BOONE — For the second straight year, App State Athletics’ strategic communications department has received a Super 11 award from the Football Writers Association of America.
The Super 11 awards are given each year to 11 sports information departments deemed as the best in the NCAA’s 130-team Football Bowl Subdivision. App State was recognized for the first time last year and is the only Group of Five program among the 11 honorees this year.
App State’s strategic communications department in 2020 included Senior Associate Athletics Director Joey Jones (primary football contact and department leader), Bret Strelow (secondary football contact), Chase Colliton, Andrew Korba, Bree Williams, Shane Harvell and Jay Crain (director of creative services).
Austin Bartolomei-Hill and Kyle Brodt provided valuable work from the sports production team, while Director of Football Video Operations George Claiborne leads a unit with several talented student videographers. Grant Sustar, who is in charge of graphic design for the football program, collaborates with Crain on football graphics.
“We have a dedicated communications team that works every day to enhance the App State brand and build good relationships with the media who cover the Mountaineers,” Jones said. “This recognition is a credit to our culture of accessibility and helpfulness to media — even with the challenges of the pandemic — that would not be possible without the leadership of Doug Gillin and Shawn Clark. It’s nice to be recognized among such prestigious peers in our profession.”
In addition to App State, the other FBS departments being recognized for their work during the 2020 football season are Boston College, Clemson, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas State, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, Penn State and West Virginia.
“This was a different kind of year, obviously,” FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson said. “We tried to honor schools who went the extra mile in player and coach access remotely in most cases or to help writers in a scrambled season.”
The FWAA formed the first Super 11 Committee in January 2009. The concept is supported by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), many of whom are members of the FWAA.
Super 11 winners are deemed by FWAA observers to have had good accessibility during the week of a game and after the game — with a program’s players, coaches and assistant coaches. FWAA members who covered college football during the 2020 season provided input, and the FWAA’s Press Operations Survey of writers also was beneficial.