The members of the Southwest District Athletic Board would like to announce that Mr. Matt Hammond and Mr. Eric Frantz are the Southwest’s 2015 recipients of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Media Award. In 1991 the Ohio High School Athletic Association initiated a program entitled the Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity Program. One aspect of this program was to honor those special individuals who bring great recognition to our high schools, coaches, and, especially, our athletes through media’s various forms. Each of Ohio’s six athletic districts was asked to put a process in place to gather nominations of individuals who fit into this special category. Honorees are to have given many years of service in covering high school athletics. The members of the Southwest District Athletic Board take great pride in honoring these two gentlemen. They represent the finest in their profession, and they do wonders for the athletes across our area of the state.  They are true believers in high school athletics and the benefits that an athlete derives by participating in such activities.Congratulations!



Matt graduated from Marysville HIgh School and graduated from Bluffton University in 1998.  While attending Bluffton University, Matt served as the school newspaper editor for two years.  In this position he started the Senior Athlete of the Week.

Upon graduation, Matt was hired by the Bellefontaine Examiner to cover high school sports.  This position required him to cover the athletic programs in seven high schools.  One year after employment, he was hired as the Sports Editor.  Seventeen years later, he still enjoys the same job.  He classifies himself as an old-time sports writer.  He takes his own pictures and features them in his articles.  He also credits his assistant for his able assistance.  He covers his seven districts and features middle school athletics as well.  Another responsibility is to cover the Ohio State Buckeyes.  His favorite part of the job is developing meaningful and lasting friendships with coaches and athletic directors across the Central Buckeye League.

Matt has earned numerous writing awards:  Best Sports Writer, five awards; Best Feature Writer, Best Sports Event Coverage, and Best Sports Section, twice.  He has been recognized by both the Volleyball and Bowling Coaches in Ohio.  He summarizes his love for high school athletics by saying that he has covered State Championships in Cross Country, Golf, Football, Softball, Baseball, Track and Field, Wrestling, and Swimming.  He has watched 700 basketball games and 175 football games.  He considers this a real labor of love.

Matt is married to Christa.  She teaches in the Bellefontaine City Schools.  Christa has coached during her teaching career.  They have two boys:  Austin and Johnny. 




Mr. Eric Frantz is the managing editor for JJ Huddle.  Eric had an accomplished high school career at Bellbrook High School where he played both football and basketball.  His teams won District Championships in basketball and were regional runner-up in football.  After high school, Eric attended Ashland University where he played football.  Upon graduation from Ashland College, Eric was the sports editor for the Centerville-Bellbook Times, contributing writer for the Dayton Daily News, founder and publisher of the Miami Valley Sports Magazine, Color Analyst for WING Game of the Week, became managing editor for JJ Huddle in 2007, and still holds this position.

Eric has won numerous awards covering high school athletics:  Ohio Prep Sports Writer of the Year (2002), Best Online Editorial Writing Award (past two years), Ohio's Best Sports Coverage (past two years), established the largest live Friday Night Football Scoreboard, and established state-wide weekly Athlete and Team of the Week.  He serves on the OHSAA's Advisory Committee, and also serves as the Vice-President of the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association.  He shares that one of his biggest accomplishments is transforming JJ Huddle from an internet forum into a leading high school sports website.  This allows JJ Huddle to be the biggest and most complete Friday Night Football Scoreboard.

Eric is married to Carrie (Ernst) Frantz.  She teaches first grade in the Bellbook City Schools.  They have two daughters--Ashley and Jordan, and one son, JT.


Since the inception of this award, the following individuals have been honored as Media Service Recipients by the members of the Southwest District Athletic Board:

1997-98:        Ted Landis, Brookville Star; Warren Johnson, WPFB Radio, Middletown
1998-99:        Dave Long, Dayton Daily News; Duane Bachman, WPTW Radio, Piqua
1999-2000:    Don McDermott, Greenville Daily; Dave Schutte, Cincinnati Enquirer
2000-2001:    Mike Hartsock, WHIO TV, Dayton; Mark Huber, Wilmington News
2001-2002:    Kert Radel, WMOH Radio, Hamilton; Bill Liermann, WSWO Radio, Wilmington
2002-2003:    Jack Gordan, WPFB Radio, Middletown; Joe Neves, WPTW, Piqua
2003-2004:    Tom Gambel, DSA Sports, Cincinnati; John Popovich, WCPO Radio, Cincinnati
2004-2005:    Omar Williams, WHIO-TV, Retired; Ron Jackson, Dayton Daily News; Guy Fogle, WHIO TV
2005-2006:    Roger Barger, WKFI WSWO Sabina; Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer
2006-2007:    Tom Archdeacon, Dayton Daily News; Ken Barhorst, Sidney Daily News
2007-2008:    Sonny Fulks, WPTW,; Jerry Nardiello, Middletown Journal
2008-2009:    Enos Pennington, ; Richard Crawford, The Clermont Suns Newspaper
2009-2010:    Chick Ludwig; Jack Pohl, WDTN-Channel 2 Sports Director.
2010-2011:    Mike Dyer, Cincinnati Enquirer; Ron Nunnari, Englewood Independent
2011-2012:    Scott Ward, WTGR, Greenville; Jack Kramer,
2012-2013:    Dirk Allen; George Vogel
2013-2014:    Mark Slaughter, WCPO-Channel 9; Rob Kiser, Piqua Daily Call.
2014-2015:    Matt Hammond, Bellefontaine Examiner; Eric Franz, J.J. Huddle