|Title:||Associate Athletic Director for Communications|
|Previous College:||Salisbury '00|
|Master's Degree:||Georgetown '13|
|Year at Gallaudet:||9th|
Atkinson enters his ninth year at Gallaudet University, the world's only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students, during the 2017-18 school year.
In April 2017, he was promoted to Associate Athletic Director for Communications after four years as Assistant Athletic Director for Communications.
Atkinson has led the charge of placing Gallaudet Athletics on the map thanks to expanded national and international media coverage of Bison sports since he arrived. His media savviness has helped to land Bison athletics on the front cover of national newspapers, magazines to being featured on network television and local media outlets including top sport websites online.
He handles the media and public relation duties for all 14 varsity sports at Gallaudet and oversees the game management and operations for Bison athletics. He also manages Gallaudet's athletic website - www.gallaudetathletics.com - and all of the GU athletics' social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Google+ and online video through YouTube, BoxCast, UStream.
Atkinson is a leader and expert on social media where he has helped Gallaudet leap to No. 1 in social media at the Division III level according to www.d3socialmedia.com. Gallaudet has been ranked No. 1 for the past three years (2014-17). Several national coaches associations have honored Atkinson for his outstanding media relations and social media skills for promoting Gallaudet Athletics over the years.
Under Atkinson, Gallaudet has increased its College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America awards fivefold from two to 11.
Atkinson took Gallaudet’s athletic media relations to a new level in the fall of 2013 when the Bison football team started the season 9-0 and won its first Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) championship. The Bison football team went onto the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. In the process, there were over 60 national stories written, broadcasted or posted online about the Bison football team in one month. Gallaudet was featured on CBS Evening News, ESPN and its blocked field goal returned for a touchdown was one of ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays to name a few highlights. The media blitz included 60 stories, 16,000 words written, an hour and a half of video broadcasted locally and national on TV, 30 minutes of radio coverage locally and nationally and over a million dollars worth of free publicity for the University. He helped to land Adham Talaat on the Gagliardi Finalist list, awarded to the top Division III football player, and helped his NFL prospects during the spring of 2014.
In June 2013, he was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for Communications after serving as Sports Information Director for the previous four years.
In 2011-12, 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, to 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, 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 IX special announcement and Coach Curtis Pride's appointment to the President's Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
Atkinson is also heavily involved on the national level with College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Atkinson was appointed to the CoSIDA Board of Directors in June 2015 for a three-year term. After two years on the board he was elected as CoSIDA's Third Vice President in June 2017. He will become the organization's President in 2020-21 becoming only the second Division III member to become President in the 60-year history of CoSIDA.
During Atkinson’s time on the CoSIDA Board he has contributed by serving on the CoSIDA Appreciation Week Committee, CoSIDA Diversity and Inclusion Committee Working Group, CoSIDA’s Academic All-America Hall of Fame Selection Committee, CoSIDA Academic All-America voter, served as the board liaison with the Goodwill and Wellness Committee and has served as a mentor to other SIDs. Atkinson has been a panelist and moderator several times at the CoSIDA Convention. For three years he served on the NCAA Division III Day Planning Committee (2014-17).
Atkinson was the chair of the CoSIDA Goodwill and Wellness Committee for eight years and still is an active member on that committee. Atkinson and his committee members established and orchestrated six national community service projects in San Antonio (2009) with the San Antonio Food Bank, in San Francisco (2010) with the St. Anthony Foundation, in St. Louis (2012) with the St. Patrick Center, and in Orlando (2013, ’14, ’15) with the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.
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 to 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. The 2013 5K run/walk was held at Hawks Landing Golf Course on the property of the Orlando World Center Marriott as over $1,000 was raised to benefit the Coalition for the Homeless. The race returned to Hawks Landing Golf Course in 2014 and merged with National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and Affiliates as ninety runners helped to raise $1,100 for Coalition for the Homeless. A record 153 participants helped to raise $1,565 for the Coalition for the Homeless in 2015.
Atkinson along with members of the Goodwill and Wellness Committee debuted the Volunteer15 program in the summer of 2014. The new program was designed to promote more philanthropy among CoSIDA members and to recognize the great volunteer work Sports Information Directors (SIDs) perform in their own communities and campuses.
In 2014, Atkinson was presented the Bob Kenworthy Community Service Award by CoSIDA.
In July 2016, Atkinson was named to the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball National Committee and is in the midst of a four-year term.
Atkinson earned his master's degree in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University in 2013 and his B.A. in communication arts from Salisbury University in 2000.
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 that 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 (2007, '09) and a national semifinalist field hockey team (2007). 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. CoSIDA has also recognized him in its 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 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 1999. 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).
ATKINSON IN THE NEWS
- 06/21/17 Gallaudet Sports Information Office earns Northeast Region AVCA Grant Burger Media Award
- 06/13/17 Gallaudet's Sam Atkinson elected as CoSIDA's Third Vice President
- 06/13/17 CoSIDA approves Officers and new Board Members for 2017-18 (CoSIDA.com)
- 03/18/17 Gallaudet students get into March Madness spirit volunteering at Big Ten Tournament
- 11/11/16 CoSIDA Recognition Week shines spotlight on Sports Information Offices
- 07/21/16 Gallaudet Assistant AD Sam Atkinson appointed to NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Committee
- 06/08/16 Gallaudet's Sam Atkinson featured in CoSIDA360 magazine, will serve as panelist at CoSIDA Convention
- 06/07/16 Gallaudet University Athletic Social Media still ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division III
- 06/01/16 Atkinson Increasing Gallaudet's Athletic Profile is A Sign of the Times (PDF)
- 12/15/15 Gallaudet's Sam Atkinson selected for USTFCCCA Excellence in Communications Award
- 07/06/15 Gallaudet's Sam Atkinson elected to CoSIDA Board of Directors
- 06/18/15 Atkinson leads Goodwill and Wellness charge at 2015 CoSIDA Convention
- 05/29/15 AVCA names Gallaudet's Sam Atkinson a finalist for 2014-15 Grant Burger Media Award
- 05/24/15 Gallaudet University Athletic Social Media ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division III
- 05/27/14 Gallaudet's Sam Atkinson named CoSIDA's 2014 Bob Kenworthy Community Service Award recipient
- 05/22/14 Special Awards Salute: Sam Atkinson (Gallaudet), Kenworthy Award (CoSIDA.com)
- 12/09/13 Sports Industry Management Students Orchestrate National Media Blitz for Gallaudet University Football Team (Georgetown.edu)
- 07/31/13 Gallaudet Sports Information Director helps colleagues get fit and philanthropic during CoSIDA Convention
- 07/17/13 CoSIDA Goodwill and Wellness Committee coordinates three events to benefit Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida at CoSIDA Convention (CoSIDA.com)
- 04/03/13 2013 CoSIDA Convention Goodwill and Wellness events planned (CoSIDA.com)
- 08/16/12 CoSIDA Goodwill and Wellness Committee exceeds expectations with three events to benefit St. Patrick Center (CoSIDA.com)
- 05/10/12 CoSIDA Convention Goodwill and Wellness events planned: 5K fun run/walk at St. Louis Arch, community service project with St. Patrick Center (CoSIDA.com)
- 02/01/12 CoSIDA Corner: Together we can make a difference (NACDA's Athletics Administration magazine)
- 10/04/11 Can QR codes help eliminate paper event programs (CoSIDA.com)
- 08/01/11 Gallaudet Sports Information Director Sam Atkinson organizes 5k run/walk at CoSIDA convention, helps to raise $1,600 for St. Matthew's House
- 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 (CoSIDA.com)
- 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)