An Ambassador for Youth Journalism International
Mike Soltys, who was ESPN’s first college intern in 1980, serves as vice president, U.S. network communications, responsible for strategic planning for publicity for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS and ESPNU, and ESPN on ABC. He was promoted to this position in 2003.
In October 2005, Soltys was named Media Relations Professional of the Year by PR News.
His responsibilities also include oversights of public relations of ESPN Regional TV, ESPN Radio, ESPN the Magazine, events owned by ESPN and the communications department’s listings, viewer response, photography and new media areas.
After graduating from the University of Connecticut magna cum laude in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Soltys joined ESPN’s communications department fulltime as a staff assistant. He was later promoted to communications representative, coordinator of programming information and manager of programming information.
In 1992, he was named director of communications, directing the day-to-day operation of the department’s programming media relations activities. He received a master of arts degree in communications from the University of Hartford in 1994.
Soltys oversaw ESPN’s comprehensive 25th anniversary publicity campaign in 2004 that received 12 public relations awards, more than any other project in ESPN history. Included was an Award of Excellence from Dalton Pen, Platinum from LACP, Gold from the Mercury Awards and, as part of an overall communications department honor by PR Week, when the group was named the Large Corporate Communications Team of the Year for 2004.
Soltys and his family reside in Southington, Connecticut, where his community involvement includes serving on the Board of Directors of Bread for Life and being active in his church. He also provides consultation for the Imagine Nation Children’s Museum in Bristol, an organization he once served on its Board of Directors. In 2011, the Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce presented him with the Gail DePaolo Community Spirit Award for his “belief in giving back and helping others”
Previously, Soltys has served on the Board of Directors of the Bristol Family Center and the Southington Chamber of Commerce, the marketing committee of the local United Way chapter and on a sports information/marketing Advisory Board for the University of Hartford. He also coached several youth sports, including 11 seasons of basketball.