Wallace Dooley, Jr., whose introduction to the sports information field was as an undergraduate at Tennessee State, retired in 2011 after over 25 years in the profession. He and several other individuals leaving the field will be honored with the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Lifetime Achievement Award during the group's annual workshop this summer in St. Louis.
Dooley's career began and ended at his alma mater. His interest in sports information was piqued when, as an undergraduate at Tennessee State, he assisted the intramural director with compiling statistics for football and basketball games. Eight years later in 1978, and after working as a part-time sportswriter at The Tennessean -- Nashville's a.m. newspaper -- and as an assistant in the sports information office at then-Memphis State University, he was named the first full-time sports information director at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville. (Previously, the school's PR Director served in a dual role).
In 2006, after holding positions in sports information/media relations at several schools and two conference offices during a 28-year odyssey, Dooley completed a full circle when he returned to his alma mater on being named associate athletic director for media relations at Tennessee State. He retired this past October.
"As a founder of BCSIDA (Black College Sports Information Directors Association), Wallace has truly been a lifetime achiever," said Eric Moore, Executive Director of BCSIDA. "His personal accomplishments pale in comparison to the mentoring he has done over the years. He has left a long legacy and we are happy that he is being recognized by CoSIDA."
Dooley attended his first CoSIDA workshop in Chicago in 1979. He won 11 CoSIDA publications awards during his career and, last year, received the CoSIDA 25-Year Award. And, he counts this year's Lifetime Achievement recognition as one of his most cherished of his career.
"It is truly an honor to receive this (Lifetime Achievement) award from my CoSIDA peers," Dooley said. "All too often, the behind-the-scenes work of sports information professionals is overlooked or taken for granted, but I have always maintained that if you do your job and do it in a professional manner, the 'people who need to notice will notice.'"
Dooley's many years in the profession included tenures as SID at the University of District of Columbia (1981-1984), Virginia State (1984-88) and North Carolina Central (1988-92) as well as his time at Alabama A&M. He served the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1992-96) as PR Director, Tennessee State (1997-1998) as a part-time assistant, and the Southwestern Athletic Conference as assistant commissioner for media relations before returning to Tennessee State.
Along the way, he had an opportunity to promote some great teams and athletes, picking up honors and accolades for his work in the process.
While volunteering at Tennessee State in 1970, the Tiger football team finished 11-0 and the men's basketball squad went 24-3. From 1970 through 1975, TSU's football team was 55-8 with two undefeated season and the Tiger cage teams were 111-32 and participated in March Madness four times. And, during Dooley's second tenure at TSU, the Tiger basketball team won back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference football titles in 1997-98), including an undefeated regular season, and during his current tenure, TSU women's track teams have won three OVC titles.
At Alabama A&M, the soccer team won two Division II titles in three years; while at Virginia State, he was named SID of the Year in the CIAA twice and promoted several conference All-Americans. At UDC, he had an opportunity to promote Earl Jones, the Division II Player of the Year; during his tenure at NC Central, the Eagles won the NCAA Division II Basketball Championship (1989). While at the SWAC office, a football championship game was instituted in the league.
There have been other proud moments as well. In 1982, Dooley joined several other SIDs from HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) to partner with the National Association for Women's Sports (NAWS) in recognizing female student-athletes as All-Americans. In 1984 at the CoSIDA workshop in St. Louis, he teamed with 11 other SIDs to form the Black College Sports Information Directors Association (BCSIDA). In 1996, he was a Venue Press Chief (Media Transportation Mall) at the Atlanta Olympics.
"Over many intervening years (35 plus), I worked to improve the exposure of student-athletes and programs at HBCUs," said Dooley. "It has also been my pleasure to see the improved opportunities afforded individuals in athletic media relations. Through the camaraderie and competitive spirit of this profession, I have forged a great many lifelong friendships over the years with members of CoSIDA and BCSIDA."
Dooley has worked with and trained a number of students who earned their niche in the profession, including Monique Morgan Smith (Associate Commissioner, CIAA), Tonya Walker (Associate AD, Winston-Salem State), Greg Goings (Bowie State SID and President of CoSIDA's Division II-SIDA group), William Bright (Stillman College SID), Marques Wilkins (University of Houston Communications Asst.), Zena Lewis (University of Michigan assistant) and Zekeya Anderson (Tennessee State assistant).
Dooley will still retain some connection to the field as he notes that his future plans include working with electronic media (radio/internet) to continue support of HBCU student-athletes and programs entities such as BoxtoRow and HSRN Radio.
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