May 29 2012
Special Awards Salute: Dave Fischer (USA Hockey, Michigan Tech) will receive his 25-Year Award at June ConventionBelow, see the schedule of the 2012 Special Award recipient feature stories which will be written by CoSIDA members throughout the spring. The full slate of 2012 Special Awards was announced March 2. All awards will be presented during the 2012 CoSIDA Convention in St. Louis (June 23-26).
• Individual feature story schedule for 2012 Special Awards
• CoSIDA St. Louis Convention awards presentation schedule
Dave Fischer (USA Hockey, Michigan Tech) will receive his 25-Year Award at June Convention
by Dave Moross, Colorado College Director of Athletic Media Relations
Whether you’ve been on the receiving end of a prank phone call from, served on a committee with or actually had the pleasure of being a professional associate of Dave Fischer, you cannot possibly dispute that he is the epitome of a “people person.”
Fischer, who labored as sports information director at Michigan Technological University for 17 years before becoming USA Hockey’s director of communications in November 2004, is among this year’s recipients of a CoSIDA 25-Year Award. Not only has he stamped an indelible mark on the industry with his tireless efforts both behind the scenes and in the limelight during the last quarter century, but he also has forged countless friendships along the way.
“He enjoys socializing,” said Wes Frahm, who succeeded Fischer at MTU after working as his assistant for three and a half years near the beginning of the current millennium. “Even when he’s on vacation, he’ll call people just to check in. That’s one of his passions – people. And keeping up with people.”
Now responsible for overseeing USA Hockey’s overall communications efforts including publications, media and public relations, Fischer continues to excel as a “jack of all trades” just as he did during his tenure at MTU. In addition to holding the lead media relations role for multiple United States ice hockey teams, including the 2006 and 2010 men’s Olympic silver medalists, he has piloted efforts in establishing and executing Hockey Weekend Across America while guiding a variety of activities associated with the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
He was elevated to the newly created position of senior director of communications in December 2009, at the ripe old age of 45, within a month of his own induction into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
To this day, he retains near-celebrity status in the eyes of “almost every inhabitant of the Keweenaw Peninsula,” according to Bob Nygaard, one of Fischer’s first bosses in the sports information profession.
“He had his fingers into everything here,” Frahm said. “That’s the way he wanted it. That’s his personality. People around here think a lot of him. Everyone knows him.”
Nygaard, SID, at the University of Minnesota Duluth since 1983, inherited sophomore Fischer as a second-year intern at that time. Before graduating from UMD in 1987, Dave cut his teeth working primarily with the men’s basketball team. In addition to his sports information duties and writing for the student newspaper, he initiated and coordinated Bulldog radio broadcasts, taking care of such details as securing a station each season and making sure telephone lines were installed on the road before calling the play-by-play himself.
“He was my right-hand man,” said Nygaard. “He had a lot of initiative. That’s one thing about Fisch – he’s a go-getter. You could see it back then.”
Just 23 years old, Fischer became the nation’s youngest Division I hockey SID when Michigan Tech hired him right of college. Before leaving Houghton, where he doubled as Assistant AD for Communications and Marketing his final seven years, he helped MTU more than quadruple its revenue from advertising and sponsorship. The school’s athletics publications won more than 40 citations of excellence from CoSIDA during his tenure.
Fischer served on numerous CoSIDA committees, including a three-year term (1999-2002) with the Board of Directors. He also spent five years (1989-94) as the information director for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference while at Tech. In addition, Fischer has been a regular on the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four staff since 1989 and was a media liaison at the 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival in San Antonio, Texas.
But the biggest break of his life came in June 1989, during ESPN’s annual party at the CoSIDA workshop in Washington, D.C. It was there that the late Tom Greenhoe from the University of Minnesota introduced Fischer to Angie Hultman, who was attending as a member of the Gopher women’s sports information staff. The job was her first out of college.
“It’s funny because Dave was – still is, I guess – kind of a smart aleck,” Angie said of the initial encounter with her future husband. “He was really giving me the business and I thought to myself, ‘Who is this guy?’ I eventually got past that.”
The couple married three years later, in June 1992. Their daughter, Jennifer, will turn 16 this July.
“Obviously, she understood the gig,” Frahm said of Angie Fischer. “As my boss, Dave set the tone for our work ethic. He worked more than anyone else, typically was here early, stayed late. Even when I would go to his house for dinner, he’d pop open the laptop afterwards.”
Make no mistake. Under that mischievous smile and happy-go-lucky demeanor that might be his trademark to some, Dave Fischer is a perfectionist. The trait is obvious at home as well as on the job, as his wife of 20 years will attest.
“He loves to play board games,” said Angie, laughing. “But you have to play by the rules. He absolutely will not deviate from the rules. That’s the thing about him. There’s never really any gray area. It’s all black and white.”
In turn, of course, Fischer typically expects and demands the same from others – particularly members of officiating crews at competitions involving his favorite teams. While his only refereeing experience has been gained on the basketball court, and he’s yet to glide on the ice in pursuit of a loose puck, he takes great pride in understanding the game of hockey inside and out – not above questioning or confronting those in charge of calling infractions during any given contest.
“He’s never laced up a pair of hockey skates in his life,” said Nygaard, “yet he’s always considered himself an expert when it came to officiating.
“Dave always has been known for his quote-unquote ‘enthusiasm.' He’s famous for getting very involved in Bulldog or Husky sports, taking the head set off and yelling at the referees and so forth. I don’t see that as a negative. That’s how passionate he was about the sports wherever he was working.”
Even now, seven and a half years after leaving Houghton, Fischer remains a staunch promoter of Michigan Tech athletics and a regular contributor to the Huskies Club. He hasn’t forgotten his roots. It’s highly doubtful that he ever will.
“Even after he went to USA Hockey,” Nygaard said, “he still has a soft spot in his heart for CoSIDA – a big supporter of its mission who keeps in close touch with individual members – always the consummate professional, always looking to make changes for the better.”
Individual recipient feature story schedule for 2012 Special Awards
General 2012 Special Awards release
Mon., 5: Kim Wenger (Centennial Conference): Rising Star Award (College Division) – by Ann King (The Sage Colleges)
Wed, 7: Malcolm Moran: Jake Wade Award: by Joe Hornstein, CoSIDA 2nd Vice President
Fri., 9: Maurice Williams (Hampton University): Rising Star Award (University Division) – by Ed Hill, Jr. (Howard University)
Mon. 12: Bernie Cafarelli (Notre Dame): 25-Year Award - by Debbie White (Old Dominion)
Wed. 14: Peter Schlehr (Towson University): Lifetime Achievement Award – by Ann King (The Sage Colleges)
Fri. 16: Debbie Copp (University of Oklahoma): CoSIDA Hall of Fame - by Ann King (The Sage Colleges)
Mon. 19: Chuck Sadowski (University of Bridgeport): 25-Year Award - by Ann King (The Sage Colleges)
Wed. 21: Bob Condron (USOC): Lifetime Achievement Award and Keith Jackson Eternal Flame Award - by Mike Mahon, former Drake & South Dakota SID
Fri. 23: Jack Neumann (University of Calgary): Warren Berg Award - by Paul Carson, former University of Toronto SID
Mon. 26: John Lewandowki (Michigan State): 25-Year Award - by Jamie Weir-Baldwin (Michigan State)
Wed. 28: Kennan Timm (Wisconsin-Oshkosh): CoSIDA Hall of Fame - by Tim Peterman (UW-Eau Claire)
Mon., 2: Tom Di Camillo (Pac West Conference, Central Arizona College): CoSIDA Hall of Fame - by Dan Drutz (Saint Peter's College)
Wed., 4: Dave Wohlhueter (CoSIDA treasurer, Cornell-retired): Lester Jordan Award - by Dan O'Connell (Towson University)
Fri., 6: B.L. Efring (Southern Maine): 25-Year Award - by Sheila Stevenson (Rowan University)
Mon., 9: Lawrence Fan (San Jose State): CoSIDA Hall of Fame and Arch Ward Award - by Jack Neumann (University of Calgary)
Wed., 11: Sue Edson (Syracuse): CoSIDA Hall of Fame - by Larry Dougherty (Temple University)
Fri., 13: Mark Bankert (Malone University): 25-Year Award - by Mike Leggert (Malone University)
Mon., 16: Rich Herman (Clarion): Bob Kenworthy Award - by Bob McComas (Slippery Rock)
Fri. 20: Michael MacEachern (Young Harris College)- 25-Year Award - by Tam Flarup (Wisconsin)
Mon., 23: Shelly Poe (Ohio State): Trailblazer Award - by Jeff Hodges (North Alabama)
Tue., 24: Shirley Jones-Hill (Southern Mississippi): 25-Year Award - by Debbie Davis (Conference USA)
Wed., 25: Joe Dier (Mississippi State): 25-Year Award - by Tammy Boclair (Special Awards Committee; former CoSIDA President)
Fri. 27: Roy Pickerill (Kentucky Wesleyan): 25-Year Award - by Ann King (The Sage Colleges)
Mon., 30: Bob Noss (Wright State): 25-Year Award - by Matt Zircher (Wright State)
Wed., 2: Wallace Dooley (formerly of Tennessee State): Lifetime Achievement Award - by Bill Hamilton (South Carolina State)
Fri., 4: Jeff Nelson (Penn State): Bill Esposito Backbone Award - by Bill Little (University of Texas)
Mon., 7: Bill Turnage (Florida Southern): Lifetime Achievement Award - by Tam Flarup (Wisconsin)
Wed., 9: Herb Vincent (LSU): 25-Year Award - by Tammy Boclair (Special Awards Committee; former CoSIDA President)
Fri., 11: Mike Mahon (formerly of Drake & South Dakota): Lifetime Achievement Award - by Jack Neumann, University of Calgary
Tue., 15: Bill Wagner (DePauw): 25-Year Award- by Larry Happel, Central College
Wed., 16: Fred Huff (formerly of Southern Illinois-Carbondale): CoSIDA Hall of Fame [Veteran Award Committee recipient] - by Bill Little, University of Texas
Fri., 18: Phil Haddy (University of Iowa): Lifetime Achievement Award - by Larry Scott, Minnesota State Moorhead (retired)
Tue., 22: Dave Geringer (University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth): 25-Year Award - by Larry Scott, Minnesota State Moorhead (retired)
Wed., 23: Charles "Chuck" Prophet (deceased; formerly of Mississippi Valley State): CoSIDA Hall of Fame - by Maurice Williams, Hampton University
Fri., 25: Robert Wilson (Florida State): 25-Year Award
- by Joe Hornstein, FIU and CoSIDA 2nd Vice President
Tue., 29: Dave Fischer (USA Hockey): 25-Year Award - by Dave Moross, Colorado College
Fri., 1: Bud Ford (Tennessee): Lifetime Achievement Award
Mon., 4: Robert McKinney (Willamette University): 25-Year Award
Awards to be presented during CoSIDA St. Louis Convention, St. Louis, Missouri Sunday, June 24: Kickoff Luncheon
25-Year Awards; Trailblazer, Kenworthy Community Service, Rising Star (University and College Divisions), Keith Jackson honors
Monday, June 25: (two award presentations)
CoSIDA Hall of Fame luncheon
Esposito, Lifetime Achievement, CoSIDA Hall of Fame awards
Capital One Special Awards Gala (dinner/ceremony)
Arch Ward, Warren Berg, Jake Wade, Lester Jordan, Enberg awards; Capital One Academic All-America® Hall of Fame induction