Hancock Enters CoSIDA Hall of Fame
Bill Hancock, a long-time staff member at the NCAA office, who now serves as the Division I Men's Basketball Championship Media Coordinator, was inducted into the College Sports Information Directors Hall of Fame at the organization's annual workshop in Philadelphia, in early July.
Hancock started his career as an assistant sports information director at Oklahoma in 1971, before moving to the Big Eight Conference from 1978 to 1988 as the league's media relations director and, eventually, assistant commissioner. In 1989, the NCAA brought Hancock on board to serve as the director of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
"Working with the Division I Men's Basketball Championship is a great thrill," said Hancock, "It's a dream come true, actually.
"When Tom Jernstedt asked me to join the NCAA staff in the fall of 1989, I'd have paid him; but I didn't tell him that."
Hancock retired from his full-time position as the tournament's director in 2002 not long after the loss of his son Will in a tragic airplane crash in January, 2001. Will had been traveling with members of the Oklahoma State men's basketball team as its media relations coordinator at the time of the crash.
"My decision to retire from the staff in 2002 was based on a need to spend more time with my family," said Hancock, "My wife and I made the decision after giving it much thought.
"On one hand, it was difficult because I loved my work so much and enjoyed the people. On the other, it was an easy decision, because family comes first.
"I was lucky because Tom Jernstedt and Greg Shaheen almost immediately asked me to remain with the NCAA as a consultant."
As the media coordinator for one of the most publicized athletic events in the country, things can be a little hectic, but Hancock believes the people he works with makes his job much easier.
"We work with the creme-de-la-creme in 14 different cities each year," said Hancock.
"Folks in those cities love to be involved in this championship, and they work very hard to make sure it is successful. Our staff members are basically trainers. We teach the people in the cities how to manage the event, and then go out and make it successful."
Hancock has been actively involved not only in collegiate athletics, but as a volunteer for the United States Olympic media-services offices for the past six summer Olympic Games. He's also volunteered for the Pan American Games, and U.S. Olympic Festivals.
Since retiring from full-time work at the NCAA, one of the several things that have kept Hancock busy was riding his bicycle across the country. The 2,747-mile trek began at Huntington Beach, Calif., and ended at Tybee Island in Georgia.
"It was a wonderful experience," said Hancock, "I kept up with my NCAA work by checking email and voice mail almost every day."
Hancock documented the trip in his memoir, Riding with the Blue Moth, which also helped him deal with the loss of his son. The book will be published in August, and more information can be found at ridingwiththebluemoth.com.
After more than 30 years in collegiate athletics, Hancock thinks of every job he's taken as a dream job.
"We are very fortunate to be able to work in the college-athletics business," said Hancock, "I count my lucky stars every day."