(Courtesy of ECAC-SIDA Website)
CENTERVILLE, Mass.--Ernie Larossa, Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations and Marketing at Johns Hopkins University, and Chris O’Donnell, Director of Athletics Media Relations at UMass Lowell, are the recipients of the 2012 Irving T. Marsh Awards for the College and University divisions, respectively. That announcement was made by the Eastern College Athletic Conference-Sports Information Directors' Association (ECAC-SIDA).
The Irving T. Marsh Awards are given annually to a University (Division I or II) and College Division (Division III, NAIA) or Junior College ECAC-Sports Information Directors Association member who, in the opinion of the ECAC-SIDA membership and Executive Board, has exhibited excellence in the field of sports information. The awards are presented annually at the spring workshop. First presented in 1966, the awards are named after Irving T. Marsh, the ECAC Service Bureau founder and director until his retirement in 1973.
After honoring one person from 1966 through 1990, the Marsh Award was expanded to its present format in 1991.
Ernie Larossa is in his 15th year at the helm of the Athletic Communications office at Johns Hopkins University, an ECAC member. He came to Hopkins in September 1997 after three years at Shepherd College, and two years later was promoted to Assistant Director of Athletics/Media Relations, Marketing and Operations. Eighteen months later, Larossa added the title of Associate Director of Athletics/Media Relations and Marketing.
Larossa serves as the media relations contact for football, wrestling and men’s lacrosse, is a member of the Department of Athletics Administrative team, and coordinates all marketing and sponsorship initiatives for the department. He served as the main contact through the execution of the national television agreement between Johns Hopkins and ESPNU, which provides JHU with the nation’s only national television agreement for men’s lacrosse.
During Larossa’s tenure, the Athletic Communications office has grown from one full-time staffer and one intern to two full-time staffers and two interns. Last spring, he orchestrated a marketing and sponsorship plan to pay for the installation of an integrated video scoreboard at Homewood Field.
Larossa and his staff hosted the 2007 ECAC-SIDA Workshop in Baltimore while simultaneously serving on the Executive Committee of Lax4Baltimore, the local organizing committee for the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship. To complicate matters, Hopkins would go on to win the NCAA Championship just one week prior to the workshop.
Larossa has served on the Executive Committee of Lax4Baltimore in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2011. He also served as the Tournament Director for the 2001 NCAA Division I and III Women’s Lacrosse Final Four as well as the 2000, 2002 and 2005 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Quarterfinals. In addition, Hopkins has hosted numerous NCAA, ECAC and Centennial Conference Championship events during his 15-year tenure.
A 1991 graduate of Elizabethtown College, Larossa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with concentrations in public relations and mass communications. He interned in the University of Delaware sports information office after graduating while also serving as the Public Relations Director of the Yankee Conference (now the CAA).
Larossa left Delaware in March 1992 to become the Sports Information Director at Drew University, where he spent two years.
Larossa and his wife, Kim, reside in Perry Hall, MD, with their children Katelyn (15), Haley (13) and Ryan (9).
A native of Clifton Park, N.Y., Chris O’Donnell is in his 13th year as the Director of Athletics Media Relations at UMass Lowell and in his 19th year overall in the field.
O’Donnell came to UMass Lowell in the fall of 1999, following four years at Franklin Pierce University (1995-99), one year at RIT (1994-95), and one year as a volunteer at Siena College (1993-94). Previously, he spent two years as a sportswriter at The Saratogian.
O’Donnell and his staff of three – assistants Sean Hladick, Bob Ellis and Trebor Dooley – oversee the media relations for UMass Lowell’s 16 Division II sports and Division I ice hockey team. The University has served as host institution for the NCAA Field Hockey Championship (2003-04, 2007), the NCAA Men’s Basketball East Regional (2003-04), the NCAA Baseball East Regional (2000-03), and nine NCAA East Region men’s and women’s cross country championships.
Additionally, UMass Lowell has hosted Northeast-10 Conference Championships in field hockey, men’s soccer, volleyball, softball, and men’s and women’s cross country.
In 2010, O’Donnell received third place in the CoSIDA Fred Stabley Writing Contest for his feature, “A Huge Fog”, profiling a UMass Lowell women’s soccer player and her four-year struggle with Lyme Disease.
During his time in the media relations field, O’Donnell has successfully pitched features to The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, New York Times, and National Public Radio, while six athletes and coaches have been placed in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd.
Prior to arriving at UMass Lowell, O’Donnell served as the Sports Information Director at Northeast-10 rival Franklin Pierce University, where he oversaw the Ravens’ 20 men’s and women’s varsity programs. Franklin Pierce hosted the 1995 NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Championship, as well as the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) men’s basketball tournament in 1996 and the women’s tournament in 1999.
O’Donnell served as an assistant at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) for one year under J. Roger Dykes after starting his career as a volunteer at Siena College for Chris Caporale.
Several of O’Donnell’s former assistants and student workers have succeeded in the field, including Doug Monson (Stonehill College), Jorge Rocha (Providence College), Dan Fisher (newly appointed commissioner of the Landmark Conference), Sarah Ralls (C.W. Post), and Laura Reed (University of Maine).
During his career, O’Donnell has served as a contributing writer for both The Sun of Lowell, MA, and the Keene Sentinel in Keene, N.H. During summers, he remains a contributor to The Daily News in Newburyport, Mass., writing features and covering the local road racing circuit.
A 1991 graduate of Oneonta State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in speech communication, O’Donnell and his wife, Carrie, along with their sons Christopher (10) and Brady (8), reside in Newburyport, Mass.