ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Legendary writers Bill Connors,
Mickey Furfari and Art Spander have been elected to
the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame, it
was announced today by USBWA Executive Director Joe Mitch.
Connors, Furfari and Spander will be inducted into the USBWA's
Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the annual USBWA awards breakfast
on April 4 in Houston during this year's NCAA Men's Final Four. The three
writers comprising this year's Hall of Fame class combine for more
than 150 years in the sportswriting profession.
Connors, who died in 2000, was an iconic columnist in Oklahoma.
He spent 47 years at the Tulsa World, where he was the sports editor
Furfari has covered West Virginia athletics for 65 years, through
the basketball eras of "Hot Rod" Hundley, Jerry West, Rod Thorn and
Fred Schaus. At 87, he is retired after 40 years as a daily sportswriter
for the Dominion Post but still writes columns for a syndicate of
several West Virginia newspapers.
Spander began his career as a news writer for United Press International
in 1960, moved to sportswriting for the Santa Monica Outlook in
1963. He went to work for the San Francisco Chronicle in 1965 and
was named the lead columnist for the San Francisco Examiner in 1979.
At 72, he continues to write for the Examiner and RealClearSports.com
and will be attending his 28th consecutive Final Four.
The soft-spoken Connors was a native of Canadian, Okla., who became a graduate
of Oklahoma State. He was best known for writing columns that were
clever, informative and fair to their subjects.
He became friends with many sports legends, including Henry Iba,
Eddie Sutton and Bob Knight, from the college basketball world.
When Connors died, Sutton told the Tulsa World, "I guess of all
the sportswriters I've ever seen, he certainly was the fairest
and most accurate. I never met anybody that didn't like Bill Connors."
Former UTEP coach Don Haskins said, "He was living proof that
you could write without harassing people. People loved to read Bill
Connors. All coaches loved Bill Connors."
Connors was an 11-time winner of Oklahoma's Sportswriter of
the Year and was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame
Furfari has covered West Virginia athletics since graduating
from the school in 1948. The state's dean of sportswriting was voted
West Virginia sportswriter of the year five times.
Though he is "retired" on Aug. 1, 1989, and is legally blind,
Furfari continues to write a column for a syndicate of West Virginia
newspapers. He recently completed the book Mickey's Mountaineer
Memories. In the introduction, West called Furfari "a state treasure."
"There simply aren't enough Mickey Furfaris around," West once
said, "and none that I see on the horizon."
Furfari spent 40 years from 1949-89 at the Morgantown
Dominion Post as
a managing editor, sports editor, Sunday editor and executive sports
Furfari was also the co-sports editor of the Daily Athenaeum
in 1946-47. He worked for the Associated Press in Huntington, W.
Va., before serving in the U.S. Army in World War II from 1943-46.
He was the assistant sports editor at the Charleston, W. Va., Gazette
Spander also rubbed shoulders with legends. He met John Wooden
in the coach's temporary office when Spander was a freshman at UCLA
Spander was awarded the McCann Award in 1999, earning him a place
in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His golf coverage earned him the
Masters Major Achievement Award in 2007, the PGA of America Lifetime
Achievement Award in 2009. This year, he won the UCLA Award for
Professional Achievement in journalism and the Tournament Golf Journalism
Besides his streak of Final Fours, Spander also has covered 44
consecutive Masters, 34 Super Bowls, 41 U.S. Open golf tournaments,
30 British Open golf tournaments and 26 Wimbledons. He also has
attended 58 consecutive Rose Bowls, initially as a spectator and
vendor at the last 48 as a journalist.
Spander also has written or co-authored three books and is a
frequenter commentator on sports talk radio and a contributor to
various sports magazines.
The USBWA Hall of Fame was established 23 years ago in 1988.
Since its inception, 56 individuals have been inducted into the
USBWA Hall of Fame.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in
1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers.
With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential
organizations in college basketball. For more information on the
USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch
• USBWA Hall of Fame