LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 23, 2011) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce that The Net Live volleyball podcast has been selected as recipient of the 2010-11 AVCA Grant Burger Media Award.
The Net Live is an audio podcast touching on all things volleyball. Hosts Kevin Barnett (a two-time Olympian and NBC anchor for the Beijing Games), Reid Priddy (a 2008 Olympic gold medalist and current professional volleyball player) and Chris "Geeter" McGee (former AVP tour announcer) give a new meaning to Mondays in the volleyball world, as they tackle current events, host special guests and shine a light on the volleyball community, whether it be collegiate, national, professional or beach subject matter.
"This award was started to highlight the innovators and influential people in volleyball media, and The Net Live certainly fills the bill," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "Kevin, Reid and Geeter have put together the only comprehensive volleyball show available anywhere in the U.S. covering all levels of the sport from international to college to club to high school, both genders, and the court and the beach games. They share information, take on controversial issues, host recognizable guests, and just generally give volleyball junkies their weekly fix. It's a great addition to our media marketplace!"
Listeners can tune into the podcast each Monday at 1 p.m. EST. Past shows are also archived and available for download on iTunes for free.
The Volleyball Network, which hosts the weekly podcasts, is a site run by Priddy and Barnett. In the winter of 2009, they created the world's first all-volleyball internet radio podcast and have been dedicated to bringing listeners great stories and interviews from the volleyball world. Since the show's inception, they have talked to the giants in the sport. Misty May, Karch Kiraly, Kerri Walsh, Doug Beal, and Hugh McCutcheon have all made appearances on the show to talk about their careers and the state of volleyball. In addition, the show has partnered with the AVCA to include a segment - The AVCA College Volleyball Weekly - in which the happenings in Division I volleyball are discussed on air each Monday.
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. 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.
"We found we had great nominees coming from an expanded arena of media disciplines," said DeBoer. "It made sense to honor those contributing to the success of volleyball in a variety of ways and from various parts of the country."
Grant Burger Media Award Category Finalists
Category Finalist Affiliation
Overall The Net Live The Volleyball Network
Broadcast Donald "Duke" Schneider SAUtv - Davenport, Iowa
Print Daniel Sipocz The Ball State Daily News
Web J.J. O'Connell D3VB.org
Sports Info Jeremy Wu University of California
Donald "Duke" Schneider
Donald "Duke" Schneider is the operations manager at SAUtv, the television station of St. Ambrose University. Schneider, along with staff and students, has been instrumental in the growth and success of the Tachikara NAIA Men's Volleyball National Invitational Tournament. In 2010, St. Ambrose hosted the National Invitational Tournament, and SAUtv broadcast the games live on both the local Mediacom cable (120,000 homes) and over the internet, while using five camera and primarily students to produce the event. The 2011 NIT broadcast had nearly double the internet viewership, with viewers from around the world tuning in. After the tournament, thanks to Schneider, the NIT matches were picked up for re-broadcast across a regional market that includes Minneapolis, Des Moines and Peoria, with that market reaching over one million homes in parts of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana and Kentucky. In addition, SAUtv broadcasts some of the St. Ambrose men's and women's volleyball matches throughout the academic year.
"The addition of live television broadcasts has helped give the Tachikara NAIA Men's Volleyball National Invitational Tournament the aura of a major event," stated St. Ambrose women's volleyball coach and Assistant Athletic Director Bruce Billingsley and men's volleyball coach Bill Gleeson in their nomination of Schneider. "The total tournament attendance grew from a then-record 3,393 attendees in 2010 to 6,520 in 2011, with the 2011 championship match hosting 2,317 spectators."
For the past two years, Daniel Sipocz was the chief reporter for the women's volleyball team for The Ball State Daily News, located in Muncie, Ind., while also serving as the men's volleyball sidebar reporter during his work as a graduate student. When Sipocz began reporting on volleyball, his coverage of the team didn't go much farther than previews and game stories. He soon added enterprise stories, sports news and insight through a blog on the Daily News' web site. He live-tweeted games and spoke to coaches around the country to enhance his coverage of the team. He was well-respected by both the players and coaching staff, and thus was able to obtain information on difficult topics, such as coaching changes, decisions to leave the team, or emotions after a tough loss. In addition, Sipocz also led the charge in covering changes to the Mid-American Conference women's volleyball tournament. Not only did he have the exclusive story, but he gave coaches from other schools in the MAC a platform to voice their concerns and opinions on the changes. This culminated into a special edition of CHIRP TV, a sportscast aired on the Daily News' web site, speaking purely about volleyball.
"Daniel demonstrated a passion for volleyball in his two years at Ball State with quality stories that went beyond the court," writes adviser John Strauss of The Ball State Daily News in his nomination letter. "His coverage of volleyball continued well into the offseason, including coverage throughout the summer and intimate details about going through preseason training camp."
The Daily News' managing editor Rhett Umphress added, "Daniel has a tremendous ability to do investigative coverage on the major issues surrounding Ball State, while also having the personal touch to get in-depth interviews with the players and coaches he covers."
J.J. O'Connell is the head women's volleyball coach at Stevens Institute of Technology and also the founder and sole operator of D3VB.org. The primary focus of D3VB aims to bring together information from the AVCA, Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC), CoSIDA, individual conferences and individual institutions to help further promote the sport of volleyball on the NCAA Division III level. The site also aims to have all of the conference standings and regional ranking criteria available to the members of the division on a yearly basis to aid in the transparency of the information used in the sport.
"The site design began in March of 2010, and it was launched on September 1, with the intent of covering the women's season only," said Patrick Dorywalski, head men's volleyball coach at Stevens, in his nomination of O'Connell. "In the eight months since launching, D3VB also added men's volleyball coverage to the site, and the web site has received 88,000 visits and nearly one million visits since its launch."
Jeremy Wu has been the University of California Sports Information contact for volleyball for the past four seasons. He was the first SID for volleyball to establish a collegiate volleyball Twitter site that is used to give quick updates on the team, including scoring during matches, travel updates, pictures from the road and other fun insider information. Wu has also been innovative in maintaining the Bears' Facebook page with features, video logs, pictures, and finding creative ways to reach fans and followers. In addition, he manages the CalBears.com web site for the athletic department and specifically for volleyball, while also helping with live chats and video production.
Cal head volleyball coach Rich Feller writes of Wu in his nomination letter, "Jeremy's commitment to our program has helped Cal volleyball reach more fans, players, former players and parents than ever before, and Cal is recognized across the country due to his media efforts. We are so fortunate to have him as our SID, and we are greatly appreciative of all his hard work."
Feller continued, "He is meticulous in his statistical updates and releases, and his writing is always polished and well thought out. He is recognized in our department as a creative mind who works very well with the programs he reports on, and other sports have requested his help in their media needs."
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 Spencer Kitley The University of Texas
East Region Chris Cook Duke University
Mideast Region Sarah VanMetre University of Michigan
Midwest Region Eric Hollier University of Tulsa
Northeast Region Brian Karst University of Dayton
Pacific Region Jeremy Wu University of California
South Region Deb Moore University of Kentucky
West Region Mike DeVine University of Utah
NCAA Division II Women's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
Atlantic Region Matthew Kifer California University (Pa.)
Central Region Jeff Duggan Colorado School of Mines
East Region Brian Scios Dowling College
Midwest Region Derrick Sloboda Lewis University
South Region Steve Kramer Lynn University
South Central Region Rob McCutcheon University of Central Missouri
Southeast Region David Sherwood Wingate University
West Region Mindy Mills Cal State Monterey Bay
NCAA Division III Women's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
Central Region Vincent Novicki Washington University in St. Louis
Great Lakes Region Mike Hanson Alma College
Mid-Atlantic Region Dan Muow Eastern University
Midwest Region Steve Marovich Carthage College
New England Region Alexis Mastronadri Emmanuel College
New York Region Robin Jonathan Deutsch Vassar College
South Region John Farina Emory University
West Region Scott Chisholm California Lutheran University
NCAA Division I-II Men's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
EIVA Susan Bedsworth Penn State University
MIVA DC Koehl The Ohio State University
MPSF Tim Tessalone University of Southern California
NCAA Division III Men's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
EIVA Jeff Bernstein New York University
NECVA Ira Thor NECVA
Midwest-III Brian Gibboney Milwaukee School of Engineering
UVC Joe Seil Nazareth College
NAIA Sports Information Director Honoree
Micah McDaniel California Baptist 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.
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