ORLANDO, Fla. - Gallaudet University Associate Athletic Director for Communications Sam Atkinson was elected as Third Vice President of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) during the annual convention held here from June 11-14.
CoSIDA was founded in 1957 and is a 3,000+ member national organization comprised of the sports public relations, media relations and communications/information professionals throughout all levels of collegiate athletics in the United States and Canada.
Atkinson, who has served on the CoSIDA Board of Directors for the past two years, will become only the fifth College Division representative (Division II, III, NAIA, CIS) to become president of CoSIDA in the 60-plus year history of the organization. In 2020-21, Atkinson will join Union (N.Y.) College's Eric McDowell (2014-15) and Luther College's Warren Berg (1963-64) as the lone CoSIDA Presidents to hail from a Division III program.
"There is no greater reward than to serve and to give back. CoSIDA has meant so much to me during my sports information career that I can not think of a higher honor than to serve in its officer rotation," said Atkinson. "I am humbled by this selection and I look forward to working with CoSIDA's excellent staff and board of directors to help be champions of change as we advocate for the sports information profession in collegiate athletics."
Atkinson spent eight years as the CoSIDA Goodwill and Wellness Committee chair (2007-15) where he organized efforts to improve Sports Information Directors' (SIDs) health and lifestyles along with fostering community service activity. During his tenure as Goodwill and Wellness chair he planned and executed six community service projects and five 5K fun run/walks during CoSIDA’s annual convention. The last two 5Ks were held in conjunction with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and Affiliates. His efforts led to $6,330 being raised, 1,700 items collected and donated to local charities and over 425 hours of community service performed. For his efforts Atkinson received the 2014 Bob Kenworthy Award, presented annually to a CoSIDA member for civic involvement and accomplishments outside of the sports information office.
His lasting impression on the committee and organization was the launch of the CoSIDA Volunteer 15 program in 2014-15. The program is designed to help promote the great efforts and success CoSIDA members have in volunteering in their communities. To qualify, CoSIDA members had to volunteer at least 15 hours during the school year. The program is in its third year as nearly 4,000 volunteer hours have been logged by SIDs nationwide during the 2016-17 school year.
During the past two years, Atkinson has served as the CoSIDA Goodwill and Wellness Committee liaison to the CoSIDA Board of Directors. The annual 5K and community service project have continued and reached new record highs for participants (244 runners) and money raised for charity (over $9,000) this past convention. He also served on the College Division Management Advisory Committee (CDMAC) the past two years and was recently selected to the CoSIDA Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. In addition, he is a member of the CoSIDA Recognition Week committee formed to show appreciation for athletic communicators and SIDs during a week in the fall semester. Atkinson has served as a speaker and moderator for several different panels over the years at the CoSIDA Convention. He served three years on the NCAA Division III Day Planning Committee that contributed to the programming for the CoSIDA Convention.
Atkinson is entering his ninth year at Gallaudet, the world's only university with programs and services specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students, where he promotes all 14 varsity sports and handles marketing and game operation oversight for the athletics department. His office also maintains www.gallaudetathletics.com and the top ranked social media platforms in Division III. In addition, Atkinson has helped the athletics department secure nine CoSIDA Academic All-America awards in the past six years, to increase Gallaudet's overall total fivefold.
He is the first in Gallaudet history to serve on the CoSIDA board and be elected for the officers rotation.
In addition to his CoSIDA duties, Atkinson completed the first of four years on the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball National Committee, where he helped to coordinate and oversee many aspects of the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship.
The Phoenix, Md., native received his bachelor's degree in Communication Arts from Salisbury in 2000 and his master's degree in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University in 2013.
CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) was founded in 1957 and is a 3,000+ member national organization comprised of the sports public relations, media relations and communications/information professionals throughout all levels of collegiate athletics in the United States and Canada. The 2016-17 academic year is the 60th year of the organization, making it the second oldest management association in all of intercollegiate athletics. CoSIDA became an affiliated partner with NACDA in December of 2008. Learn more about CoSIDA here: www.cosida.com.