Union Director of Sports Communications John Gatto is the 2013-14 Appalachian Athletic Conference Willie Belcher Sports Information Director of the Year recipient, the league announced on Monday at its spring CAA/FAR meeting in Kingsport, Tenn.
"It is a honor to receive this award," said Gatto. "I am humbled that my peers in the conference would recognize my work at Union, and I am grateful that I get to work with them throughout the year. I also want to thank our entire coaching and support staff at Union, who without their help, this would not be possible."
This is the third year of the award, and it's named in honor of longtime Virginia Intermont sports information director Willie Belcher. Belcher always exhibited a strong passion for her job and for the students and student-athletes that she came in contact with on a daily basis. She was strong in her faith and a great influence to those around her. In 2010, she was diagnosed with liomyosarcoma and lost her battle to cancer in June of 2012.
Gatto is in his fourth year at Union. He has served as the assistant director of sports communications for the Bulldogs before being promoted to the director on May 1.
During his tenure at Union, Gatto has served and assisted at numerous AAC championship tournaments, including the last four softball and baseball tournaments. Additionally, he served as the media coordinator for the 2012 NAIA Women's Golf National Championship Tournament in Greeneville, Tenn., and has worked all four NAIA Baseball Naitonal Championship Opening Round events in Kingsport.
Gatto is a member of NAIA-Sports Information Directors Association (NAIA-SIDA) and the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
The previous recipients of the award are: Jay Stancil, Union (2011-12), and Matt Laws, Milligan (2012-13).