New Orleans, La. (June 18) - MIT Director of DAPER Communications, Promotions and Marketing Ken Johnson, Jr. has been selected as the recipient of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) Excellence in Communications Award for NCAA Division III track and field.
At MIT, Johnson oversees all communications, promotions and marketing operations for DAPER, including the Institute's 33 intercollegiate athletic programs that constitute the largest athletic program in NCAA Division III. In addition to his athletic communications duties and responsibilities, Johnson is involved in a number of special events including the annual MIT Golf Outing, along with other sponsorship and fundraising opportunities within the department. He is a member of the DAPER senior staff, the MIT Info Group which features communications leaders from across campus and is a member of the DAPER Advisory Board.
"Thank you to Halston Taylor for nominating me for this USTFCCCA award and for his enthusiasm about what we do," said Johnson. "Halston, Derek Rousseau and all the coaches and student-athletes are great to work with and that's what makes the track and field and cross country programs at MIT so awesome to be around. I'm very proud of what we do as a communications department as we are afforded the opportunity to publicize some of the best and the brightest student-athletes in the world."
With Johnson winning this year's award, he became the fourth communications professional from the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) since 2014 to take home the honor. Previously, Temi Bajulaiye of Babson (2018), Mark Therrien of WPI (2016) and Shawn Medeiros of Wheaton (2014) have earned the USTFCCCA Excellence in Communication Award for Division III cross country and track and field. Nationally this year, Wes Offerman of North Dakota State took home the Division I award, while Tim Flynn of the Colorado School of Mines won the Division II honor.
When it comes to cross country and track and field, Johnson handles all website and media coverage as well as social media coverage all four programs at MIT. This year alone, Johnson had the opportunity to promote 23 NCAA All-Americans, four NEWMAC team champions, three NCAA Elite 90 Award winners, a pair of individual NCAA champions, eight Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-District selections, a men's outdoor track and field program that finished as the national runner-up at the NCAA championship and a women's cross country program that finished in third place at the NCAA championship.
When asked about what Johnson has done for the MIT cross country and track and field programs, Program Director and Head Coach Halston Taylor said, "His coverage has led to a lot of people within the Institute congratulating us. His use of the website and social media feeds greatly enhanced our reach throughout the school – beyond students and department staff. His support of our program has enhanced our recruiting, which has greatly affected the success of our program."
Johnson also saw 62 of his student-athletes earn NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honors, 50 of his student-athletes earn NEWMAC All-Conference accolades and seven of his student-athletes take home major awards from the league in 2018-19. Additionally, Taylor was named NEWMAC Coach of the Year three times and USTFCCCA Regional Coach of the Year twice. One of the biggest accomplishments for Johnson and the entire communications staff was creating a live stream for the New England Division III Indoor Track & Field Championship, which was hosted by MIT. He secured two cameras operators, an announcer and equal coverage of both the track and field events from start to finish. People took notice as there were nearly 2000 unique hits on the coverage of the two-day meet.