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Vol. 44, No. 2 February 2007 .pdf version
Save a date for USBWA's Friday breakfast in Hotlanta
By JOE MITCH / Executive Director
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association will announce its national player and coach of the year winners at a breakfast during this year's NCAA Final Four in Atlanta.
The breakfast, scheduled for Friday, March 30, the day before the national semifinal games, will be held on the basketball court at Phillips Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks, in downtown Atlanta.
The breakfast will be open to the general public and figures to be one of the highlights of the Final Four weekend. The USBWA will present the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy and the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award at the breakfast. "The Big O" will be in attendance to help present the player of the year award.
This will be the third straight year that the USBWA has presented its player and coach of the year awards at a breakfast during the Final Four.
The first year was at the 2005 Final Four in St. Louis and was followed by a second breakfast in Indianapolis last year.
Both events were sellouts to over 500 people each. This year's breakfast will be hosted by Score Atlanta, a weekly newspaper devoted to covering sports both college and professional in the Atlanta area.
Score Atlanta will sell and handle ticket sales for the USBWA, handle publicity and marketing for the breakfast and handle all logistics of the event.
Past USBWA President Tony Barnhart, a sports writer and columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, recommended using Score Atlanta to work with the USBWA on the Friday morning breakfast.
Barnhart has agreed to emcee this year's event. He also served as emcee last year.
A portion of the proceeds from the breakfast will go to the local chapter of the National Kidney Foundation in honor of "The Big O." The Kidney Foundation is the charity of choice for Robertson, who donated a kidney several years ago to save the life of his daughter Tia, who was suffering from kidney disease.
The USBWA has donated over $5000 to the Kidney Foundation.
The Oscar Robertson Trophy is the nation's oldest player of the year award and the only one named after a player. Robertson, recognized by the NABC as the all-time greatest player of the 20th century, was the USBWA's first player of the year in 1959.
The USBWA renamed its award after Robertson in 1998. The trophy, in the form of a bronze statue of Robertson rebounding a basketball with his legs spread-eagled, is on permanent display in the foyer of Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
With the USBWA holding its player and coach of the year breakfast on Friday during Final Four weekend, the NCAA has agreed to move its annual confab with USBWA board members and past presidents from Friday to Saturday morning to avoid a conflict with the USBWA breakfast. For the past decade or so, members of the NCAA Division I men's basketball committee have met annually with the USBWA at a breakfast also to review media policies and discuss issues related to covering the NCAA tournaments.
But the NCAA recognized the importance of the Friday player and coach of the year breakfast to the organization, realizing that most of those attending a meeting with the NCAA also wanted to be at the player/coach breakfast but couldn't due to the conflict.
Greg Shaheen, NCAA senior vice president and tournament director, and NCAA media coordinator David Worlock, suggested the change and it was approved by the USBWA board on a recent conference call.
The USBWA is working on holding a sportswritng seminar at both the men's and women's Final Fours. Plans will be announced in the next issue of Tipoff. Journalism scholarships will be awarded to students who attend the seminars and cover various events at the men's Final Four in Atlanta and the women's championship in Cleveland.
A special "thank you" goes to Ted Gangi of Dallas for redesigning the organization's membership directory. Gangi, who oversees the USBWA's website, made the directory smaller in size but more user-friendly. Many long-time members have commented that it is the USBWA's best directory ever.
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