NCAA’s Nixon to receive 2024 USBWA Mary Jo Haverbeck Award

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – In recognition of his long service and commitment to the game of women’s basketball, NCAA associate director, media coordination and statistics Rick Nixon has been named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s Mary Jo Haverbeck Award winner for 2024.

The award is presented annually and named after the late Mary Jo Haverbeck, the longtime women’s sports communications director at Penn State who passed away in January 2014. The award pays tribute to Haverbeck for her pioneering and visionary work among the first women to work in the sports communication profession.

Nixon has overseen media relations coordination for NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship since 2006 and serves as the media coordinator for the NCAA’s premier women’s sports event – the annual Women’s Final Four. He will be presented the Haverbeck Award at the 2024 NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four in Cleveland during the USBWA awards brunch on April 5.

“Having worked closely with Mary Jo when she was at Penn State, I would say that Rick is everything at the NCAA level that she was at her institution,” said Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Mel Greenberg, the dean of women’s basketball journalists. “Rick has made it so easy for us to work successfully at games over the years, and he handles so well all the nuances associated with media coverage. When you look at unprecedented media coverage of the Women’s Final Four and the growing interest, Rick works hard to effectively manage the requests and help everyone tell the stories surrounding the game.”

“I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Mary Jo and the majority of the other previous recipients of the USBWA Mary Jo Haverbeck Award, and it’s an unbelievable honor to be selected to join their company,” Nixon stated. “Having grown up around the sports communications profession and to then spend almost 40 years in the media relations business has provided unbelievable opportunities and memories I will always cherish.”

With the unprecedented growth and interest in the women’s basketball game over the years, Nixon and his staff have coordinated and distributed as many as 848 media credentials at the 2022 Women’s Final Four in Minneapolis and 773 at the Columbus (Ohio) Women’s Final Four in 2018, in addition to working with approximately 300 additional ESPN personnel each year.

Serving as a valuable resource to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee year-round, Nixon also plays a significant role in promoting and elevating stories around the women’s game. Each week during the regular season, he writes the NCAA Team of the Week and Starting Five features for the NCAA website and social channels. Nixon also leads the communication efforts around all DI Women’s Basketball Committee news, including the top-16 reveals. This includes doing a top-16 story, coordinating ESPN 30-minute reveal show and the interviews conducted by chair of the committee.

"As long as I've been covering women's basketball Rick has been the go-to guy at the NCAA,” noted Doug Feinberg, Associated Press national women's basketball writer. “Whether it was answering questions throughout the season or helping schedule an interview, Rick has been the consummate professional. He also has been a great advocate for media at the NCAA and has made our jobs as easy as possible. We congratulate him on this Haverbeck Award!"

Nixon began work at the NCAA in January 2006 after spending the previous 19 years as assistant athletic director for media relations at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). In addition to his primary role with women’s basketball, Nixon also manages media coordination for several other NCAA championships, including Division I, III and III Men’s Golf Championships, the Division I Women's Golf Championships and Division I and II Field Hockey Championships.

“Mary Jo Haverbeck was a pioneer in the sports information profession for promoting women’s athletics, and Rick is deserving of such an honor for his decades-long commitment to advocating on behalf of women’s sports,” said David Worlock, NCAA Director of Media Coordination and Statistics and a past recipient of the 2016 Katha Quinn Award. “For the past 18 years, Rick has overseen media operations for the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, working tirelessly with administrators, coaches, and his colleagues to promote the tournament through his work with the media and our broadcast partners. Our team is excited that Rick is garnering this well-earned recognition from the USBWA.”

The USBWA was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 800 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at

2015: Sue Donohoe, NCAA
2016: Caroline Williams, USA Basketball
2017: Barb Kowal, College Sports Information Directors of America
2018: Danielle Donehew, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association
2019: Nora Lynn Finch, Atlantic Coast Conference
2020: Harry Perretta, Villanova University
2021: No recipient selected
2022: Debby Jennings, University of Tennessee, USA Basketball
2023: Lindy Brown, Duke University
2024: Rick Nixon, NCAA