MUNCIE, Ind. - - Ball State associate athletics director for media and alumni relations Joe Hernandez has been named a recipient of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) 25-Year Award.
The 25-Year Award is presented to active CoSIDA members who have completed at least 25 years in the profession. This year, a total of 17 sports information directors will be honored with the 25-Year Award at the CoSIDA Annual Convention which runs June 8-11 in Orlando, Fla.
Each 2014 CoSIDA Special Awards recipient was recognized with a feature story on CoSIDA.com. Below is a copy of the article written about Hernandez.
|L to R: Hernandez on the football field; with Mira (Coleman) Zimmerman of the NCAA (former Ball State student); with Ball State dance coach Michelle Bowyer Duggan at a tailgate; conducting a press conference.|
The general college sports fan does not see the person at the field four hours before and three hours after the season-opening football game, working to make sure it all goes off smoothly.
He does not see the person coaching the team's latest star on what to say when asked about a big win over a rival school or a tough loss in the championship game.
He does not see the person who spent countless hours in meetings, on the phone and exchanging emails so the latest hall of fame induction ceremony goes off without a hitch.
No, the general college sports fan may not know the man who has spent the last 30 years working in the Ball State University Athletics Media Relations office, but there is no denying the positive impact Joe Hernandez has had on the profession, the student-athletes who have attended Ball State, and those who have had the privilege of working with him.
"Joe Hernandez is one of less than a handful of mentors in my life," said Chris Taylor, the Director of Digital Sports Productions at Ball State. "He hired me as a senior in high school to work in his office during my first year at Ball State. Little did I know then that it would change my life forever and ignite my passion for sports media.
"Joe gave me my first job in 1992 and I have worked in sports in some form ever since. I learned what dedication and loyalty mean from him. Joe encouraged creativity, risks and being better than the competition. The way he built his staff, the culture within his staff and the office environment is still very much with me as I now direct a program of my own. His impact on the profession, and namely at Ball State, is felt by many."
A native of Indianapolis, Hernandez started his collegiate sports information journey on the other side, serving as a sports reporter for Ball State's student paper, the Daily News. After receiving his bachelor's degree in journalism from Ball State in 1984, Hernandez was named a graduate assistant in the sports information department under the direction of Earl Yestingsmeier.
Two years later, on July 1, 1986, Hernandez was officially named assistant sports information director for his alma mater. After exactly four years in the assistant role, he became just the second sports information director in school history, a position which he still holds today.
"I have known Joe Hernandez since he was a graduate student working in sports information at Ball State," said Andrea Seger, former director of athletics at Ball State. "He was the first individual to work in what was then the women's athletic program and we were grateful for his time and efforts with that program. Over the years, the quality of Joe's work allowed him to continue to move forward in his profession and continue to assume more and more responsibility until he reached his current position at Ball State.
"He runs the program in a way in which all of the teams at Ball State are not only treated equally, but feel they are treated equally. Joe was also of great assistance to me personally, as we got to the point where he could write out a statement for me that captured exactly what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. Joe has been a great asset to the university, and his loyalty to Ball State is evident in all he does."
In addition to serving as Ball State's sports information director, Hernandez's role in the department has continued to grow over the years. He was promoted to assistant athletics director in 1999 and to associate athletics director in 2002. Having worked with all of Ball State's athletic teams at some point over his career, Hernandez is a perfect fit for his current role within the department, as the associate athletics director for media and alumni relations.
Having been Ball State's football contact for most of his career, Hernandez is easily recognizable among the program's alumni and has made perhaps his biggest impact in their lives. He has worked with a majority of Ball State's professional players and plays a large role in keeping not only them, but all football alumni, connected with the program.
"I can't say enough about Joe, personally or professionally," said Brady Hoke, head football coach at Michigan and a 1982 graduate of Ball State. "We've known each other for over 30 years, and I have a great appreciation for him and his service to our alma mater. I know those sentiments are shared by the university, the athletic department and all the coaches and student-athletes that have been involved with Joe for the past 30 years. He is the ultimate professional and truly deserving of being recognized for his contributions."
Hernandez's story could be wrapped up with his accomplishments at Ball State. However, he has made perhaps an even greater impact on the College Sports Information Directors of America. He has served numerous roles within CoSIDA, including his tenure as president of the organization in 2005-06. Hernandez is seen as both a friend and mentor by many within the profession, and is always willing to help out when and where he can.
"I have known Joe Hernandez since 1984 when he was a graduate assistant at Ball State and I was an assistant SID at Miami University," said Kent Cherrington, sports information director at Plymouth State University. "We worked together in the Mid-American Conference for eight years and have remained friends and colleagues ever since.
"What stands out to me most about Joe is his professionalism and integrity and his dedication and commitment to Ball State University, its student-athletes, staff and coaches. College athletics has undergone so many changes in the past three decades, and Joe has remained incredibly loyal over the years to all things Ball State. He has also been extremely supportive of CoSIDA, including his tenure in the presidential rotation.
"Joe has been an outstanding leader in the sports information and athletic communications profession, and he is highly respected by his peers as well as athletics administrators at all levels. While Joe and I work in different NCAA Divisions, he is still a mentor to whom I greatly look up. He is someone from whom I still learn every year, and he has always shown a great deal of respect for the Division II and III SIDs. Joe is truly one of the best in the intercollegiate athletics communications business and is a tremendous asset to Ball State University."
So, while the general college sports fan is in the stands cheering on his favorite team, it is people like Joe Hernandez who will work tirelessly behind the scenes. Content not with the spotlight, but with the knowledge of the positive impact he has made on the lives of the student-athletes and colleagues with whom he has worked with over the years.