NEW YORK – Tommy Sheppard, Washington Wizards Vice President of Basketball Administration, today was named the winner of the 2009 Splaver/McHugh “Tribute to Excellence” Award. The award is given annually by the NBA Public Relations Directors’ Association to a current or former member of the NBA public relations family who has demonstrated an outstanding level of performance and service during his or her NBA career.
Sheppard began his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets in 1994 following a three-year stint as the Sports Information Director at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. While with the Nuggets, he served as their Senior Director of Team Services and Player Relations overseeing all internal and external communications functions while also acting as the club’s primary spokesperson. He also scouted internationally and evaluated high school, collegiate and minor league talent.
The 2009-10 NBA season will be Sheppard’s 16th in the league and seventh season with the Wizards where his responsibilities include salary cap management, negotiations, draft preparation and talent evaluation of collegiate athletes and professionals. Domestically and abroad, Sheppard is an integral part of the Wizards recruitment and evaluation of free agents, statistical evaluation of NBA players, hiring of coaches and personnel and monitoring the team efforts in the NBA’s Player Programs.
In addition to his NBA experience, Sheppard worked as a press attaché for three Summer Olympic Games (1996, 2000, and 2004), three Olympic Festivals and the 2003 Pan American Games. He assisted with the formation of the Northern European Basketball League, which was later realigned as part of FIBA Europe.
The Splaver/McHugh award is named in memory of two of the most highly respected public relations executives in NBA history, Marc Splaver and Howie McHugh. Splaver, who passed away from leukemia in May 1978, was the Public Relations Director of the Washington Bullets for five seasons in the 1970’s. McHugh served for more than 40 years as the original Public Relations Director of the Boston Celtics.
Previous winners of the Splaver/McHugh award are:
2008 Terry Lyons, former NBA Vice President of International Communications and current Sports Marketing and Communications Consultant.
2007 Dave Coskey, former Philadelphia 76ers Executive Vice President and Vice President of Marketing and Communications and current Vice President of Marketing for Borgata
2006 Rick Welts, former Seattle SuperSonics Public Relations Director and current Phoenix Suns President and Chief Executive Officer.
2005 Jeff Twiss, Boston Celtics Vice President, Media Services/Alumni Relations.
2004 Kevin Sullivan, former Dallas Mavericks Public Relations Director, NBC Sports executive, White House Communications Director and current founder of Kevin Sullivan Communications.
2003 Mark Pray, former Public Relations Director for the Washington Bullets and current Assistant Athletic Director for Communications at the University of Miami.
2002 Matt Winick, former NBA Director of Media Information and current NBA Senior Vice President of Scheduling and Game Operations.
2001 Josh Rosenfeld, former Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks Public Relations Director and current Newark Star-Ledger reporter.
2000 Dennis D’Agostino, current Knicks’ Team Historian and Writer.
1998 John White, longtime Portland Trail Blazers Publicity Director.
1997 Harvey Pollack, Hall of Fame publicist Harvey Pollack.
1996 Tom Ambrose, founder and first President of the NBA Public Relations Directors Association and current Phoenix Suns Community Liason.
1995 Jim Foley, formerly with the Houston Rockets for 36 seasons as PR Director and then Rockets radio analyst.