Football Writers Association of America August 2, 2001
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
FWAA member since 1947

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (FWAA) Longtime Miami Herald sports columnist Edwin Pope will be honored during the College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival on Aug. 10 as the 2000 winner of the FWAA's prestigious Bert McGrane Award. FWAA president Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World will make the official presentation at the Mayor's Breakfast at the Century Center.

College Football Hall of Fame

Pope, who has worked at the Herald for 44 years, received the honor at the FWAA's annual award breakfast and meeting last January in Miami. He has been a member of the FWAA since 1947 or six years after the organization was formed.

The McGrane Award goes to a member of the organization who has performed great service to the organization and the game of college football and is named after the association's long-time executive director.

Pope, 72, has covered college football since he was 15 years old and growing up in Athens, Ga.

"There's nothing like college football," said Pope, who, in recent years has the covered Miami, Fla., Hurricanes. "I cut my teeth on it. It was like a religion to me. Nothing else is even close. I never met a college football game I didn't like."

When he was 11 years old and living in Athens, Pope listened to the radio broadcast of Ted Husing calling Georgia Tech's 21-7 victory over Missouri in the 1940 Orange Bowl and kept a running account of the game. He took his typed story the next day to the Athens Banner Herald.

"I asked if they wanted to use the running story of the Georgia Tech-Missouri game," Pope remembers. "They said no. But they asked me, 'Did you type this? Do you want a job?' They put me to work covering small sports. When I was 12 and 13, I covered high school sports. When I was 15, they made the sports editor of the paper and I was covering the University of Georgia. I was the youngest sports editor in the nation." He immediately appeared in breakfast cereal commercials in newspapers from coast to coast.

Pope later worked for newspapers in Atlanta and wrote a best-selling book, "Football's Greatest Coaches," in 1954. It chronicled the careers of such coaches as John Heisman, Bobby Dodd, Dana Bible and Bernie Bierman. He made so much money off the book, he left Atlanta for Miami and never has left south Florida.

"I had a lot of fun doing it," Pope said. "Ed Sullivan promoted it on his show. It allowed me to quit the Atlanta Journal as Sports Editor and come to Miami."

Pope is one of sports journalism's most honored figures over seven decades. The Miami Herald sports editor was the youngest winner of the Red Smith Award (1989), the most cherished accolade in sports journalism. He is a member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame as well as the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. He has won a record four National Headliners Club awards as the nation's best columnist two of them 26 years ago and another record three Eclipse Awards for thoroughbred racing columns.

Atlanta Journal columnist Furman Bisher, a previous Bert McGrane winner and past FWAA president, says, "Pope was brushed at birth with a coat of exuberance that never wore off, and it shows in his writing." Ernest Hemingway was a self-declared Pope fan. Esquire Magazine named Pope one of 10 Super Scribes.

Pope graduated in 1948 from the University of Georgia, where he also served as sports information director. He worked for United Press and the Atlanta Constitution before becoming executive sports editor of the Atlanta Journal in 1954. He moved to the Miami Herald in 1956 and became sports editor in 1967.

He and his wife Eileen live on Key Biscayne.

Related link:
Bert McGrane Award