The awards were established in 2010 as a way to recognize the media members who provide publicity for the Conference, its member institutions and intercollegiate athletics, perform their jobs in a fair, consistent and accurate manner, provide all-around coverage for a variety of sports and demonstrate the ability to go above and beyond their normal beat or job description.
“The OVC has a lot of great stories to tell and we are fortunate to have an outstanding group of media covering our schools, which was evident in the great candidates we had for the awards this year,” said Kyle Schwartz, OVC Assistant Commissioner for Media Relations. “It is great to have an award that recognizes media members who have made significant contributions in covering the OVC and its member institutions.”
Parris has covered the OVC since Jacksonville State became a member of the league in 2003. Overall he called his first JSU contest in 1983 and the 2012 football season will mark his 30th year of serving as the lead announcer of Jacksonville State sports. He handles all the play-by-play duties of the Jacksonville State radio broadcasts, as well as host “Inside Gamecocks Athletics,” a weekly television program that spotlights Jacksonville State Athletics.
Over his 29-plus years of broadcasting, Parris has called some of the most historic and memorable games in Jacksonville State athletics history. He has called four Jacksonville State national title games – football (1992), basketball (1985) and baseball (1990, 1991), plus other noteworthy contests.
Most recently, his call of Jacksonville State's 49-48 double overtime road win at Ole Miss in the 2010 football season opener was broadcast all over the country, and was featured as the lead-in to ESPN's SportsCenter and was also featured on ESPN's College Game Day.
In addition to being the “Voice of the Gamecocks” Parris serves as the Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Broadcasting at Jacksonville State University.
“I'm very humbled, honored and surprised,” said Parris. “It is always nice to be recognized by your peers, especially in a league that has so many talented members of the media. Our sports information staff here - Greg (Seitz), Josh (Underwood) and Tony (Schmidt) - make my job easy, as do the sports information staffs at every other school in the conference. Our coaches are very accommodating and a pleasure to work with. I'm fortunate to be able to do something that I love to do, especially at a place that I hold so close to my heart. This a great honor.”
“Mike does a tremendous job on our radio network and is very deserving of this honor,” said Greg Seitz, Senior Associate AD/Sports Information Director at Jax State. “He is always very professional and has had the ability to pick just the right words to describe some of the Gamecocks' most historic and memorable games over the last 30 years.”
Larry Schmidt, who worked at each the All-State, the Leaf-Chronicle and the Paducah Sun, was bestowed the OVC Media Lifetime Achievement Award given to a media member who formerly covered the OVC.