Football Writers Association of America Jan. 4, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
Chicago native brings 19 years of experience to organization

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (FWAA) – The Orlando Sentinel's Alan Schmadtke became the FWAA's 62nd president on this morning during the association’s annual award breakfast before the FedEx Orange Bowl's national title game.


Schmadtke, 42, is the fourth FWAA president from a paper in the state of Florida, following Tom McEwen (Tampa Tribune, 1973), the late Bill McGrotha (Tallahassee Democrat, 1990) and Jack Hairston (Gainesville Sun, 1982).

Schmadtke, a 1984 Tennessee graduate, has been a writer or editor for the Sentinel for nearly 19 years and has definite opinions on the way college football should be covered.

Although born in suburban Chicago, Schmadtke was raised in Knoxville, Tenn., and has had a passion for college football since age 9. That's when he attended his first college football game – a Tennessee victory over Tulsa at Neyland Stadium in 1971.

He eventually melded his love for college football with journalism.

Less than a month out of school, he took a job at the Alabama Journal, where he covered high schools, small colleges, Alabama and Auburn football and was a general-assignment reporter and occasional columnist.

At age 23, Schmadtke became the youngest sports editor in Alabama when he took over a staff that put out an afternoon paper during the week and merged with the Montgomery Advertiser to produce weekend papers.

By 1986, Schmadtke had moved to the Sentinel and met his wife during his first day of work at the paper's Lake County bureau, where he covered high schools and Stetson. In 1989 he moved to Orlando and began covering Central Florida and eventually became the paper’s lead college reporter.

In 1991, he moved from Orlando to Tallahassee and covered Florida State until mid 1999. Schmadtke wrote the official book of the Seminoles' championship season in 1993.

When the Seminoles played for a national title at the 1999 Fiesta Bowl, Schmadtke watched alma mater Tennessee claim its first national title in 47 years by beating the Seminoles. He then covered the losing locker room in his final game as a Florida State beat reporter.

Schmadtke tried his hand at management as an assistant sports editor for two seasons. He was charged with supervising content for Florida State, Central Florida, Orlando Magic and golf beats and coordinated the department’s hefty group of freelance correspondents.

But Schmadtke was lured back to the press box when he coordinated coverage for the 2001 BCS title game at the Orange Bowl. So in 2001, he gave up his assistant sports editor's title and returned to covering Central Florida, which now has Division I-A football and Division I basketball programs.