June 11, 2014
NEW YORK – BIG EAST Associate Commissioner John Paquette received the Bill Esposito Backbone Award Wednesday during a luncheon at the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando.
The award is presented to a CoSIDA member displaying sound judgment and unusual courage in taking a stand in intercollegiate athletics contrary to public opinion and sentiment, or who displays sound judgment and unusual courage in guiding their institution through difficult public relations situations. The honor’s namesake is Bill Esposito, who served as sports information director at St. John’s from 1961-1984.
“It’s a tremendous honor for me to be recognized by my peers and named to the Bill Esposito Award,” Paquette said. “It’s extra special because I knew and worked with Bill early in my career. He was a mentor to me.”
Paquette joined the BIG EAST in 1990 as Mike Tranghese's first hire as commissioner, coming to the conference office after serving four years at league member Seton Hall. He was the men's basketball media relations contact when the Pirates made their Final Four run under head coach P.J. Carlesimo in 1989. He became an unwavering voice for the league through its phases and transitions, culminating with his joining current BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman and Senior Associate Commissioner Joseph D’Antonio as the early hires during the conference’s restructuring in 2013.
Paquette was previously honored by CoSIDA in 2007 with the Arch Ward Award for meritorious service in college sports media relations, recognition also bestowed upon Esposito in 1984. Other honors during his career include the Katha Quinn Award from the United States Basketball Writers Association for outstanding media service in 2009 and the 2013 Distinguished Service Award from the New York Metropolitan Basketball Writers.
CoSIDA formed in 1957 and has served as the main professional organization for sports information specialists in college athletics ever since. In addition to providing professional development and advancement opportunities for its members, CoSIDA administers the Academic All-America awards, of which the Capital One Financial Corporation is the presenting sponsor.