The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced today that Mike Safford Jr., longtime College of Idaho Director of Athletic Communications, is the recipient of the 2016 Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award.
The honor is named for the former statistical crew chief for the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship and is given annually to an outstanding NAIA Communications and Sports Information Director. The award, in its 40th year, will be presented to Safford on Divisional Day next June at the College Sports Information Directors Association Convention in Dallas, Texas.
“I am humbled beyond words,” Safford said. “It’s the NAIA SID Hall of Fame. Those who have won the Ike Pearson Award are the men and women who I have looked up to since I got into the profession nearly 20 years ago. To be recognized alongside them is truly amazing.”
Safford graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a degree in print/broadcast journalism in 1998 and has worked for the C of I since 2001. He has radically changed the sports information department at the College by redesigning the athletics website, creating a comprehensive weekly newsletter on all Coyote athletic teams, expanding the reach of live video and audio broadcasts, implementing social media platforms and increasing the visibility of the Yotes’ 19 intercollegiate and multiple club teams in the growing Boise market.
Safford—a four-time Mike Booth Cascade Conference Sports Information Director of the Year award winner—has been involved at the conference and national levels for years. He served four years as chair of the CCC SID’s; served three years as a member of the CoSIDA College Division Management Advisory Committee; and has begun a two-year term as an at-large representative on the NAIA-SIDA Board of Directors. Safford worked as a network broadcaster at the NAIA World Series in Lewiston for seven years; has been a contest coordinator for the NAIA-SIDA Publications Contest since 2007; and has assisted the C of I women’s golf program as a national rater since 2010.
“I often refer to Mike as the “Magician” for his ability to handle so many SID tasks at one time,” said Rob Cashell, CCC Commissioner. “He is a trusted and relied upon veteran in the CCC. His colleagues respect his work and opinions, and they continually look to him for best practices. Mike Safford is a wonderful example of what is right in college athletics administration.”
The native of Puyallup, Wash., has been the voice of the Coyotes since 2001, serving as the radio and online broadcaster of C of I baseball, basketball, volleyball and softball, while hosting the weekly football radio coaches’ show since its inception in 2013. Safford also doubled as the play-by-play voice and baseball information director for the Boise Hawks, an MLB Class-A affiliate, for 10 seasons.
NAIA-SIDA is the professional association for sports information directors within the NAIA. The Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award is the association’s highest honor and recognizes its honoree for accomplishments and services performed over a career. Criteria for nomination include at least five years as a member of the NAIA-SIDA and outstanding service to the profession at the conference and national levels.
The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.