Atkinson enters his fourth year as the Sports Information Director at Gallaudet University. He handles the media and public relation duties for all 15 varsity sports at Gallaudet. He also manages Gallaudet's athletic website - www.gallaudetathletics.com - and both the Facebook and Twitter accounts for GU Athletics.
Last year, the Gallaudet Sports Information Office went green and debuted Quick Response (QR) Code Gameday programs to encourage fans to use their mobile devices (phones or tablets) to scan a QR code to get the game program instead of making copies on paper. The move received national attention from the Sports Information industry and was marveled as a great step to go green and use new technology. Under Atkinson’s leadership live video streaming debuted to go with the current live stats feature for home games. The office also did CoverItLive chats with some of the head coaches, give the public an opportunity to interact and talk with Gallaudet’s coaches about their respective teams.
During the 2010-11 season Atkinson orchestrated unprecedented media coverage for Gallaudet athletics. The Bison football team had a miraculous interception video go viral on YouTube, over a million hits in two days, and was featured on the front page of Yahoo.com, Yahoo’s College Football section, it later made ESPN’s Top 10 Plays of the Day (at No. 2 on Thursday, Sept. 30) and later made ESPN College Gameday’s Plays of the Year video for college football shown on New Year’s Day. That was just the beginning for helping to place Gallaudet on the national stage. The Bison women’s basketball team started the season 20-0 and garnered national media coverage of its own as the Bison were covered by the Associated Press, Washington Post, Parade Magazine, Sports Illustrated, National Public Radio, ABC News, CBS Evening News, ESPN College Gameday, Inside Higher Education, D3hoops.com, Comcast Sportsnet, NBC 4 and Fox 5. The team went onto the NCAA tournament for the first-time in a decade. Later in the Spring, the baseball team was profiled in ESPN The Magazine and This Week in Baseball.
In his first year he made an immediate impact on the national and regional exposure for Gallaudet athletics as the Bison were featured on the front cover of USA Today, the Washington Post, ESPN.com along with numerous hometown newspapers across the country. Gallaudet was also featured on Comcast Sportsnet a regional cable television sports network. Atkinson also met President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden as Gallaudet student-athletes and coaches were invited to the White House, Title IV special announcement and Coach Curtis Pride's appointment to the President's Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
Atkinson arrived at Gallaudet on July 6, 2009, from Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) foe Salisbury University where he served in the same position for three years. While at Salisbury, Atkinson covered and promoted Salisbury's 21 varsity sports who captured 28 CAC championships in three years. He promoted SU's two-time defending NCAA Division III men's lacrosse national champions (2007, '08) along with two women's lacrosse national finalist teams ('07, '09) and a national semifinalist field hockey team ('07). During his tenure at SU he covered 394 All-CAC honorees, 69 All-Americans and 38 All-Atlantic Central Football Conference selections. He also had the pleasure to promote Salisbury women's lacrosse standout Sue Ackermann who was named a finalist for the 2008 NCAA Woman of the Year award. Salisbury captured three consecutive CAC All-Sports Awards and won the first two CAC Men's and Women's Commissioner Awards. Atkinson hosted nearly 50 NCAA tournament games in three years as SU served as a regional host seven times in five different sports. In 2009, SU hosted baseball, softball and women's lacrosse regionals (30 games) in 10 days. The Sea Gull softball team advanced to the NCAA Softball Championship round and women's lacrosse advanced to the title game. Atkinson has also had the pleasure to cover two ECAC Bowl Championship football teams in three seasons. One of Atkinson's biggest accomplishments at SU was redesigning the athletic web site as he worked with PrestoSports to debut www.suseagulls.com in January 2008. He also used PrestoSports' Live Stats applications to run in-game statistics for hundreds of home SU games in two seasons.
Atkinson earned several national awards while at Salisbury University including the 2009 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Grant Burger Media Award as the top Sports Information Director the Mid-Atlantic Region for Division III. In 2008, he was named the PrestoSports Sixth Man Award honoree which recognizes a client who made significant contributions to the product or company. He has also been recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) in the annual publications contests where he received first-place honors for the best cover in the Division C Postseason Guides category in 2008-09. The year before he took home first-place accolades in the Division B-C, District 2, Spring Sports Poster category. In 2007, the Phoenix, Md., native was named the Inside Lacrosse Division III Women's Lacrosse Media Service Award recipient.
Atkinson is also involved on the national level with CoSIDA where he serves as the chair of the Goodwill and Wellness Committee for a fifth year in a row. Under his leadership he has orchestrated three national service projects for CoSIDA in San Antonio (2009), in San Francisco (2010) with the St. Anthony Foundation and in St. Louis (2012) with the St. Patrick Center. In 2011, he helped to organize CoSIDA's first-ever 5K run/walk at Marco Island, Fla. where nearly 100 people participated and over $1,600 and hundreds of clothing items were donated for St. Matthew's House in Naples, Fla. The 5K run/walk returned in 2012 in St. Louis where over $1,000 was raised thanks to 100 plus runners who participated in the run/walk under the Gateway Arch.
Atkinson earned a B.A. in communication arts from Salisbury University in 2000. He is currently a graduate student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where is part of the School of Continuing Studies. Atkinson is working on his Master's of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management.
Atkinson served as the assignment manager at WBOC-TV out of college before moving to Baltimore to work at Inside Lacrosse magazine as its web content manager for www.insidelacrosse.com. Atkinson went back to television in 2003 where he served as head sports producer for Sinclair Broadcast Group, a national news organization based in Cockeysville, Md. He later returned to the lacrosse world and served as the web content manager at US Lacrosse, the national governing body of lacrosse, for www.uslacrosse.org and www.laxmagazine.com. Over the years he has been a freelance sports writer for The Baltimore Sun and The Salisbury Daily Times. Atkinson served a semester internship with CNN in Atlanta the fall of '99. He is also a proud Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America as he worked three summers at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M.
Atkinson and his wife Emily have two daughters (Clare, Molly) and reside in Ellicott City, Md.
Atkinson In The News
- 10/04/11 Can QR codes help eliminate paper event programs (CoSIDA.com)
- 07/29/11 CoSIDA convention participants run for a reason (NCAA News)
- 07/21/11 CoSIDA Goodwill Committee organizes first 5k run/walk and another highly-successful donation drive (to benefit St. Matthew's House) at CoSIDA Convention (CoSIDA.com)
- 07/06/11 St. Matthew's House is recipient of funds raised by national CoSIDA convention 5K run (Bonita Springs (Fla.) Chamber of Commerce)
- 06/07/11 SIDs to get fit at CoSIDA convention (NCAA News)
- 05/31/11 CoSIDA Convention 5K Run/Walk announced for June 26; Goodwill Committee organizing the run along with a donation drive for local St. Matthew's House charity
- 10/04/10 Social Media and SID Power: Gallaudet interception play grabs national attention (CoSIDA.com)
- 09/30/10 How the Gallaudet tipped interception went viral (Washington Post)
- 08/31/10 Conventions use social responsibility to engage attendees (Connect Magazine)
- 07/22/10 Gallaudet Sports Information Director organizes national service project for CoSIDA
- 07/19/10 Goodwill Comm. orchestrates service project, donation drive to benefit the St. Anthony Foundation (CoSIDA.com)
- 06/22/10 CoSIDA gears up to visit St. Anthony's (St. Anthony Foundation blog)
- 06/21/10 CoSIDA Cares: Goodwill Comm. announces service project, donation drive in San Francisco (CoSIDA.com)
- 06/26/09 Atkinson earns AVCA Grant Burger Media Award (Salisbury Univ. PR)
- 06/10/09 Gallaudet University announces new Sports Information Director
- 05/12/09 CoSIDA plans outreach at convention (NCAA News)
- 05/06/09 CoSIDA Goodwill Committee announces Service Project in San Antonio (CoSIDA.com)
- 06/06/08 Atkinson garners Presto Sports Sixth Man Award (SUSeaGulls.com)