‘Big John’ Wharff recipient of the 2014 Bill Nichols Award

AUSTINTOWN – ‘Big John’ Wharff of Marietta College is the fifth recipient of the Bill Nichols Award. was honored at the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Football Media Day on Wednesday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Bill Nichols Award was created to recognize a member of the media who has demonstrated an understanding and passion for amateur athletics, while covering the students and programs of NCAA Division III and the Ohio Athletic Conference.

Wharff was the voice of the Pioneers for nearly 30 years on various local radio stations including WMOA, WJAW and WBRJ. Best known around the OAC for his coverage of Marietta baseball, Wharff also covered football, men’s and women’s basketball, and OAC and NCAA Tournament softball games in the 90’s.

Wharff started his coverage of the Pioneers through his production company, Phase One Sports, and would go on to purchase WMOA (AM-1490). He owned and operated WMOA from 1985 until 1995, when he sold the station to his son Johnny.

Wharff served on the Division III World Series local organizing committee and the Marietta College Athletic Hall of Fame Committee for several years.

Wharff’s accomplishments are many, including two stints as the President of the Ohio Sportscasters Association. He started the Ohio State basketball radio network and served as the voice of the Buckeyes for five years. Big John was inducted posthumously into the Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and was named the Marietta College Athletic Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award winner in 1997.

Wharff pioneered radio coverage for small college athletics and Marietta College continues to be one of the few small colleges in the country to have 100 percent of its baseball games broadcast on commercial radio.

The OAC his honored to recognized Wharff for his long time dedication to Division III athletics and the Conference.