UNCP athletics earns awards for marketing, communications

LAS VEGAS — It proved to be another banner year for the UNC Pembroke athletics department’s external operations team on Wednesday as the Braves bested out a pair of NCAA Division I finalists for the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) inaugural Unity Award, while also hauling in a sextet of “Best Of” honors from the organization.

The NACMA Unity Award was created to recognize a NACMA team for their efforts in creating a marketing campaign or initiative that is associated with diversity and inclusion. UNCP raked in the honor for its efforts in promoting Never Walk Alone Day in February. That event, which was born from the department’s Never Walk Alone initiative created in Summer 2021, brought together 15 campus student organizations, eight varsity athletics teams, four University departments and two external organizations, to promote diversity and inclusion during a basketball doubleheader at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court.

“Being able to create the Never Walk Alone program and turning it into something that our student body could really get behind and build into the fabric of UNCP made a huge difference on campus,” said Associate Athletics Director of Marketing & Revenue Jack “Bull” Slavin. “(Our team) was able to create an event that tied together 29 organizations, and allowed us to create a truly educational experience while also still honoring our American Indian heritage.”

The external operations team also picked up six more of the organization’s “Best Of” Awards for its marketing and promotion efforts during the 2021-22 athletic season, including three gold medals.

Initiated in 2003, the NACMA “Best Of” Awards program honors outstanding achievements in marketing and promotions. Awards are presented in 16 categories, with each category divided into three groups based upon school size and conference affiliations to promote fairness. The winners were recognized during the 2022 NACMA Convention Awards Ceremony on Wednesday.

UNCP falls into Group III which represents all Division II Institutions, Division III Institutions, NAIA Institutions, Junior College Institutions, Community College Institutions and Canadian Institutions. UNCP, along with Minnesota State Moorhead, Seattle U and Waterloo, all claimed five awards to top that division.

The Braves earned a gold medal under the category of Digital Promotion for its efforts during National Girls and Women in Sports Day, while also picking up top honors for Multi-Platform Branding Campaign (2021 MLK Week Celebration) and Season Ticket Campaign (2021 Football) . The department earned a silver medal for Fan Engagement Video (Headphone Challenge), as well as bronze medals for both Community Engagement & PR (Virtual Education Day) and Virtual or In-Venue Student Promotion (Soccer’s Labor Day Luau).

UNCP’s external operations team has now claimed 25 NACMA “Best Of” Awards over the last five athletic seasons. The staff includes: Lamar Courmon, director of creative services; Morgan Sheehan, director of communications and broadcasting; Zach McKinstry, director of UNCP Sports Network; Jon Gross, former director of UNCP Sports Network (2019-21); Corey Pethers, director of fan engagement; Jen Smith, former director of fan engagement (2019-21); Jack “Bull” Slavin, associate athletics director of marketing and revenue; and Todd Anderson, associate athletics director of strategic initiatives.

Student volunteers include: Randee Addison, Layth Allan, Anna Bass, Tai Beatty, Samantha DeBusk, Isaiah Dunovant, Christian Coleman, Dai-Shon Donald, Ananda Farland, Chase Foster, Tiarra Gordon, Ahmaad Green, Rae Griffin, Jay Guill, Brandon Hodge , Jacob Husson, Katie Johnson, Kirsten Kirschbaum, Marissa Morgan, Chad Norfleet, Kimberlyn Swinson, Getsemani Victoria, Rendi Wetherington, Ja’Quel Williams, Autumn Wright, Sharonda Wyche, Michelle Yitts.

UNCP named CC’s Communications Staff of the Year

UNC Pembroke Associate Athletics Director Todd Anderson and Associate Athletic Communications Director Morgan Sheehan were crowned by their peers as the inaugural Conference Carolinas Athletic Communications Staff of the Year on Thursday morning, the league office announced.

The duo works together to provide athletic communication services to 16 varsity sports on the UNC Pembroke campus. The athletics communications office serves as the intermediary between UNCP’s 16 varsity athletic programs and the local and national media, showcasing the accomplishments of all UNCP student-athletes, coaches and administrators on the field, in the classroom and in the surrounding community.

The Athletic Communications Staff of the Year was voted on by the Athletic Communications Committee in Conference Carolinas.

“Todd and Morgan are incredibly well-deserving of this honor,” said Conference Carolinas Commissioner Chris Colvin. “It may be UNC Pembroke’s first academic year in the conference, but they have fit in seamlessly with our communication professionals. In addition to working tirelessly on their own campus, Todd and Morgan have also volunteered their valuable time at conference and NCAA Championships.

“I would also like to thank all of our Conference Carolinas communicators. Their hard work and efforts behind the scenes truly help us to tell the amazing story that we have on our campuses and overall in Conference Carolinas.”

A multi-sport student-athlete for the Braves from 2013-18, Sheehan is in the midst of her fourth year as a full-time member of UNCP’s athletics administration after previously serving as a student volunteer and intern. A two-time All-Peach Belt Conference honoree in the javelin throw for the track & field squad, the Swansboro native began her collegiate career as a tennis player for the Black & Gold for two seasons. She graduated from UNCP with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2016, and completed her master’s degree in physical education from UNCP in 2018.

Anderson celebrated his 25th year as an athletic communications professional in 2021-22, as well as his 16th season at the helm of UNCP’s athletics communications office after successfully navigating previous stops at Alabama and Mississippi State. A native of Sarasota, Fla., Anderson earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama in 1998 and his master’s degree in physical education from UNC Pembroke in 2013. He currently serves as the national coordinator for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Top 25 and all-America programs, while also taking on duties as an adjunct professor in UNC Pembroke’s Department of Kinesiology.

“Morgan and I can’t thank our peers in Conference Carolinas enough for this honor,” Anderson said. “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with each and every one of them toward the goal of showingcasing our student-athletes’ accomplishments in alignment with the league’s body, mind and soul initiatives. The staff at the league office is amazing as well, and was extremely helpful as we transitioned back to our league roots in 2021-22.

“I am proud of each part of our external operations team at UNCP and all of the things that it is able to accomplish on a daily basis. The athletic communications staff is just a small part of an efficient and extremely effective system that we have been able to build here. I am also overly grateful for the work ethic and creativity of leaders like Director of Creative Services Lamar Courmon and Associate Athletics Director Jack “Bull” Slavin who have both been integral to the success of our mission as well.”

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