UH Mānoa Athletics Wins National Content Innovation Award
Creating innovative content across multiple platforms has earned the University of Hawaii to national recognition from the Mānoa Athletics Department. uh Mānoa is one of two recipients of the 2021–22 CoAIDS (College Sports Information Directors of America) ChangeMaker Innovation Awardcreated to “recognize the forward-thinkers who bring new ideas to life” through special content, branding, messaging, new storytelling, social media initiatives and more.
uh Mānoa’s winning entry was titled “Operation Greg Luzinski” (Oppo Grego) and submitted by the Deputy Director of Media Relations Eric Mathews. The goal was to elevate social media content and engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to continue telling the stories of uh Mānoa and student-athletes showcase the beauty of the islands. The title of the project was developed from an inside joke that Mathews looked like former Major League Baseball player Greg Luzinski.
The department launched several successful campaigns, including “Coming Home”, a series featuring the Clarence CT Ching Athletics Complex, the current stadium of uh Mānoa Football, the completion of which was expedited after Aloha Stadium closed in December 2020. He also presented the weekly program ‘Rainbow Roundup’, featuring highlights of the week in uh sports. Other projects called “My Story” and “BowsStories” showcased the struggles of student-athletes overcoming obstacles to perform in college athletics. The student-athletes were also featured in on-campus photo shoots to show off their personality, style, and campus beauty.
Four former student contributors to sports communications staff with interests in social media, broadcasting and journalism landed their first jobs outside of school through their work with the “Oppo Grego” project. Project leaders include Mathews; Trevor Camellomultimedia specialist; Derek Inouchi, Director of Media Relations; and Troy Yamamotodirector of digital media.
“I’m proud of the work our athletics team has done to improve our presence and reach on our digital platforms,” uh Mānoa Sports Director David Mattin said. “Our student-athletes work extremely hard in their respective sports and many have very interesting and inspiring stories to make it to the Division One collegiate level. It’s great to see their stories told through our innovative and emerging platforms, and I can’t wait to see what our communications team has planned for the future.
uh Mānoa Athletics has been consistently ranked in the nation’s top 50 for social media engagement since July 2021 by Skullsparks and recently achieved its highest ever ranking of Nope. 12 in May 2022. Skullsparks partners with college sports brands across the country on digital strategy and promotes digital/video employment opportunities while working with the National Network of Sports Creatives.
“CoSIDA represents a profession that embodies creativity and collaboration. The ChangeMaker Award recognizes and honors those CoAIDS members who have opened the door to ingenuity, resourcefulness and originality in their work,” CoAIDS said executive director Doug Vance. “We congratulate Utah Valley and the University of Hawaii sports communications staff and their colleagues this year as they rolled out creative and meaningful content, which captured the attention of many.