The Missouri Valley Conference – Production Unit Of The Year for 2022-2023

The Missouri Valley Conference has announced that the ESPN Valparaiso University Productions team – led by Broadcasting & Streaming Manager Ron Blatz – has been named the league’s Production Unit of the Year for the 2022-2023 academic and athletic year.

Valpo was honored by the league office for the quality of the institutionally-produced event delivered to the ESPN3 and ESPN+ digital streaming platforms this year. Valpo was selected for the award as the strongest production team in the 12-team league.

“It means a lot to be recognized for the hard work that everyone on the ESPN Valparaiso University Productions Team puts in,” Blatz said. “I’m very humbled and honored to receive this award. I can’t do it without my crew and my management team. It takes 14-17 crew members to do a production of ESPN quality. We always strive to get a great product on the air that positively represents the conference, the University and all of us personally and professionally.”

The management team that works under Blatz’s direction includes Karl Berner, Corwin Leverich, Gus Radke and Dalton Morgan. They lead a team of approximately 45 crew members. Since joining The Valley, the Valpo production unit has produced 501 total shows. Numerous student crew members from Valpo’s Communication and Visual Arts Department contribute to the team’s success.

The production team streams home events for football, volleyball, soccer, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball and softball in addition to special events including the Roger Powell Jr. introductory press conference and Valpo’s commencement ceremony.

2023 CVA Awards Night

ESPN Valparaiso University Productions presented some awards at the 2023 CVA Awards Night on April 28th.


The winner of the Newcomer of the Year Award for this year truly is a newcomer to the ESPN Valparaiso University Productions Family. This person joined us in September, and has crewed over 44 productions with us this year. This person is a 1st-year Graduate Student, and an International Student as well!  I must also mention not even a CVA major. He majors in IT. He started off as a camera operator for us and showed his love and passion for working with graphics, and also became interested in telling the stories of the teams playing the games. This person worked side by side with Gus in learning the functions of our graphics platform, to the point where he began to serve as head graphics operator for numerous shows.  Additionally, our winner “payed it forward” by using his IT skills to devise new and more efficient ways of implementing graphics into our shows.  And, this person has learned other positions on crew as well, from our replay system to audio operation.


This person joined ESPN Valparaiso University Productions this year as a junior, and has stepped up to learn multiple crew positions in a short amount of time. From camera operation, to Timeout Coordinator, Officials’ Replay Review, audio operation and graphics operation. This crew member showed they were a very quick learner, especially in the operation of the Officials’ Replay Review system, and in graphics operation.

Our winner has crewed over 35 productions this year, and we hope he stays with us during the rest of his time at Valpo. 


So many students over the years have shown great interest in the work while also giving maximum effort to improve their skills in live television production.  This year, we’ve seen so much improvement from so many student crew members, we simply couldn’t pick one winner for our Most Improved Award.  The first winner joined us this year as a freshman Engineering Major, and has learned so much about audio operation, and has grown so quickly!  He has also operated cameras and has gotten some work as a graphics operator.  He has crewed over 48 productions for ESPN Valparaiso University Productions this year, 37 of which were in audio operation.  With the help of Karl and Ron he has improved so much in this area, and he absolutely has earned this award.


Our second winner for this year started as a freshman as well this year, and has instantly become one of our best camera operators.  This person has also crewed in timeout coordination, Officials’ Replay Review, audio operation and replay operation.  This student crew member has shown so much willingness to learn and excel in whatever position she was assigned for a production. Crewing over 27 productions this year is a major achievement as a freshman, but to do as well as she has is a thrill for those of us who teach, and we all hope that she continues to work with us going forward, as an integral part of our crews.


The winner of the Veteran Crew Member of the Year joined ESPN Valparaiso University Productions in 2020 as a local high school student, and has crewed over 116 shows in that time. This person has been in almost every crew position other than sitting in the director’s chair. Their continued efforts have gained them opportunities to be a crew leader for many productions this year.  When we installed our new Mira replay system this year, he attended the training day and, under Dalton’s teaching, started being a primary replay operator.  I am honored to work alongside this person on every production he is on. 


The winner of this award is a person that has stepped into a leadership role without the title, and has consistently shown leadership qualities that ESPN Valparaiso University Productions needs.  This person is truly making a mark in a leadership role and it is not going unnoticed by the members of the management team. Along with being a full-time student, our award winner will have managed to crew over 47 productions this year, while also finding the time to attend the new replay-system training over Spring Break, the only Valpo student to do so. This person is a great asset to our productions, and is also a great mentor and role model for crew members. 


This person has given so much of himself to ESPN Valparaiso University Productions this year and many many years in the past. Crewing over 57 productions as our primary producer and Directing/TD’ing some shows and a couple times doing all three at the same time for shows that we were short on crew. This person has  been a part of my management team since I took the Broadcast and Streaming Manager position here at Valpo. All crew members look up to this person for his knowledge and leadership. His editing skills on all the special pieces that we produce for our ESPN productions are top notch and highly talked about. 

It is my honor and pleasure to present Corwin Leverich with the very first Manager of the Year Award for ESPN Valparaiso University Productions! Corwin is such an amazing person and is truly appreciated by me and all of the ESPN Valparaiso University Productions Family! Thank you very much Corwin!!!