DALLAS (FWAA) – USC's Tim Tessalone is the 41st winner of the
Bert McGrane Award
that is annually bestowed on a member of the Football Writers Association
of America. He has served college football for more than three decades
as the Trojans' Sports Information Director, helping writers in
their jobs as well as promoting the school's athletic teams--both
in exemplary fashion.
The McGrane Award, symbolic of the association's Hall of Fame,
is presented to an FWAA member who has performed great service to
the organization and/or the writing profession. It is named after
McGrane, a Des Moines, Iowa, writer who was the executive secretary
of the FWAA from the early 1940s until 1973.
Tessalone will receive the award during the FWAA's Annual Awards
Breakfast on Jan. 6, 2014, at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and
Spa, the media hotel for the VIZIO BCS National Championship game
that is played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
"I am humbled and honored to receive an award that not only is
named after a man who served the FWAA so well, but that has been
presented previously to icons who are well above me in stature and
ability," Tessalone said. "It is a privilege to be in their company.
Thank you to the FWAA membership, with particular gratitude to Chris
Dufresne (2013 FWAA President) and Mark Blaudschun (1999 FWAA President)."
Tessalone, a USC senior associate athletic director since 2012,
became the school's SID in 1984 and owns the longest tenure of any
SID in the school's history. He has worked 25 Trojan football bowl
games, including 11 Rose Bowls. Overall, he was worked more than
400 USC football games, including a streak of 243 consecutive from
1980 until missing 2000 Notre Dame contest because of broken ribs.
His current streak stands at 168 games since the injury.
"Tim, without a doubt, sets the sports information standard,"
said USC Athletic Director Pat Haden. "Fair, transparent, diligent,
and helpful. For me as an athletic director, his wise and thoughtful
counsel has been an enormous benefit. In the minds of all who have
worked with Tim at USC over the years, there could not be a more
deserving winner of the Bert McGrane Award."
Under Tessalone, the USC Sports Information office has received
a Super 11 Award in 2009, 2010 and 2011 from the FWAA for "excellent
media relations" (one of just two schools to be honored in each
of award's first three years).
"I can't think of anyone more deserving of this year's Bert McGrane
Award," said 2013 FWAA President Chris Dufresne. "Tim Tessalone
defines, to me, what a great sports information director should
be. He has deftly navigated his obligation and loyalty to his school/employer
with the highest quality of professionalism in dealing with journalists
trying to do their jobs. It is often a near-impossible tightrope
"Tim is the same, win or lose, year after year, coach after coach,
in good times and in crisis. To boil it down, Tim gets it. He knows
his job and understands our jobs. He has been, for more than three
decades, a familiar, reliable and important fixture in USC's athletic
Over the course of Tessalone's tenure, the Trojans have produced
40 national championship teams, 346 Olympians and 18 Academic All-American
first teamers. In football there have been 77 All-American first
teamers, 199 NFL draft picks and five Heisman Trophy winners.
Tessalone graduated in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in public
relations from USC. He and his wife, Trudi (USC '80), have three
children, sons Troy (USC ‘08) and Trevor (USC '10), and daughter,
Tori (USC '13).
"I am unsure why I am being recognized for doing what is, simply,
my job," Tessalone said. "SIDs are people who should be in the background.
It is not about us, it is about the coaches, student-athletes and
staff we promote and the media we service. I am blessed to have
worked beside many talented men and women over the years in the
USC Sports Information Office whose goal was the same as mine: providing
the best service possible to USC and to the media.
"I also am fortunate to have worked with head coaches who, most
of the time, understood the media's role and valued the concepts
of cooperation, access, good story lines and free speech.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football.
The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key
executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas
that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For
more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson
at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-713-6198.
Bert McGrane Award