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Vol. 53, No. 3 • March 2016 • .pdf version
Katha Quinn winner enjoys making our jobs better
By JIM O'CONNELL / The Associated Press
Why are we giving David Worlock an award? He admits he has one of the best jobs in the world and he gets to deal with the wonderful people in our profession. Worlock deserves the Katha Quinn Award as much as any recipient in the almost three decades of it being presented.
The award is named for Katha Quinn, the one-time sports information director at St. John's who passed away in 1989 after a long fight with cancer.
She would be pleased with the selection of Worlock, the NCAA's primary media contact for the Division I men's basketball championship. Like Katha, David is an invaluable asset to those covering the tournament. And also like Katha, he is so well-liked by those he works with.
Worlock was born in Herkimer, N.Y., not far from Syracuse. His father, Ren, was a career military man and that meant David was a military brat and that he spent most of his time from grade school to high school in Augsburg, Germany.
Though he was far from the action, he and his family were true college basketball fans and that meant March was the most special of all the months.
"I think I grew up the biggest fan of college basketball and I can remember being about 5 years old and my family being excited because Syracuse made the Final Four in 1975," Worlock said. "When I was 9, Magic and Larry came around and basically after that my life always involved March Madness."
During his college days at Henderson State in Arkansas – his famous classmates were Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn and PGA Tour member Ken Duke – he would schedule his classes in the second semester to be early so he could watch both days of the opening rounds without having to cut class.
Worlock started at the NCAA in 2001 and is looking forward to his 11th tournament. It's not all laurels and handshakes.
"The credential requests for the early rounds is public so people apply figuring it's worth a shot," he said. "I read each one and hit deny when someone says they covered three of their brother's high school games."
He receives plenty of feedback about the tournament and he quickly says among his favorites is when somebody says the media buffet was a problem because the hamburger was undercooked.
"I want to say, 'You could walk up to the concession stand and pay for something,' but I would never say that," he said, laughing.
He's also the ultimate wedding planner. He must seat over 1,000 media people and there's no kids' table. Everybody wants the front row, right near the happy couple.
Worlock said his credo for working the tournament is: "We can't make everybody happy but we can try."
There is one person Worlock takes care of every Final Four. That's his father, who has attended all but one of the national semifinals since his son took over. Soon, there will be two more people to cater to, his 6-year-old and 4-year-old sons.
"I am looking forward to them being a little older so they can enjoy it with me," Worlock said. "My older son knows Daddy works at the Final Four."
And if you're looking for Worlock right after the championship game he'll be looking up at the big screen while One Shining Moment plays with the montage of highlights from the whole tournament.
"I love watching One Shining Moment, but then come the credits and I get sad," Worlock said. "Once the song is over, we have to wait seven months for next season to start and 11 months until the tournament comes around again."
Sounds like this guy really likes his job. And we're giving him an award? Yes. He and Katha both enjoyed their jobs and made ours better.
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