WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – On Thursday, April 13th in Griffin 3 on the campus of Williams College the Eph Sports Information Department handed out two unique awards in all of college athletics – The Frank Deford Award and the Aaron Pinsky Student Broadcasting Award.
In addition to the above awards two Outstanding Achievement awards were handed out for continued excellence after previously receiving the Deford or Pinsky award.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Only once before has Eph Sports Information seen fit to honor a previously honored student who has won the Deford Award or the Pinsky Award with an Outstanding Achievement Award. This year Eph Sports Information made history by presenting two Outstanding Achievement Awards.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Senior – Justin Edwards – Linwood, N.J.
Winner of the 2015 Aaron Pinsky Award
As a first year at our meeting for students interested in working Sports Information, (which by the way is held at 6:30 AM on the first day of classes) it was mentioned that anyone interested in doing field hockey color commentary would be hired on the spot.
Edwards walked up and told Eph Sports information Director Dick Quinn that he did not know field hockey, but he was convinced that he could learn, as four members of the Eph field hockey team lived in his entry.
Last year Edwards studied at the University of London where – wait for it – he hosted a weekly sports talk show. So, if you need to catch up on cricket and rugby Justin is your guy.
On Saturday Edwards will make Eph Sports Information history again when he does color commentary on the Dick Farley Track Meet. He will become the first Eph student to do color commentary on all 18 sports that are webcast at Williams.
"What makes Justin so good at color commentary is his preparation, his respect for the competition, the Ephs, and the visiting team," noted Quinn.
Edwards is going to take a gap year after graduation and then likely head back to England to study and work in the emerging field of Human-Computer Interaction.
Senior Scott Shelton – Hixson, Tenn.
Winner of the 2016 Frank Deford Award
In four years of covering Williams women's soccer Shelton made two trips to the NCAA Final Four in Kansas City.
Shelton implemented a Twitter feed for in-game coverage of women's soccer that required him to promise to Tweet the good with the bad and gain the permission of head coach Michelyne Pinard. Not only did that Twitter feed serve as an almost instant in-game update, but that is how Scott cleverly took the notes he needed to write his game stories.
Shelton has also covered both men's and women's tennis in the same year. The last two years he focused just on men's tennis, this year he is back covering women's tennis.
This winter Shelton served on our men's & women's ice hockey stats crews for a second year.
In February the NESCAC hired Shelton to do the Public Address at the Men's Swimming & Diving Championships at Wesleyan because he did such a fantastic job the year before when the Ephs hosted and won the 2016 championships.
After graduation Shelton will be an associate at Parthenon-EY, a management/consulting firm, in Boston.
|Outstanding Achievement Awards (l to r): Scott Shelton,
Will Kuntz, and Justin Edwards
AARON PINSKY AWARD
Aaron Pinsky was a tremendous basketball broadcaster for Eph Sports Information as well as being a top student, JA, and musician. Everything Aaron did he did with great joy and passion.
Aaron contracted an incurable form of brain cancer after leaving the Purple Valley. Two of his Eph friends, Mike Needham and Zach Ullman, asked that an award be created to honor Aaron's many contributions. Most importantly they wanted to be able to tell Aaron so he would know he would not be forgotten at Williams.
Aaron has not been forgotten.
Senior – Grant Raffel – Palo Alto, California
Raffel has served as a color commentator for three years on men's & women's ice hockey and he also did some women's basketball color commentary.
Every NSN announcer that Raffel worked with this year has raved about his energy, his knowledge, and his preparation for the sporting event taking place in front of him.
One NSN announcer, Michael Noonan noted, "Grant Raffel exemplifies and exceeds all standards expected of a Williams College student. His color commentary skills are outstanding and they are supported by his in-depth research of the competing teams. While an Eph, through and through, Grant always presents an informative, unbiased view of the action."
NSN's John Lawrence added: "Being a member of the Eph golf team, you knew that athletics was a big part of Grant's life. But that doesn't always translate into a good analyst. Right from the start though, Grant had a calm, conversational style that really translates well with the people watching. You can tell he takes it seriously too. He was always well prepared for games with lots of good talking points about the athletes. He also has good timing with the play-by-play person. He always knew exactly when to jump in and wasn't afraid to do so."
Raffel worked for Sports Information during our winter seasons, as he is a captain of the Eph golf team in the fall and spring and helped the Ephs win the 2016 NESCAC Fall Qualifier. He hopes to lead the Ephs to the NCAA Tournament this spring.
|Pinsky Award (l to r): Rachel Pinsky, Will Kuntz, Grant
Raffel, Peggy Pinsky & Lincoln Pinsky
Senior – Hannah Atkinson – Toronto, Ontario
For four years Atkinson has been involved with the in-game men's and women's ice hockey stats crews and for three years she wrote game stories for both the men's and women's ice hockey teams.
Atkinson's knowledge of the game of ice hockey is evident in both her analysis of in-game stats and her ability to relay the game story in a concise and informative manner.
Atkinson is a four-year member of the Ephs' women's tennis team and is a key member of the Eph lineup that will be out to win the NESCAC and NCAA titles this spring.
Atkinson plans to return to Toronto and apply to law schools in Canada.
Senior -- Jackson Myers – Nashville, TN
Myers has covered football, men's basketball, some women's basketball, and baseball as a writer. His first Eph football game story was written with his parents and Dick Quinn looking over his shoulder. That must have been helpful!
This fall Myers also took on the role of defensive analyst on Willinet's longest running and most popular show – The Williams College Football Show hosted by Kris Dufour.
This fall Myers is headed to the University of Virginia School of Law where he intends to pursue the JD/MA in Legal and Constitutional History. That means he hopes to earn both a law degree and a Master's in history in three years!
Senior -- Anna Spellman – Morristown, NJ
For three years Spellman has been an indispensable member of the Eph Sports Information office staff, where she has updated the Eph Sports Info site, submitted info to the NCAA and made a zillion game programs as well as compiling in-game men's & women's ice hockey and softball stats.
Unlike most college students, Saturday and Sunday mornings did exist for Spellman and she could often be found in the office creating needed game programs for tournaments hosted by the Ephs.
Spellman became so proficient in her duties that she could turn a 10-item to-do list into a 40-minute exercise that was thought would take her a couple of hours.
In the fall Spellman is headed to Wall Street to work for JP Morgan as a Private Banking Analyst, but don't be surprised to read one day that she has joined a major sports network or maybe even purchased one.
Will Kuntz '06 spoke on "Why This Matters More Than Ever." Kuntz began his career in sports with the New York Yankees working with General Manager Brian Cashman's staff during the summers of his undergraduate days at Williams. He ended his time with the Bronx Bombers as the Head of Pro Scouting in 2014.
In the spring of 2014 Will joined the home office of Major League Soccer in New York City to serve as the Director of Player Relations.
This spring Kuntz left the MLS Front Office to become the Vice President of Soccer Operations and Assistant General Manager for the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). LAFC will play in the MLS in 2018.
He will be in charge of the team's scouting and analytics as well as negotiating contracts and managing the salary budget.
Interesting to note that the LFAC ownership team includes NBA legend Magic Johnson, Will Ferrell, Mia Hamm, Nomar Garciaparra among others and Will's former Eph hoops teammate Tucker Kain '05.
Tucker Kain is the Chief Operating Officer for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Managing Director of Guggenheim Baseball Management.
During the three years that Kuntz and Kain were teammates the Ephs played in the 2003 and 2004 NCAA Championship games, winning the 2003 title.
From 2003 through 2005 when Kuntz and Kain were teammates Williams compiled a record of 77-12 (.865). Kuntz and Kain were members of the Eph teams that set the NCAA DIII record for home wins – 64.
Kuntz noted that the way popular culture and news is consumed now that sports may just be the last arena where facts truly matter.