NORMAN — The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has named Oklahoma Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione the 2018 winner of the Katha Quinn Award for exceptional service to the media.
Castiglione will accept the award at the 2018 Final Four in San Antonio as the honor's 30th recipient. 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.
"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."
The media service honor is named after former St. John's sports information director Katha Quinn for her work 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.
"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."
The 60-year-old Castiglione is in his 20th year at OU and has presided over the most successful era of athletics in school history. Nearly half of the Sooners' team national championships (17 of 36) have come since Castiglione arrived in Norman in April 1998. Ten have come in the last five years, and a nation-leading seven have come over the last two years.
OU student-athletes are also flourishing in the classroom, recording a school-record 11th consecutive semester of a 3.0 or higher GPA last spring with a department-best 3.09 mark.
Oklahoma is also consistently one of only a handful of athletics departments nationally that is self-sustaining, and it has closed the books in the black each of Castiglione's 19 years. Additionally, through direct and indirect support, the athletics department provides more than $9 million annually to OU's academics budget.
Earlier this year, Sports Illustrated polled 15 national print and TV media members, and 10 athletics directors in separate anonymous surveys asking who is the best AD in the nation. Castiglione was the top vote getter in both polls.