WASHINGTON - Gallaudet University Associate Athletic Director for Communications Sam Atkinson was elevated to First Vice President of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) during the annual convention held here from June 9-12 at the Orlando World Center Marriott.
CoSIDA was founded in 1957 and is a 3,100+ 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 will be the CoSIDA Board liaison to the Google Cloud Academic All-America® Hall of Fame Committee during the 2019-20 school year. Last year, as CoSIDA's second vice president he served as the chair of the 2019 CoSIDA Convention Programming Committee as over 70 educational sessions were held during the four-day conference.
Atkinson has served on the CoSIDA Board of Directors since 2015 when he was first elected to a three-year term as a College Division at-large representative. He served two years in that capacity before being elected into the officers rotation in June 2017.
Atkinson has served as a speaker and moderator for several different panels over the years at the CoSIDA Convention. This past convention in Orlando he helped to moderate several sessions of the SIDEARM Sports Leadership Forum presented by Learfield IMG College and Wednesday's featured presentation "Mind of the Athletic Administrator - Clearer Mind, Better Performance" with Dr. Jarrod Spencer.
Atkinson is entering his 11th 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 11 CoSIDA Academic All-America® awards in the past seven years, to increase Gallaudet's overall total sixfold.
He is the first in Gallaudet history to serve on the CoSIDA board and be elected for the officers rotation.
Atkinson 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. He will be followed by the sixth College Division representative to become president as Cindy Potter, Columbia (Mo.) College Associate Director of Athletics/Media Relations and Compliance, becomes the first from the NAIA ranks to become CoSIDA President.
Atkinson is part of CoSIDA's most diverse officer group in the 60+ year history of the organization. The 2019-20 CoSIDA President Herb Vincent, Associate Commissioner for Communications at the Southeastern Conference, is only the second Hispanic to serve as President of CoSIDA. Vincent is following Rob Knox, Athletic Media Relations Associate Director at Towson University, and only the second African-American to serve as President of CoSIDA. Jessica Poole, Senior Associate Athletics Director/External Relations at Florida Atlantic University, was elected as Third Vice President and will become the first female African-American to serve as President of CoSIDA. Potter and Poole will be the fifth and sixth women in CoSIDA history who will serve in the officer’s rotation to the president’s role, and they will be the first back-to-back female presidents in the organization's history.
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 fifth year as a record 6,357 volunteer hours were logged by SIDs nationwide during the 2017-18 school year and a new record is about to be set by the June 30th deadline for the 2018-19 school year.
In addition to his CoSIDA duties, Atkinson completed the third of four years on the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball National Committee, where he served as the chair and spokesperson for the committee and helped to lead, coordinate and oversee many aspects of the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The Phoenix, Md., native received his bachelor's degree in Communication Arts from Salisbury University 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 3,100+ 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. CoSIDA is 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.