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Vol. 50, No. 3 • March 2013 • .pdf version
USBWA continuing relationship with Naismith Hall of Fame
By JOE MITCH
The USBWA is pleased to welcome back the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as sponsor of the association's Best Writing Contest.
After a brief hiatus as sponsor of the writing contest, the Hall of Fame has committed to a three-year sponsorship agreement with the USBWA.
"We are proud to renew our partnership with the USBWA," said John Doleva, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame's sponsorship provides funding for cash awards and plaques that are given annually to contest winners in each of five categories (columns, spot news, investigative reporting, moderate-length feature and magazine-length stories).
The Hall of Fame also serves – along with ESPN – as a sponsor of the USBWA awards breakfast held on the morning of the national championship game at the NCAA men's Final Four.
The USBWA is also working with Doleva to resurrect an exhibit at the Hall of Fame museum in Springfield, Mass., that listed the names of all past presidents of the association, dating back to the USBWA's founding in 1956.
Doleva said the Hall of Fame museum is experiencing record growth, with attendance increasing by over 14 percent last year. Doleva attributes the increase to a "60 Days of Summer" promotion that featured something happening every day at the museum, such as clinics and book signings.
Exhibits such as biographies and memorabilia of the newest members of the Hall of Fame – as well as those already in the Hall and the numerous interactive displays at the museum – also help attract new and returning visitors. Every year, the Hall of Fame announces the newest class of inductees at the Final Four during a news conference following the USBWA's Monday morning breakfast.
The announcement always brings joy to those selected but disappointment – and sometimes controversy – to those who aren't.
"Joe O'Brien (former executive director of the NABC) used to say the cream always rises to the top and eventually those deserving will get into Hall," Doleva said.
Doleva said the Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to recognize the achievements of people at all levels in basketball – players, coaches, college, professional, women, men and international constituents.
"This is what sets the Basketball Hall of Fame apart from other Halls of Fame," Doleva said. "We address all aspects of the game. It's total representation. We recognize the entire game."
To be inducted into the Hall, an individual must receive 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee. Five special committees deal with specialized categories such as international basketball, early African-American pioneers, players and coaches from the old ABA and contributors.
In addition to those being inducted and introduced at this year's Final Four, the Hall also will announce the recipients of the Curt Gowdy Award for print and electronic excellence. Past award winners on the print side who are also in the USBWA Hall of Fame include Dave Dorr, Bob Ryan, Larry Donald, Jim O'Connell, Malcolm Moran, Alex Wolff and Dick Weiss.
The USBWA's Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy, the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award and the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award will be presented on Monday, April 15, at a College Basketball Gala in Oklahoma City.
The USBWA is partnering with a non-profit organization in Oklahoma (Access Sports) on the gala, with proceeds going to the Wayman Tisdale Foundation for disadvantaged youth and the National Kidney Foundation on behalf of Oscar Robertson.
The gala is a departure from previous years, when the USBWA split its awards presentations between two venues. The Robertson Trophy and Iba Award were presented at a Final Four breakfast, and the Tisdale Freshman Award was handed out 10 days later at a banquet in Oklahoma City in honor of Tisdale, an Oklahoma native and former Sooners and NBA star who passed away from cancer.
This year, the USBWA decided to bring presentation of all three of its awards under one roof by participating in the gala in Oklahoma City. In addition to the presentation of the USBWA player and coach of the year awards, a Humanitarian Award will be presented to Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. Past winners include ESPN's Dick Vitale and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
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