ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Oliver Pierce, in his 23rd
year as assistant athletics director and sports information director
for Gonzaga University, has been named winner of the U.S. Basketball
Writers Association's Katha Quinn Award for outstanding service
to the media.
The USBWA award is named in memory of former St. John's sports
information director Katha Quinn, who passed away from cancer in
1989. Pierce will be honored at the USBWA's annual awards breakfast
on April 4 during this year's NCAA Men's Final Four in Houston.
"Oliver has garnered a solid reputation with the media through
the years," said USBWA Executive Director Joe Mitch. "He has been
there from the beginning in Gonzaga's rise from a respected regional
program to one with a consistent national presence. We are pleased
to be able to recognize him for all that he has done to help writers
cover the Bulldogs."
Gonzaga's growth into a major national program in men's basketball
has led directly to expanded media interest, regular national television
appearances and dramatically increased demands upon Pierce and the
Gonzaga sports information office.
In addition to handling media relations during Gonzaga's current
run of 12 straight NCAA men's basketball tournament appearances,
Pierce directed the media campaign that led to Adam Morrison sharing
the USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy with Duke's J.J. Redick as
national player of the year in 2006.
"As the faces of coach Mark Few and several of the premier players
become known to fans across the country, the national media had
its trust in Oliver," said Jim O'Connell, former UBSWA president
and veteran national college basketball writer for the Associated
"There's no reason why professional service to the media can't
be accompanied by a smile, and Oliver managed that while always
wearing his light blue Gonzaga shirt."
A native of Spokane, Pierce served as an assistant SID at his
alma mater Washington State from 1977-85. He was also a sportswriter
for the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash., and a sports editor
for the Idahonian/Daily News in Moscow, Idaho, before joining the
Bulldogs in 1989.
"This award will always have a special place in my heart," said
Pierce. "It exemplifies what sports information is all about. It's
honoring an SID for what an SID is supposed to do."
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in
1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers.
With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential
organizations in college basketball. For more information on the
USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch
• Katha Quinn Award