyball blog for the Sun-Times' Web site, www.suntimes.com/sports, along with contributing preseason previews for the Chicago area. With his responsibilities, he also covers all of the area's major high school tournaments, provides daily coverage of the top matches being played around the state, and is involved in the issuance of weekly rankings, annual all-state teams and the Sun-Times' Players of the Year. In addition, he serves as a national reporter for Prepvolleyball.com, where he contributes a national preseason preview for the state of Illinois, court reports of the Chicago-area high school season and national court reports during the club season.

 

"We are lucky to have Phil as he goes out of his way to cover a sport that so many of us have a deep passion for," states Brad Baker, head volleyball coach at Benet Academy, in his nomination letter. "I can tell that Phil has a passion for what he does. This passion shows in his work and the amount of time he puts into it."

 

Melissa Wolf

Melissa Wolf came aboard the Concordia University, St. Paul sports information staff in July of 2008 and is the primary contact for the majority of CSP's women's sports programs, including volleyball, soccer, women's basketball and softball. 

 

Throughout her years of work at NCAA Division II institutions, including Concordia-St. Paul, Wolf has worked numerous conference and NCAA tournaments.  She has been the media representative for three NCAA quarterfinal teams and hosted the media and provided coverage for both the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Championships.  Not only has Wolf's daily responsibilities gained the team local university-wide recognition, her work with the three-time defending national champion Golden Bears volleyball has earned the team a presence in a major national media market - Minneapolis-St. Paul.

 

Wolf completed a bachelor's degree from St. Cloud State in 2003, where she was a student-athlete for the Huskies' volleyball team from 2000-02.  She completed her master's courses in sports management in 2006.  Wolf has coached Junior Olympic volleyball for nearly 10 years and has worked various summer camps throughout the region. 

 

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                  Shamus McKnight         University of Nebraska

East Region                        Bryan Harvey                  University of Miami

Mideast Region                 Matt Fancett                    University of Michigan

Midwest Region                Jay Jameson                  Rice University

Northeast Region              Alan George                   University of Notre Dame

Pacific Region                   Geoff Thurner                 University of Oregon

South Region                     Mark McGee                    Lipscomb University

West Region                      Roger Kirk                       Long Beach State University

 

NCAA Division II Women's Sports Information Director Region Honorees

Atlantic Region                 April Emory                    Elizabeth City State University

Central Region                  Peter Yazvac                 University of Nebraska Kearney

East Region                       Andy Beardsley             University of New Haven

Midwest Region               Ryan Thorpe                  University of Indianapolis

South Region                    Jeffrey Kelley                  Nova Southeastern University

South Central Region     Andi Leavitt                     West Texas A&M University

Southeast Region           David Sherwood            Wingate University

West Region                    Mark Oshidari                 UC San Diego         

 

NCAA Division III Women's Sports Information Director Region Honorees

Central Region                    Vincent Novicki               Washington University in St. Louis

Great Lakes Region           Morgan Hawley              Heidelberg University

Mid-Atlantic Region            Pete Lefresne                Juniata College

Midwest Region                 Kevin Meinholz                University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

New England Region         Mindy Brauer                   MIT

New York Region               Robin Jonathan Deutsch  Vassar College

South Region                     John Farina                      Emory University

West Region                      Nick Dawson                   Pacific Lutheran University

NCAA Division I-II Men's Sports Information Director Region Honorees

EIVA                                   Susan Bedsworth         Penn State University

MIVA                                  Brad Caudill                   Ball State University

MPSF                                 David Kiefer                   Stanford University

 

NCAA Division III Men's Sports Information Director Region Honorees

EIVA                                   Brian Magoffin                Springfield College

NECVA                               Joe Seil                           Nazareth College

Midwest-III                       Brian Gibboney              Milwaukee School of Engineering

 

NAIA Sports Information Director Honoree

Eric Smith                           Taylor 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.