Holtz earns national communications award


jon holtz

June 22, 2016

NEW ORLEANS - Slippery Rock University director of athletic communication Jon Holtz became the first-ever repeat winner of the national Excellence in Communications Award presented by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association when he was named as the Division II honoree for the 2016 track and field season.

Holtz was also honored by the USTFCCCA as the national award winner for the cross-country season during the fall of 2015.

The Excellence in Communications Award is presented annually in the sports of cross-country and track and field to one individual in each NCAA division that has committed to excellent coverage and support of collegiate track and field. The USTFCCCA National Office selects the award winners. Holtz is joined in winning the award for the 2016 track and field season by Purdue's Matthew Staudt (Division I) and Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Mark Therrien (Division III).

"I want to thank Kyle Terwilliger and the staff at the USTFCCCA for selecting me for this honor for the second time this year," said Holtz. "I know there are a lot of people doing great things for the sports of track and field and cross country, so to be selected twice this year is very humbling. I also want to thank Bill Morgal of Shippensburg for nominating me and for all he does to help lead the way in coverage of these sports in our conference."

The following text was taken from the USTFCCCA announcement:

It's no secret that Jon Holtz excels in his role as the cross-country and track & field contact at Slippery Rock; he was the cross-country honoree for this award this past fall. With so many exceptional candidates from around the nation at the Division II level, to become the award's first repeat honoree required a remarkable effort throughout 2016 -- a standard Holtz easily surpassed.

Holtz was responsible for organizing the PSAC Outdoor Championships' first-ever live video stream, providing all of the equipment, setup and commentary throughout the weekend. Certainly a commendable achievement in itself, the fact the meet was hosted not by Slippery Rock, but rather Mansfield (Holtz's alma mater), makes it even more so. Holtz suggested and took the lead on the project in partnership with the Mansfield sports information department, and the stream ultimately resulted in more than 10,000 views throughout the weekend.

He did all that while covering his own program, which finished runner-up in both genders' team races and produced multiple individual conference champions. That high standard of coverage -- described as "comprehensive, incredibly detailed, and first-class" by former award winner Bill Morgal of Shippensburg -- remained steady throughout the entire season.

At the NCAA Championships in Bradenton, Florida, he demonstrated his skills in photography. Not only did he take photos of Slippery Rock athletes throughout the three-day Championships, but he also took as many photos as possible of as many athletes as possible and shared them with sports information departments around the country for use.