Ron Smith Receives Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award

Submitted by: Kaci Mexico - September 16th, 2016


Ron Smith

Ron Smith

By Kaci Mexico
September 16, 2016

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced that Westmont’s Ron Smith is the recipient of the 2016 Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award. This honor is named for the former statistical crew chief for the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship and is given annually to honor an outstanding NAIA Sports Information Director and their significant contributions to the profession. This lifetime achievement award is the highest honor given by the NAIA-SIDA (a professional association for sports information directors within the NAIA).

“I feel very honored,” said Smith. “This is a very significant award and I know many of the people that have received it and I have a lot of respect for all of them. So, to be included among them is very honoring and humbling.”

“I really appreciate the fact that within the NAIA there has been a growing appreciation or the profession of sports information and what it is able to accomplish,” continued Smith. “We are not just story writers, we are not just stat keepers, we are people that are pursuing strategically the ability to communicate important messages about our institutions. The NAIA has come to recognize that increasingly and I am thankful for that recognition.”

Smith, a 1979 graduate of Pepperdine University with a degree in Religious Studies, began his 12-year journey as the Sports Information Director for the Warriors in July of 2004.

During his tenure at Westmont, Smith redesigned the Westmont Athletics Website, created athlete profiles and statistical databases, established a strong working relationship with local and regional media that has resulted in one front page article in the Los Angeles Times (Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013) and one front page article in the Los Angeles Times sports section (Tuesday November 18, 2008), helped foster regular coverage in the Santa Barbara News-Press and on KEYT television, an ABC affiliate, and maintained Westmont Athletics social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.

“In my 38 years of sports writing, I have never met a more professional, caring, thorough, and responsible person in the communications industry,” said lead sports columnist for the Santa Barbara News-Press, Mark Patton.

Additionally, Smith began and continues to develop the entirely student-run Westmont Sports Network (WSN) that provides video broadcasts of Westmont’s home contests.

“From the very beginning we wanted it to be a student endeavor,” explained Smith. “My role was to be the equipper and mentor, but when it came to broadcast day to allow the students to take over and to be the ones on the air, and running the equipment and putting this little production together.”

Last year, WSN broadcast 99 events, averaging 300 unique IP addresses per event. WSN also provided more than 231 hours of programming to TV Santa Barbara, which rebroadcast each program four times on community access television in the Santa Barbara County. The impressive result is that during the 2015-16 broadcast season, WSN was the largest provider of community access television in Santa Barbara.

“We are in 48,000 households in Santa Barbara,” continued Smith. “To extend the reach of Westmont and the message of Westmont into those homes is a great thing.”

On the conference level, Smith, who was named the GSAC SID of the year in 2015, has been a major asset to the Golden State Athletic Conference.

“Without hesitation, Ron offers his time and talents to endeavors beyond his responsibilities to Westmont College,” explained GSAC SID Sheri Pine. “He designed an updated version of the original conference website and created an all-encompassing awards database. As a group of SIDs, he is the person we lean on when issues arise. His wisdom, knowledge, and humility are appreciated and respected by all who work with him.”

Smith has been heavily involved at the national level throughout his career. He has been a presenter at three NAIA Conventions (2011, 2012, and 2014), at two CoSIDA Conventions (2012, 2013), and at two NAIA-SIDA Conventions (2007, 2012). He has served on numerous NAIA Player of the Week committees, participates in the CoSIDA Academic All-American Committee, was an at-large member of the NAIA-SIDA Board of Directors (2009-2011 and 2012-2015), and chairman of the NAIA-SIDA Branding Committee (2010-2012).

Additionally, Smith has assisted with media coordination at the 2014 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship, served as media coordinator and NAIA host supervisor at the 2004 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship, served as media coordinator at the 2016 NAIA Baseball Opening Round, and was the NAIA site supervisor and media coordinator at the following NAIA Championship Opening Round events: 2012, 2013 Volleyball Championships; 2013, 2014 and 2015 Women’s Soccer Championships; 2008 Men’s Soccer Championship.

Smith has also won numerous NAIA-SIDA writing and publication awards including the Dr. Jack W. Bell Writing Contest. He has also won the CoSIDA Fred S. Stabley Sr. Writing Contest for District 8.

Smith is passionate about sharing the message of Westmont, and more specifically the role athletics plays in cultivating each student-athlete.

“Westmont is not just concerned with the students’ performance on the field; they are concerned about the development of the entire student: their athletics, their academics, their social development, their leadership development, and especially their spiritual development. Athletics becomes just a form in which all of that can take place.

“Our coaches are devoted to that, our department is devoted to that, and it is a great joy to be part of that,” continued Smith. “Sometimes that is done very directly through communication, sometimes that is done more interpersonally through conversations, and that is always done by conducting the business of the sports information office in a way that maintains the priorities of putting God first and of wanting to develop the entire student during their pursuit of athletic excellence.”

“Ron is so much more than an SID,” reflected Westmont Athletic Director Dave Odell. “He is a mentor, counselor and in many ways a pastor to our coaches and athletes. His mission goes well beyond the award winning website, the highly acclaimed broadcasts and the well managed games; those are simply the vocation that he happens to leverage to minister to and support the young men and women on our campus.”