Many sports information professionals toil in small shops and receive little recognition for their contributions. A. John Pearson may have worked with small schools during his 49-year career, but he has not gone unrecognized.
In June, Pearson will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the College Sports Information Director’s Association (CoSIDA) during the annual CoSIDA convention to be held at Marco Island, Fla.
Pearson had the good fortune to come to Bethany College in 1970, after eight years as the director of public relations and alumni affairs at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Ill. At Bethany, he took over as the director of college relations, which included sports information duties, and performed that job for the next 34 years (1992). He was SID for Bethany from 1992 until retiring in 2004, while concurrently serving as the Director of Sports Information for the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) from 1975 to his retirement this summer.
Along the way, he made many friends, impressed many sports media professionals and moved the sports information profession along. Just listen to what Jon Daniels, the Athletic Director at Bethany College and a past-president Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, says about Pearson:
“John was sports information when it was in its infancy and there were no rules, guidebooks or people to follow. He just did what he thought was necessary and those things he 'invented' many years ago are now very much a part of the sports information environment and the established way of doing things. He certainly was a pioneer in our part of the country and many have talked with him, picked his brain and tried to emulate his ideas and processes. He has carried the conference and Bethany College to heights that would not have been reached if he had not taken the necessary steps to begin sports information.”
When you read about Pearson, several words keep coming up such as great integrity, resourcefulness and dedication, a passionate and persistent advocate, a pioneer. In 2007, those attributes led to recognition by his peers with the NAIA-Sports Information Directors Association’s Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award. The award is the association’s highest honor and recognizes its honoree for accomplishments and service performed over a career.