Rising Star: Journalism alum Anthony (A.J.) O’Hagan ‘11 recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America

Headshot of Anthony O'Hagan, 2011 Journalism graduate.

"He took advantage of many sports related opportunities at Utica College and also made a point of creating opportunities for himself. His hard work, dedication and talent always impressed his professors and peers."

A Utica College alum has been making a big splash in New York City media outlets with his sports coverage, and his hard work and dedication has been recently recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Anthony (A.J.) O’Hagan ‘11 was a recipient of the CoSIDA Rising Star Award. Presented annually to two CoSIDA members – one in the University Division (NCAA DI) and one in the College Division (NCAA DII, DIII, NAIA, Two-year Colleges, U Sports) – with 10 years of service or less whose work at their institution, conference office or intercollegiate athletics-affiliated association and service, dedication, energy and enthusiasm to the profession make that individual a "rising star" in sports information. 

CoSIDA  award organizers say O’Hagan ‘11 flourishes in his role at Yeshiva University, a Division III program located in New York City. There, within the span of just six years, he now oversees work for 15 varsity teams, including maintenance of the Yeshiva Maccabees’ website and social media channels, and has coordinated national and regional coverage for his sports teams. 

O’Hagan has produced media coverage for Yeshiva from a wide variety of NYC outlets, including NBC New York, PIX 11 News, the New York Post, and ABC 7 Eyewitness News and Yeshiva’s teams have gotten mention in Sports Illustrated. He championed the Yeshiva teams who made their initial appearance in the NCAA Division III playoffs, including women’s and men’s tennis as well as men’s basketball. In 2016, O’Hagan was the Media Relations Coordinator for the NCAA Fencing Northeast Regional.

Previous to his time at Yeshiva, he worked at Manhattanville College and then at Lehman College where he was Assistant SID for two years.

A 2011 graduate of Utica College with a degree in journalism, O'Hagan was the sports editor for the college newspaper and video coordinator for the Pioneers' men’s ice hockey team. He was named the National Collegiate Journalist of the Year by the National Society for Collegiate Journalists and in September 2016, he earned an Alumni Award for "Young Leadership" from Utica College. 

During his time at Utica College, he served as Manager of the men’s basketball team, as well as interning at the Utica Observer-Dispatch newspaper, with the Sports Information Office at Utica College, and covered New York State High School Ice Hockey Championships for the Buffalo News in 2011.

"A.J.'s dedication to learning and his passion for sports were evident from the start," says Paul J. MacArthur, a Professor of Public Relations and Journalism who teaches Sports Communication courses at Utica College. "He took advantage of many sports related opportunities at Utica College and also made a point of creating opportunities for himself. His hard work, dedication and talent always impressed his professors and peers. His wonderful personality made him a very popular student with students and faculty alike. I've watched A.J.'s career since he left Utica College and his work ethic and passion are evident in everything he does. This award is an honor that speaks to A.J.'s accomplishments and I'm sure there will be many more in his future."

Making his achievements in athletic communications even more impressive is that he lives with autism.

“At three years old, he was diagnosed with the neurological condition marked by differences in learning styles, passionate interests in specific subjects, repetitive motion and sometimes difficulty with language and communication,” award organizers explain, going on to call him a passionate advocate and volunteer for those with disabilities and for autism awareness. 

While an undergraduate at Utica College, he formed an Autism Awareness Club in January 2009 and did lectures, fundraising events, movie nights and more to raise awareness. He continues to give independent lectures, serves as a panelist at conferences, and every April during Autism Awareness Month, promotes awareness on his social media channels.

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