Vol. 56, No. 2 • January 2019 • .pdf version
INSIDE THIS ISSUE ...
David Teel: USBWA finds next leader in Malcolm Moran
Joe Mitch: Nearly four decades' worth of memories
Hall of Fame class had humble beginnings
Kidney donor Downey is Most Courageous
Villanova's Sheridan wins Katha Quinn Award
USBWA announces midseason watch list

Joe Mitch

Cherishing nearly four decades' worth of memories

By JOE MITCH
USBWA Executive Director
mitch@usbwa.com

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In my final few months before retiring as executive director, I've been asked what I've liked best about the job and what has been the most rewarding.

I shouldn't say "job," because it hasn't been that at all. It's been a privilege and an honor to be a part of this organization. Serving the interests of the members, putting them ahead of everyone else, has been a priority of mine every year, and I've never wavered from that.

What I'll miss the most is working with the writers I've come to know as friends in my 39 years with the USBWA (36 as executive director and three as Tipoff editor).

My proudest moments were seeing the joy in the faces of those we've honored every year, especially those inducted into the Hall of Fame. It remains one of the USBWA's most cherished awards.

I wiped away tears every year, it seemed, when we recognized the Most Courageous award winners at the Final Four and heard their remarkable stories of enor­mous physical challenges and debilitating hardships.

It's exciting every year to see our organization honor writers under 30 with the Rising Star Award and to recognize individuals for their service to the USBWA with the Katha Quinn Award for men and the Mary Jo Haverbeck Award for women.

The Dean Smith Award, established just a few years ago, brings national attention to the USBWA every year by honoring coaches who embody the spirit and values of the late legendary North Carolina coach.

I've often said the strength of the organization has been the presidents for their leadership. It has been an honor for me to present the Ray Marquette Award each year to the outgoing president of the USBWA.

We are grateful for the support of our partners such as ESPN, CoSIDA, the NABC and USA Basketball. Our relationship with the NCAA, while bumpy at times, con­tinues to improve. A major breakthrough this past year was the NCAA endorsing best practice recommendations to member schools for access, seating and security for writers.

The one sticky point is getting the NCAA to allow a USBWA rep inside the basketball tournament selection committee meeting room during the week of Selection Sunday. If the Football Writers can have a rep in the room while the College Football Playoff committee gathers information, then the NCAA should provide the USBWA with the same opportunity in basketball.

Finally, words cannot fully express my deep feelings for this organization and what it has meant to me. The USBWA has been a major part of my life for nearly four decades. I will miss the association and the people and will forever cherish the memories.

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