NEW WILMINGTON -- Westminster College recognizes the value of all of its 20 intercollegiate sports, and the importance of creating quality media guides for them.
"We don't believe there are any minor sports at Westminster," said Joe Onderko of New Wilmington, the college's first full-time sports information director since 1995. "Each sport is important here, and from a public relations standpoint we try to treat them that way."
The publications are used to recruit and retain top athletes and as a public relations tool, Onderko said.
"They have been a very successful element in bringing top students to Westminster," he said.
The strategy is paying off not only in recruitment, but also in building a national reputation for publishing professional and comprehensive sports guides.
The concept has brought several national awards.
Won 3 national awards
Recently, the Westminster College Communication Services department won three & quot;Best in the Nation & quot; awards for excellence in athletic publications in Division B/C by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Division B/C covers NCAA Division II and III, all NAIA schools and all junior colleges and universities in the nation.
The winners were the 2001-02 men's & amp; women's swimming media guide -- which took two of the honors -- and the 2001-02 cross country and track & amp; field men's and women's media guide.
The swimming guide was judged "Best in Nation" for content and design and had the "Best Cover in the Nation," while the cross country and track & amp; field media guide won "Best Cover in the Nation."
The awards were presented at the annual 2002 CoSIDA Workshop held June 29-July 3 in Rochester, N.Y.
Trio is honored
Receiving certificates for the honors were Onderko, a graduate of Jamestown (Pa.) High and Robert Morris College (1992); Deborah Parady, a graphic designer from New Castle and Lawrence County Votech; and Pat Broadwater, publications director from Mercer who is originally from Buffalo, N.Y., and an Allegheny College graduate.
Since Onderko joined Westminster after being assistant SID at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond from 1992-95, Westminster has won 12 national awards for media brochures, eight of them from CoSIDA -- including four "Best in Nation" honors.
"We have 20 varsity sports, 10 men and 10 women, at Westminster, and each one is covered by its own brochure in combination [with other sports] by itself," said Onderko. "It's a good way to highlight the strength of each sport and the college."
The publications have two main purposes -- to help with recruiting and to serve as press guides for the media.
"We design them to meet both objectives," Onderko said.
Onderko, Parady and Broadwater are among six individuals who work in the communications department, "but we are the main three that work on athletic publications," Onderko said.
Parady -- who has been with Westminster since 1999 -- designs the covers, including the two that won national honors. Broadwater -- a former sportswriter for the New Castle News -- oversees all of the college's publications and handles editing duties. Onderko is an overall editor, handling writing, internal layout and photo selection.
Previous top cover
Westminster's only other "Best Cover in the Nation" was for swimming in 1997.
"The graphic designer that time was John Schiffhauer of Austintown," recalled Onderko, who also wears another hat as SID of the Presidents' Athletic Conference.
Onderko is entering his second year with the PAC after succeeding Joe Klimchak, Grove City College's former SID, who held the PAC job for 10 years.
Onderko said Westminster is expected to complete its transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division III and PAC membership some time this month.