When Dave Lohse came out publicly as gay on Outsports in 2001, he had already been out in his personal and professional lives for almost a decade. Working in media relations for the University of North Carolina athletics department since 1979, Lohse knew the power of sharing his story publicly, and since then has mentored countless athletes and professionals in sports. His Outsports column, titled simply “It’s time to come out,” was one of the very first coming-out stories we ran on the site.

Now Lohse’s contributions are being met with deserved accolades, as he will be the recipient of two honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America at the group’s convention in Orlando this June.

Not only will Lohse be inducted into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame, he will also receive the Mary Jo Haverbeck Trailblazer Award for his leadership in diversity and inclusion.

“A passionate and tireless champion for the student-athletes and staff at UNC,” CoSIDA shared on their website, “he has raised tremendous awareness for the teams he works with, in particular for Olympic sports, while also being an advocate for awareness and acceptance of those in the LGBTQ+ communities.”

Lohse has made it a point to be a visible LGBTQ person in a college sports industry in which he says it can still be “tough” to come out.

“Over the years I was always willing to be visible, talk to the media and just celebrate being open,” Lohse said.

“I was honored to talk about being an openly gay man on stage when I won the Achievement Award from CoSIDA in 2016. Shortly after that CoSIDA formed its initial Diversity Committee and I was happy to serve on it for a couple of years, writing columns for the CoSIDA publication and serve as a moderator for a diversity panel at convention in 2018.”

We congratulate Dave on the incredible honors. With a career built on being true to who you are, they are well-deserved.

You can find Dave Lohse on Twitter @showtunesrock, or on Instagram @tarheellohse.