Football Writers Association of America Dec. 27, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
USC SID is 41st recipient of Hall of Fame recognition
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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 act.

"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 department."

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 or 972-713-6198.

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Bert McGrane Award