In 1983, Edward (Ed) Hill Jr. gave up a career as a sportswriter to become the assistant sports information director at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Two years later, he was elevated to the top position. Good move for Hill. Great move for College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and the profession!
Hill received the 2014 CoSIDA Mary Jo Haverbeck Trailblazer Award during the group's Special Awards Luncheon today in Orlando, Fla. The award is given annually to a member of the group who is a pioneer in the field of sports information who has mentored and helped improve the level of ethnic and gender diversity within the organization.
"It is truly a great honor to be recognized with the Trailblazer Award," Hill said. "I feel that it is especially noteworthy that I am being honored during the same time that the award is being named for a true 'trailblazer' in the profession, Mary Jo Haverbeck (former associate SID at Penn State and the first recipient of the award).
"As with an award of this magnitude, there are so many people who are responsible for this honor. I just happen to be the recipient. This goes to all the individuals who mentored and advised me over the years and all the outstanding young people who I have had the privilege of working with. I am deeply humbled."
During his long tenure at Howard – which has spanned nearly 30 years -- Hill has mentored numerous students who have gone on to careers in sports information, media relations, broadcasting and related fields. A big credit to Hill is that many of them have been women. Hill's influence can be seen throughout the country – at ESPN, on network television, in sports information and media relations offices, in NFL front offices and elsewhere.
"Mr. Hill has been a supporter of, and advocate for, my development both professionally and personally," said Chevonne Mansfield, Director of Media Relations at the American Athletic Conference. "He has a genuine interest in helping people and he didn't just go out of his way for me. Ed Hill has been devoted to mentoring minority students interested in working in sports communications for what seems like forever. It's only now as a part of his network that I can see how many minority students he's trained for careers in sports.
"His reputation for extensively training and mentoring professionals is a well-regarded stamp of approval, one I'm proud to have earned. He finds ways to encourage and reward people and entrusts them with responsibilities that build up acumen and confidence."
In addition to Mansfield, Hill can count on his 'mentoring tree,' Teri Washington, Director of Communications and Marketing for DC Events and formerly of the NBA and Denver Broncos; Romanda Noble-Watson, SID at Claflin (SC) and a former assistant at Howard and South Carolina State; Kevin Paige, assistant SID at Morgan State and a former assistant at Coppin State; Bruce Speight, Senior Director of Media Relations for the New York Jets; Jim Trotter, ESPN and formerly of Sports Illustrated.com; Elena Bergeron, ESPN The Magazine; and Gus Johnson, Fox Sports, formerly of CBS Sports, and others.
"Ed has been an integral part my professional advancement from the time I was a student," Noble-Watson said. "As his first-ever assistant at Howard University, he helped me develop into a more prolific writer while encouraging me to get more involved in the organizations of the profession such as CoSIDA and BCSIDA. I owe the many advancements in my career to Ed as he instilled in me the confidence that I could stand on my own."