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Hopkins Wrestling a Finalist for NWCA's Best of Brand Gold Standard Award

Head coach Keith Norris and his team's efforts in the world of social media have drawn national attention.

May 16, 2014

Johns Hopkins Wrestling on Facebook
Johns Hopkins Wrestling on Twitter

CHAPEL HILL, NC - The National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA), in coordination with Elite Level Sport Marketing (ELSM), has named Johns Hopkins one of 12 finalists for the Best of Brand Gold Standard Award.

The programs that were announced as finalists by a committee are the following: Chattanooga, Drexel, Iowa State, Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Princeton, South Dakota State, Stanford and Wayland Baptist. Among the 12 finalists, Johns Hopkins is the only NCAA Division III program.

The award, recognized as the highest honor in the Best of Brand Awards program, strives to highlight the college programs that have set a unique standard in marketing their programs in an innovative manner.

"Special congrats to all of the finalists in the Gold Standard category," said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. "This represents the pinnacle of social media marketing in our sport and we are so proud of the program's efforts this year."

Under the direction of head coach Keith Norris, the Johns Hopkins wrestling team has embraced the use of social media to promote the Blue Jay wrestling program. The initiatives the team spearheaded in the last year include:

• A consistent use of its twitter account, @H_Nation, to reach its followers and provide information and insight into the program.

• The launch of "60 Seconds with H Nation", a weekly video update utilizing coach Norris and members of the team. The updates were used to recap successes, promote upcoming events and give a unique insight into what its like to be a member of the Johns Hopkins wrestling program. Insightful, humerous and very well received, the videos were shared on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

• A consistent use of Facebook to launch innovative and interactive campaigns with its followers. Among the highlights this year were the highly-popular virtual Black & Blue Brawl featuring members of the Johns Hopkins coaching and athletics administration staffs. When the dust settled, it was Bobby Van Allen, the head men's and women's track and cross country coach, who emerged victories.



• The "Where in the Hop Are We Wrestling" contest. Arguably one of the most creative and popular initiatives of the year by any wrestling program in the nation, fans were encouraged to find the most unique spots to line up with a wrestling partner in their stances, have a photo snapped and share the photo on facebook and twitter. Among the places the team received photos from were the ROTC Drill Hall, in the diving well of the pool in the Newton White Athletic Center (12-feet under water), the front of a lecture hall (while a class was in session), on top of the walking bridge at the top of the Mattin Center on campus and on an elevated ledge outside the Brody Learning Commons (with a room full of students studying inside behind an all-glass wall).

The Gold Standard Award is an evolved version of the Top Newcomer award. In addition to honoring both content and messaging produced by a program, the Gold Standard award recognizes the number of followers a program has and how they interact with them.

"The Best of Brand field was extremely competitive this year with over 100 college programs involved in social media marketing," said ELSM CEO Coyte Cooper. "The fact that we have so many entries indicates that we are continuing to grow our sport through a proactive branding approach at the grassroots level."

From this group of finalists, three will be named as top programs at the NWCA Convention in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from August 1-3, 2014. The winner will be honored at a Best of Brand breakfast that focuses on highlighting the unique branding efforts implemented by programs.

The Gold Standard category falls under the Annual Achievement umbrella of the Best of Brand Awards, which is designed to recognize the programs that used social media in the best possible manner to market themselves throughout the season. The subset contains three awards, Top Newcomer, The Gold Standard and Masterful Mission.

The Best of Brand Awards were founded by the NWCA and ELSM during the 2011-12 season and have grown to over 120 college programs being involved in some capacity.

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