Author – Matt Higgins, MIAC Assistant to the Executive Director
Throughout his distinguished career as the sports information director at Gustavus Adolphus College, Tim Kennedy always honored his colleagues in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) through his selflessness, leadership, dedication and friendship. Recently, the MIAC SIDs unanimously voted to return the favor by awarding Kennedy with the 2011-12 Mike Augustin Award based on his professional excellence and years of service and commitment to both Gustavus and the MIAC.
The award, named in memory of the late Mike Augustin, a longtime sportswriter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, is presented annually to recognize outstanding contributions to MIAC athletic programs and student-athletes in the areas of media, communications and sports information. The honor was first awarded in 1999. Recipients are nominated and chosen each year by the conference SIDs and, in 2011-12, the group collectively voted to honor Kennedy and his illustrious career after he transitioned into another leadership role on the Gustavus campus.
“It is a tremendous honor to be selected to receive the Mike Augustin Award from my peers,” Kennedy said. “This award carries special meaning for me because Mike Augustin was a good friend to me personally and a tremendous supporter and promoter of Division III athletics. I am humbled to have my name listed along with the distinguished group of individuals who have been selected to receive this award including Jon Roe, Mike Morrissey, Jerry Pyle, Dave Wright, Larry Knutson, Gregg Wong, and Donny Nadeau.”
The MIAC announced Kennedy’s honor Thursday, Feb. 23, and will formally honor Kennedy with a plaque and a short awards ceremony Friday in St. Peter. The ceremony will fittingly take place at halftime of the 2012 MIAC Men’s Basketball Playoff semifinal game between second-seeded Gustavus and fifth-seeded Saint John’s. The game tips off on the Gusties’ home floor at 7:30 p.m.
Nadeau, the 2010-11 recipient of the honor and the sports information director at Saint Mary’s University, welcomed Kennedy to the exclusive club and talked about not only about Kennedy’s strengths as a colleague, but also as a friend.
“You are not going to find a more caring, compassionate, hard-working individual than ‘TK,'” Nadeau said. “Tim was the first SID I met when I took over at Saint Mary’s, and the bond of friendship we formed over the years is one that I truly cherish.”
Following the 2010-11 academic year, Kennedy accepted a promotion to become the Gusties’ new Vice President for Marketing and Communication, as the college recognized the skills and talents he utilized to promote Gustavus athletics would be invaluable to the campus as a whole. Kennedy’s new position is one of many he has held at the college in his 28 years of employment, including admission counselor, residential life security, head resident, head women’s basketball coach and head women’s soccer coach, however, his most prominent work came as the Gusties’ sports information director throughout a long and prosperous tenure.
“In his years as SID at Gustavus, [Kennedy] set the standard for excellence in small-college sports information. He has earned the respect and admiration of many in collegiate athletics,” said Don Stoner, sports information director at Augsburg College. “I treasure my friendship with ‘TK,’ and I look forward to seeing how the next phase of his career progresses, as he moves from sports information to his new role in Gustavus’ administration. Tim has been a role model for many of us in the sports information field, and his career has truly been deserving of this award.”
Kennedy’s promotion of and devotion to Gustavus athletics and its student-athletes, coaches, administrators, alumni and fans has always been first-rate, and he is revered for his innovation and dedication. Whether he was embarking on a new way to incorporate ever-changing technology, serving on a committee, hosting a big event or pitching ideas to the media, Kennedy’s professional excellence has always been undeniable. He has truly given his all – and then some – to Gustavus athletics and anyone he has come in contact with along the way.
“Tim Kennedy’s long and successful career in Sports Information at Gustavus has also had a profound impact on the development of the sports information profession in the MIAC,” said Gustavus Athletic Director Al Molde. “Tim has been a visionary leader among his peers, and always on the cutting edge of technological advances in the profession. He has always been ready and willing to help others whenever he can. I can’t think of a more deserving winner of the Mike Augustin Award.”
Even today, Kennedy is an active member of CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) and a longtime district coordinator for the association’s Academic All-America Program. He hosted five Division III National Championship events at Gustavus during his career and he was heavily involved in media coordination at NCAA Championships at the Division I level as well. Kennedy has also been a tremendous mentor to numerous student workers and graduate assistants, and his network of protégés extends throughout professional and collegiate media relations and sports information, including the Minnesota Twins, Wild and Vikings.
“Whether Gustavus was hosting an NCAA or conference event, putting out team publications, nominating student-athletes, pitching story ideas to outside media, or building its athletics website, you could see Tim’s attention to detail and professionalism,” said Gene McGivern, sports information director at the University of St. Thomas. ” Among his legacies will be the number of student workers and graduate assistants he trained, including several still working in the profession today, and his tireless work on the CoSIDA Academic All-America committee.
“Regardless if you were a beginner in your job or a veteran, you knew that Gustavus’ SID office under Tim’s watch would provide you a blueprint of ideas and a high standard to chase.”
By constantly going above and beyond, the Augustin award is just the latest honor in Kennedy’s distinguished career. In 2011, he received the CoSIDA Bob Kenworthy Community Service Award for his civic involvement at Gustavus and in St. Peter, Minn., and his personal accomplishments outside the sports information office. Specifically, the honor cited Kennedy’s dedication to the Gusties and his involvement with Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Peter Public Schools and St. Peter youth sports. He was honored at the CoSIDA Convention Awards Luncheon in June, 2010 in San Francisco, Calif. He also received Gustavus’ Eric Norelius Award in 2000 for contributions to the college outside his normal duties.
“In a world that often has too many takers, Tim Kennedy is a giver, and we are all fortunate for that,” McGivern said.
“I have been blessed to have been associated with my beloved Gustavus and all of the other fine institutions that make up the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the past 30 years,” said Kennedy. “The student-athletes, sports information directors and administrators that I have worked with have been an inspiration to me and I am grateful for their passion for intercollegiate athletics and their friendship.”
Kennedy is the 10th recipient of the Mike Augustin Award, which began in 1999-2000. He is the third SID to receive the honor, along with Nadeau and Jerry Pyle (Concordia, 2002-03). The other seven honorees were media members, broadcasters or announcers.
The Mike Augustin Award was first awarded in 1999. Augustin, the award’s namesake, was an articulate friend, follower and advocate of the MIAC. He respected Division III institutions, student-athletes and coaches. He died after a sudden illness in December of 1997.
Kennedy lives in St. Peter with his wife, Mary, and their daughters, Margaret and Lydia.