HBCU Sports

Howard’s Ed Hill helped change the sports media game for so many

Because of his work, he’s now in the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — There are few people in collegiate sports whose reputations transcend their respective institutions. Duke has Mike Krzyzewski. The University of Alabama has Bear Bryant. Ohio State has Woody Hayes.

At Howard University, that person was Ed Hill.

A career spanning more than three decades culminated in Hill’s recent induction into the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony, which took place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center during CoSIDA’s annual convention, honored sports information directors from across the country who’ve made significant contributions to the field as a whole.

Hill became only the fifth sports information director from a historically black college or university (HBCU) to be recognized and the first African-American since 2014. The gravity of the moment was not lost upon the Washington, D.C., native, as his record-setting guest list included more than 50 names.

It’s no secret that HBCUs have made a career of doing more with less. Hill was no exception.

Check the athletic department directory of any Power 5 Conference school and you’ll find at least five people handling media relations. For nearly a decade, however, Hill was a one-man army. But what the athletic department lacked in personnel, Hill made up for in personality.

“If [the media] was covering Howard against a major Big Ten school or Southeastern Conference school,” said Hill, “I’d make sure that if it’s televised or broadcasted, I talked to the broadcaster, the director, the producer prior to the event and give them all the information they needed so that once [it began] they could represent Howard fairly and evenly.”

But he didn’t stop there. Hill’s magnetic personality attracted a cohort of students who were hungry for real-world experience.

By throwing them into the fire early, he would cultivate an impressive mentoring tree in the process: Bruce Speight (senior director of media relations, New York Jets), Sahar Abdur-Rashid (assistant director of championships and alliances, media services, NCAA) and Jim Trotter (reporter, NFL Media).

In a field where opportunities for African-Americans are few, Hill’s success helped dispel false narratives about people’s work ethic. In doing so, he not only provided a blueprint for success but also paved the way for the next generation of black communications professionals.