MADISON, Wis. -- Former University of Wisconsin-River Falls sports information director Jim Thies of Hudson is recipient of the 2020 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tom Butler Award.

The Tom Butler Award has been presented annually since 1998 to a representative of the print or electronic media for outstanding coverage of WIAC athletics. Former WIAC sports information directors may also be considered. The award is dedicated to Butler, who served the conference faithfully as its sports information director from 1967-96.

Thies served as the sports information director at UWRF from 1976-2015, and for most of his tenure was also UWRF’s assistant public affairs director. He was a member of several UWRF committees, including budget, public relations, academic staff council and Athletic Hall of Fame.

Thies assisted with the coordination of media services for the Kansas City Chiefs summer training camp that was held at UWRF from 1991-2009. He was inducted into the UWRF Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019 and received a 25-Year Award from the College Sports Information Directors of America in 2002.

The sports information department employed hundreds of students who worked as writers, web designers, in-game statistic keepers, public address announcers, DJs, social media producers and several other duties. He credits those students with playing a major role in all of the success the sports information department enjoyed.

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Thies said his greatest joys came from observing and helping the students grow and mature into loving family members and positive contributors to their communities in their personal and professional lives.

Thies, who earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications with a print emphasis from Minnesota State University Mankato, was also the first head coach of the Hudson High School girls’ hockey team, guiding the Raiders to the first two Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association girls’ hockey state championships in 2002 and 2003.