Joe Castiglione, vice president for intercollegiate athletic programs at Oklahoma, was named the 2018 winner of the Katha Quinn Award for exceptional service to the media.
When Castiglione accepts the award at the Final Four in San Antonio, he will be the latest in a distinguished line that began 30 years ago next March when Quinn received a then-unnamed award at the 50th Final Four in Kansas City.
Quinn, then sports information director at St. John's, was recognized for supervising the basketball venue during the 1987 Pan American Games at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Earlier that year, she was diagnosed with liver cancer, but she refused to allow her condition to affect her commitment. Quinn continued her work at St. John's until less than a month before her passing in March 1989, one day before her birthday, at the age of 35.
"It shows how people can take their passion and absolutely just get more from it than anybody could ever imagine," Castiglione said. "That was her tonic. She was doing something she loved doing. That was probably when she was the most pain-free."
Castiglione served as chair of the NCAA Division I men's basketball committee during the 2015-16 season and was involved in discussions about the possibility of having a USBWA representative observe the committee's deliberations.
He becomes the third winner who was affiliated with the Georgetown basketball program, the biggest rival on the St. John's schedule when the Big East schools rose to the top of the national polls in the 1980s. Mark Asher of the Washington Post won the award in 2002 and former Georgetown sports information director Jim Marchiony was recognized in 2004.
From the fall of 1980 until September, 1981, Castiglione worked in the athletic department at Georgetown to develop a fund-raising project. It was a decisive time in the history of the program. Georgetown, which had lost the East regional championship game in 1980, signed Patrick Ewing, who would lead the Hoyas to three Final Four appearances, including the 1984 national championship.
The 2017-18 season is Castiglione's 25th as an athletic director. He was hired at Oklahoma in April 1998 after more than four years as athletic director at Missouri.
"I've known Joe since he was an assistant AD at Missouri, and he remains just as friendly, accessible and helpful now as he ever was," said USBWA President Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star. "He epitomizes the spirit of the Katha Quinn Award, and, accordingly, he appreciates the honor deeply."
Castiglione's previous honors include being named National Athletic Director of the Year in 2009 by Sports Business Journal and receiving the 2013 John L. Toner Award from the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
"I had a 'Wayne's World' moment," Castiglione said. "'I am not worthy. I am not worthy.' ... I know how hard everybody works to do their job. If I can help them become successful, why wouldn't I? I've always believed in being accessible and approachable so people can be at their best at what they want to do. I never thought there'd be an award for that. It's the right thing to do."