By-Lenny Reich, University of Mount Union Sports Information Director
AUSTINTOWN, Ohio -- John Carroll University assistant athletic director for communications Chris Wenzler will receive the Bill Nichols Award at Ohio Athletic Conference Football Media Day, Thursday, July 26 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The Bill Nichols Award was created to recognize a sports information professional or a member of the media who has demonstrated an understanding and passion for amateur athletics, while covering the students and programs of NCAA Division III and the OAC. The award is named for longtime Cleveland Plain Dealer sports writer and Baldwin Wallace alum Bill Nichols.
Wenzler is about to begin his 29th year as the sports information director at John Carroll, including the last 13 years serving as assistant athletic director for communications. He was named to his post just four months after receiving his diploma and has been a fixture in his alma mater’s athletic department ever since.
Wenzler has built the John Carroll sports information office into one of the most state-of-the-art offices in Division III while also contributing years of volunteer involvement and service to his campus community and community at large.
He became one of the first sports information directors at the Division III level to implement a 40-event video webcast schedule for the internet in 2006. He was also proactive in securing a multi-sport broadcast schedule with the SportsTime Ohio network that started in the fall of 2007. In 2013, Wenzler received the John Carroll Staff Service award for outstanding service to the greater Cleveland community in representing a "faith that does justice."
In addition to his job duties, Wenzler is very active in the JCU campus ministry. For the last nine years, he has led students to Jamaica, Ecuador and Guatemala for 10-day immersion trips to impoverished regions of the countries. He also is active with the John Carroll Student-Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), assisting in raising funds for several non-profit organizations. He helped organize and run John Carroll's Streaks to the Max SAAC events, raising funds for Max Cure Foundation which provides financial and advocacy aid to families who have a child battling cancer. To date, the events have raised over $36,000.
From 2011-2015, Wenzler served as the president of his children’s community summer recreation swimming team, managing over 125 swimmers and their families as part of the South Euclid-Lyndhurst SeaMonkeys.
"To be honored by my colleagues in the Ohio Athletic Conference means the world to me, because this group is made up of outstanding people let alone professionals. I am privileged to work with them throughout the year and know of the hard work and dedication that goes into to everything they do,” commented
Wenzler. “I also could not be more humbled than to receive an award with the name Bill Nichols attached. He was a tremendous mentor and a dear friend, and I am sure he is getting a kick out of this. It bears saying that this award would not be possible without a great support team at John Carroll and over 250 students and six graduate assistants in my 28 years who have made their way through my office that help me get things done. I will cherish this award always."
His dedication to service earned him the Bob Kenworthy Award from the College Sports Information Directors of America earlier this year. As an active CoSIDA members, he has served on the Google Cloud Academic All-America® committee since 1998 and has been a member of the Goodwill and Wellness committee the last two years. As part of CoSIDA’s Volunteer 15 program, Wenzler has logged over 200 hours of community service each of the last three school years, per the annual CoSIDA Volunteer 15 recaps. In 2014-15, he led all CoSIDA members with 224 volunteer hours.
Wenzler resides in University Heights, Ohio, with his wife of 26 years, Melissa, and their two children -- Madeline (a 2018 graduate of Duquesne University with a degree in Biology) and Oliver (a 2018 graduate of Charles F. Brush High School).