Tessalone, USC make the “Super 11”

Tim Tessalone is the busiest man in the USC athletic program, no doubt about it.

To grasp his impact, look no further than the last 12 months that he has spent behind the scenes trying to preserve the face of a prestigious athletic program amid an underachieving football season, coaching changes in the top two revenue sports and the threat of NCAA violations.

For a man whose job description entails him to act as the ultimate liaison between the controversy-driven media and an athletic department that seems to routinely find itself in the headlines, no single employee has a phone bill as large as Tessalone this year.

While his day-to-day activities should focus more on preparing team and player statistics for media members and the general public, working for a university whose athletic program has recently been marred by chaos has had Tessalone wearing hats most SIDs across the country wouldn’t dream of wearing.

For a program that recently has required its fair share of public relations attention, Tessalone’s ability to manage the hoard of press members that often crowd Heritage Hall is the type of work that doesn’t make it into the nightly box score. It appears someone from afar however, has been watching.

The Football Writers Association of America announced this week their first annual “Super 11” field of the top sports information departments in the country during the 2009 NCAA Division 1 Football Subdivision this week, and thanks to Tessalone and football assistant Paul Goldberg, the Cardinal and Gold are the lone Pac-10 representative on the list which also includes Buffalo, Clemson, East Carolina, Georgia, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, San Jose State, Texas and Utah.

“But our group felt there was a smattering of schools that merited commendation because of their exemplary work above and beyond the call of duty,” FWAA President Tim Griffin said.