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Vol. 45, No. 2 • February 2008 • .pdf version
ESPN's Soltys, Krulewitz – always a team – share Katha Quinn Award
By ANDY KATZ / USBWA President
OK, I'm biased here. Yes, Josh Krulewitz and Mike Soltys are good friends of mine and colleagues here at ESPN.
But I want you to know a few things: I have covered college sports since 1986, and I can tell you unequivocally you would be hard-pressed to find two co-workers who are as genuine, warm, who are compassionate and deserve to be recognized with the USBWA's Katha Quinn Award. The award, a cherished honor within the organization named for the late St. John's sports information director, shouldn't be handed out lightly.
Managing ESPN's communications network is a 24/7 job, just like the network and all its media outlets.
Krulewitz's and Soltys' demeanor, their ability to handle a crisis and there desire to deal with the media in a thoughtful and helpful manner is unmatched.
Krulewitz and Soltys have been loyal to this organization, to men's and women's college basketball and are constantly promoting the game.
But there is more to them than their credentials and their history with the network (Krulewitz since 1992 and Soltys since 1980).
Josh has had a rough year. There's no easy way to say it. Josh lost his father to cancer in 2007. Josh was by his side through the final weeks of his father Jack's life. He tried to balance family, work and the emotional exhaustion of dealing with his father's terminal illness.
Throughout the ordeal, Mike was Josh's rock. I'm not sure I've ever seen two closer people work together. They have a kindred spirit that would be hard to mimic in any line of work. Josh and his wife Tammy and Mike and his wife Teresa are the type of people that leave you walking way feeling good about life.
As Josh grieved the week after his father's death, he made sure to check in with me to make sure my father, who was going through a potentially life-saving triple-bypass surgery, was OK. That's Josh, always thinking of someone else.
And I will tell you that Josh's eulogy for his father was the most beautiful speech I have ever heard. Mike and Teresa were there, of course, as moved as I was on that November Sunday. Josh had lost his mother years before, and it was hard to fathom that he had lost both his parents before he had turned 40.
Josh went out and played nine holes of golf on a crisp Sabbath morning the day before he would bury his father. His eulogy looked at each hole to illustrate what his father loved about life.
As I sat in the pew in the funeral home, my eyes spilling with tears and an apple busting through my throat, I couldn't help but think about how wonderful a person Josh had become and how proud Jack must have been of him.
And I can tell you that every time I see Mike with his children, whether it's sitting in the stands at Gampel Pavilion or at going down a water slide at Lake Compounce Amusement Park in Bristol at the ESPN annual family picnic, his passion for fatherhood is so crystal clear.
What I'm telling you is that these are two good men, wonderful husbands, fathers, sons and a credit to their profession.
When Dick Vitale had surgery in Boston on his throat, Mike and Josh were the first ESPN employees to visit Dick in the hospital. If there is ever someone in duress, Mike and Josh are there to diffuse the situation, offer guidance and a calming tone that I'm sure is much needed.
ESPN is fortunate to have Mike and Josh in its stable of thousands of employees. I'm proud to call them good friends.
Mike and Josh have been fiercely loyal to the USBWA. I know that they will cherish this honor. And it is certainly a privilege for me as president to preside over them receiving the Katha Quinn Award. Trust me, they will be forever grateful.
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