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
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
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.
• Bert McGrane Award