Jonathan Gipson has been named the 2012-2013 Heartland Conference Sports Information Director of the Year. The award was announced during the conference meetings in Dallas earlier this month.
Gipson, the second-longest tenured sports information director in the conference, is in his sixth year as a sports information director at UAFS. He is a 1992 graduate of GHS and a 1995 graduate of Arkansas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Before taking over the sports media responsibilities at UAFS, Gipson was the sports editor for the The Gazette, a former weekly newspaper in Greenwood and a sports writer for the Times Record in Fort Smith. He had made a name for himself covering smaller schools in Arkansas, the local college as well as auto racing and fishing. In 2006, the Arkansas Press Association recognized Gipson with a first place award for his sports coverage of the UAFS men’s basketball championship run.
"The thing I’ve discovered about journalism, and sports information is becoming that way…it is a young man’s game," Gipson said. There were times as a beat writer covering high school sports when he would cover eight games in five cities over four days without making it home. "Now, in sports information, there are stretches from late October until April where there wouldn’t be a day off. Everyday, there would be something work related to do."
When the UAFS athletics program transitioned from NJCAA to NCAA Division II, a sports information director became required and Gipson was asked to apply. In 2008, Gipson became the first sports information director for UAFS. He is in charge of media relations, game day statistics, athletic department publications, website sports content and all official social media for the athletic department, which sponsors 10 NCAA Division II collegiate sports.
"I’ve always believed that you never accomplish anything in life without having had someone help you along the way, and I have been blessed to have had countless people who, for whatever reason, saw something in me that they felt was worth taking a chance on," Gipson said.
"People like former longtime Arkansas Tech sports information director Larry Smith, who gave me a chance to work with him when I was in college. There’s guys like (former UAFS athletic director and current baseball coach) Dale Harpenau, (UAFS women’s basketball coach) Louis Whorton and Dustin Smith, who were instrumental in bringing me to UAFS, and, most importantly, my mom and dad, who sacrificed a lot for me to be able to pursue my career and believed in me and supported me every step of the way."
Along with his fulltime duties at UAFS, Gipson teaches journalism at Greenwood High School. The 2013-2014 school year will be his third at his alma mater as a teacher. He is in the process of developing plans to revive the school newspaper and is the color commentator for the radio broadcasts of the Greenwood Bulldogs’ basketball games.