Colorado State’s Social Media Accounts Honored as 2012-13 AVCA Grant Burger Media Award Recipient

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 29, 2013) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce that Colorado State University's social media accounts have been selected as recipient of the 2012-13 AVCA Grant Burger Media Award.  This is the first honor for any social media accounts.


"Today's social media applications have changed the landscape for sports like volleyball," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "The innovative gang at Colorado State really understands the concepts involved in engaging their fans and have found ways to include them in matches and the volleyball program generally.  The ability to bypass traditional channels and interact directly with those who care about your team is energizing for all those working in volleyball media.  CSU gives us a model well worth emulating."     


As one of the leading volleyball programs in the country, Colorado State has been able to leverage their popularity of the talented squad into the social space.  Not only do they successfully post match recaps, postgame highlights, press conferences and behind the scenes content to add further exposure to the program, they run social media campaigns and themed events as well.  We encourage all volleyball programs at all levels to either start or continue to expand their social media presence, and Colorado State University is at the head of the pack.


One example is a "Social Media Night" they hosted in their match on November 8th against UNLV.  They go on to explain the promotion:

"Several perks were offered, including a discounted ticket promotion for fans who like CSU on Facebook. Additionally, our Facebook fans had the opportunity to print off an online entry and submit it at the match for the chance to win a trip to Boise, Idaho to watch our volleyball and football teams play Boise State on Nov. 17.  The grand prize included roundtrip airfare for two to Boise, two nights of lodging, ground transportation and tickets to the two contests.  Twenty secondary winners won a CSU volleyball T-shirt, while additional fans throughout the night won a prize pack through Twivia (Twitter trivia).  During each set, a CSU volleyball trivia question was shown on the video board and read by the PA announcer.  The first person to tweet the correct answer to our Twitter handle won a prize pack.  Also through Twitter, fans who posted a picture of themselves at the game using the hashtag #CSUvb then had their photos uploaded to a photo gallery on our Facebook page.  The promotion helped increase our fan following by more than 21 percent."


Another example of Colorado State seeing positive results from their social media efforts came at the end of last year, when they sent a school representative with a camera to document the experience of AVCA All-American Dana Cranston's trip to the AVCA Convention and Final Four last year in Louisville, KY.  The representative captured the All-America banquet, a youth clinic at the YMCA, the All-American autograph session and the championship match.  After the weekend was through, multiple Facebook albums from their trip were created to give fans the "insider" experience of one of the best players in the country.


Other promotions include "Trivia Tuesdays," a "Rings Photo Collage," and a special 2013 schedule release where they announced the schedule first on Twitter.


The nomination form continues:  "We try to be interactive by posing questions, encouraging response and posting fun items, such as a JibJab video of the coaches or funny photos, prompting a caption contest. Occasionally, we'll also post fully edited videos, ranging from post-match highlights/press conferences, promotional material for a big match, the team practicing and previews of a match."  

Social media links:
Vine: Linked to Twitter account
Instagram: (the athletics department at CSU has decided to have one joint Instagram account, and therefore, CSU volleyball does not have a specific account)

Grant Burger Media Award Category Finalists
Category                        Finalist                                                    Affiliation    
Overall                           Colorado St. University Social Media      Colorado State University
Broadcast                      UCM Athletics Broadcasting                   University of Central Missouri
Print                               Kevin Lonnquist                                       Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Web                                Bill Kauffman                                           USA Volleyball
Sports Info                    Dena Meiste                                             Pepperdine University
College Student Reporter CJ Allard                                             WCRD/Ball State University
Social Media                  Vinnie Lopes                                            Off the Block


Broadcast - UCM Athletics Broadcasting

In today's world of emerging technology, UCM Athletics Broadcasting was one of the best in the country last season in maintaining high quality video and radio broadcasts online as well as in-game entertainment.  A webcast was produced for each home match in the 2012 season and the Jennies can be found on the local 1450-KOKO radio station and  They were able to accomplish all of this in their first year of UCM Athletics Broadcasting.

All broadcasts were staffed with approximately 25 student crew members including on-air talent.  The crew was put together by Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Operations Shawn Jones upon the installation of their new four-sided video board and the UCM Media Network. 

UCM Head Volleyball Coach Flip Piontek sang their praises in his nomination form:  "The students received great ‘real life' experience and class credit in many cases.  In turn, our program received high major Division I quality video board production, television-like webcasts and big matches on our local hometown radio station.  If the purpose of the award is to increase awareness of the sport of volleyball through the broadcast platform, this group certainly did that in a big way and we are very grateful as a program!"


Print - Kevin Lonnquist

Covering high school volleyball for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, few have been able to capture an audience for the sport of volleyball in a newspaper quite like Kevin Lonnquist.  He not only reports match results, but features human interest stories of local volleyball players.  He uses his knowledge of the sport to not only entertain his readers, but to educate them on the finer nuances of what's happening on and off the court.

"Over the course of Mr. Lonnquist's 23 year career, he has covered over 100 schools," said Byron Nelson High School Head Coach Libby Pacheco.  "He has always been very professional when dealing with coaches and athletic directors.  I especially appreciate his professionalism when speaking with the young, inexperienced high school student-athletes in the area.  Our parents and community always look forward to reading his profiles and coverage of volleyball during the course of the season.  We are lucky to have a journalist committed to volleyball in our area."



Web - Bill Kauffman

If you have spent any time at all in the sport of volleyball, you have in some way, shape or form consumed something produced by Bill Kauffman.  He has spent countless hours putting together reports, press releases and other materials to help increase media awareness domestically and internationally.  While currently working as the Senior Manager of Communications at USA Volleyball, Kauffman's knowledge extends from high school all of the way to the international game.

USAV's Director of Communications and Technology Brent Buzbee explains: "Bill conducts himself on the highest professional level when dealing with athletes, coaches, media, parents, administrators or Facebook fans.  Bill's work is meticulous, detailed and accurate whether he is writing a match story, posting to social media, posting to the USA Volleyball website, editing a magazine or dealing with NBC."



Sports Information - Dena Meiste

One of the unsung heroes of a volleyball season is the Sports Information Director, and Dena Meiste of Pepperdine University is one of the best.  While most SID's work either the men's or women's volleyball season (amongst other sports), Meiste works both men's and women's indoor including the NCAA emerging sport, sand volleyball.  She routinely goes above and beyond the call of duty to make sure Pepperdine's volleyball teams are in the forefront of the media whether it is social media, press releases, media interviews or any other medium.

More specifically in the sand game, she has truly shined as one of the leaders in a sport that doesn't have a precedent.  She has taken the reigns to give the Waves a reputation for running one of the best home matches in the sand game, plus her ability to take comprehensive stats has helped catapult the sport to new heights.

"Dena is fantastic," said Pepperdine indoor women's and sand head coach Nina Matthies.  "She's been great with sand volleyball and is setting the bar for how an SID should do things. She's blazing the trail with a new sport.  Dena's been great about scores, stats, reporting, and all the stuff that needs to be done.  She's been unbelievable getting us everything we need quickly, and the way we like it."



College Student Reporter - CJ Allard

In the first year of this honor, Ball State University's CJ Allard receives recognition as the top college student reporter in the nation.  As the play-by-play announcer and voice of the Ball State men's team on WCRD 91.3, Allard provided a live broadcast for all home matches and select road matches.  However, he didn't stop once the final ball hit the floor.  He hosted a weekly coach's show with Ball State Head Coach Joel Walton on WCRD, and also used social media to break news to further promote the Cardinals and men's volleyball as a whole.

"CJ may very well be the finest student play-by-play volleyball radio broadcaster in Ball State history," said AVCA Hall of Famer and BSU women's head volleyball coach Steve Shondell.   "His enthusiasm and passion for the game is nearly beyond words.  CJ is clearly in a class of his own."



Social Media - Vinnie Lopes

We all know the significance social media has played in today's society, especially in athletics, and Off the Block's Vinnie Lopes has been leading the charge in the men's game.  Through various contests, reporting, match recaps and asking intriguing questions to keep the conversation going, anyone in the NCAA Men's Division I-II realm is familiar with his work. 

A regular contributor to the AVCA blog, Vinnie uses in addition to his Twitter and Facebook accounts to post breaking news.  As the conference tournaments came to an end, he posted "bracketology" updates predicting who will make the NCAA Semifinals.  It is this type of work in between matches that help grow the game and take it to the next level.

NCAA Division I Women's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
Central Region                   Tami Cutler              Wichita State University
East Region                        Jimmy Gill                University of Miami (Florida)
Mideast Region                  Kendra Willard         Ohio State University
Midwest Region                 AJ Harrison              University of Tulsa
Northeast Region               Nancy Worley          University of Louisville
Pacific Region                    Corinne Calabro      Arizona State University
South Region                     Whitney Tarpy          Western Kentucky University
West Region                       John Barry                University of Hawai'i


NCAA Division II Women's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
Atlantic Region                  Katie Botsis                  Gannon University
Central Region                   Mike Knipper                University of Central Missouri
East Region                        Matt McLagan              Caldwell College
Midwest Region                 Matt Holmes                 University of Indianapolis
South Region                     Matt Rowley                 University of West Florida
South Central Region        Colin Bonnicken          Colorado School of Mines
Southeast Region              Chad Jackson              Armstrong Atlantic State University
West Region                       Paul Madison               Western Washington University 

NCAA Division III Women's Sports Information Director Region Honorees
Central Region                     Gene McGivern              University of St. Thomas (MN)
Great Lakes Region             Jeffrey Febus                 Calvin College
Mid-Atlantic Region             Tim Brennan                   Salisbury University
Midwest Region                    Kevin Juday                   Elmhurst College
New England Region           George Chapell              Endicott College
New York Region                 Chris Rollman                 Richard Stockton College of NJ
South Region                       Kenny Kline                     Christopher Newport University
West Region                         Doug Aiken                     Chapman University

NCAA Division I-II Men's Sports Information Director Conference Honorees
EIVA                                   Andrew Chesebro           Harvard University
MIVA                                  Jessica Souto                  Ball State University
MPSF                                 Stacey Shackleford         UC Irvine
Conference Carolinas      David Shulimson             Mount Olive College

NCAA Division III Men's Sports Information Director Conference Honorees
CUNYAC                            John Neves                     Baruch College
GNAC                                 Kara McGillicuddy           Mount Ida College
NECC                                 Rob Palardy                    Endicott College
UVC                                   Justin Lutes                     Stevens Institute of Technology
Skyline                              Ann King                          The Sage Colleges
CVC                                   Steve Marovich                Carthage College
NEAC                                 Dan Benz                         SUNY IT


NCAA Sand Sports Information Director Honoree
Dena Meiste       Pepperdine University


NAIA Sports Information Director Honoree
Brian Thiessen                   St. Ambrose 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, web content, college student reporter and social media), 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.


About AVCA
The AVCA, with its headquarters in Lexington, Ky., is managed by Associations International. The mission of the AVCA is to develop the sport of volleyball and its coaches. With a membership of over 6,000 and counting, the AVCA provides a professional network for those individuals and companies dedicated to enhancing and promoting the sport. Members include collegiate, high school, club, youth and Olympic coaches, as well as volleyball club directors. The AVCA provides education to volleyball coaches, recognition of elite players and coaches, promotion of volleyball competitions throughout the world, and networking opportunities for volleyball products and services providers. Further information is available at