Poe named to CoSIDA Hall of Fame

West Virginia University sports information director Shelly Poe (from left) accompanied retired coach Don Nehlen and Michael Fragale, WVU’s broadcast/advertising manager, when Nehlen was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Shelly Poe, West Virginia University’s veteran sports information director, has been selected to the College Sports Information Directors Hall of Fame.

She will be formally inducted on July 5 at the national organization’s annual convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Poe is just the second WVU graduate, fourth Big East representative, and fifth woman ever to be named to the CoSIDA Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1969.

“I am very surprised,” the widely known Poe said modestly Wednesday. “I am very humbled because I’m joining so many great sports publicists of years past.

“It is amazing to me that I’d be considered by anybody for such a tremendous honor. But it’s very exciting.

“My whole family is excited.”

She has served in WVU’s sports information office since a student from 1981-85. After graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she assumed an assistant’s role and then became the SID in 1988.

At age 23, Poe was the only female sports publicity director in the nation at an NCAA Division I football school.

It was a most memorable first year as SID for her. WVU enjoyed its first undefeated football season and national championship game. She also publicized the school’s nationally ranked basketball team that held the nation’s longest winning streak (22 games) and that earned an NCAA tournament berth.

During her tenure, Poe has been involved in churning out publicity for every varsity sport — not just football and basketball. She currently concentrates mostly on football.

“I enjoy very much working with that program,” Poe said. “Coach Rich Rodriguez treats everybody equal. And I like working with the players.

“Of course, I also enjoyed working with coaches (Don) Nehlen and (Gale) Catlett while they were here. That was very special.

“I also liked working with coaches Kittie Blakemore, Linda Burdette and in baseball the late Dale Ramsburg, among others.

“Those were the people that took an interest in me first.”

Catlett, reached at his home, had this to say about Poe:

“Shelly is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She’s a wonderful person, always tremendously cooperative and always available to help.

“She’s unpretentious, easy to talk to, and a very loyal person. No one could be more deserving.”

Since taking over in 1988, Poe has publicized 12 bowl teams, four consensus All-America gridders, 63 all-Big East performers, 45 NFL draft picks, and finalists for the Heisman, Lombardi, Butkus and Nagurski national awards.

Michael Fragale, WVU’s broadcast/advertising manager, said her innovations in publicizing Mountaineer football to TV networks have earned her praise and acclaim from network announcers and producers nationwide.

“Those have changed the way SIDs help prepare a television broadcast team for a game,” he noted.

Poe has coordinated numerous NCAA and conference events hosted by WVU. She also has worked with conference and tournament championship teams as well as NCAA, Sweet 16 and national champion individuals at WVU.

A past president of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, she has worked both the men’s and women’s basketball Final Fours, the Orange Bowl and the Pan-American Games.

Poe was a member of the CoSIDA Board of Directors from 1999-2003. She rewrote and updated the organization’s entire constitution.

She is a former vice-chair of both the radio/TV liaison and publications committees. She currently serves on the Big East football scholar-athlete board and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame’s district selection committee.

Poe has been a contributor to 43 CoSIDA award-winning publications, 11 national and district CoSIDA citations for writing excellence, and was a 2001 inductee into WVU’s distinguished Mountain honorary.

A graduate of University High in Morgantown, she is an author of four books. She was recognized in this year’s National Merit Scholars annual report as one of the program’s outstanding alumni.

She is the daughter of Ned and Judy Poe of Monumental, Marion County, and a granddaughter of Pauline Rosenmerkel of East Fairmont.

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