Vol. 43, No. 4 May 2006 .pdf version
Tom Shatel: Final Four seating issue is here
Joe Mitch: Second breakfast becoming a staple
Andy Katz: Friday breakfast will get bigger, better
Dick Jerardi: USBWA, NCAA committee listened
Best writing contest deadline is June 15

Joe Mitch

Second USBWA breakfast also becoming Final Four staple

By JOE MITCH / Executive Director

The USBWA's Monday morning breakfast on the day of the men's national championship game has become pretty much standard fare for the members of the organization and their guests who attend the event each year.

The breakfast has grown in popularity to where attendance is now well over 100 people. It is at this breakfast where the USBWA inducts the newest members into its Hall of Fame, honors the organization's most courageous award winner and recognizes various people in college basketball for their contributions to the sport.

The USBWA also has guest speakers appear at the breakfast to brief those in attendance about their college basketball-related organizations. This year's speakers included Jerry Colangelo of USA Basketball, John Doleva of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., and Burke Magnus of ESPNU. (ESPN is the primary sponsor of the breakfast, and the Basketball Hall of Fame is a presenting sponsor.)

When members think of the USBWA breakfast at the Final Four, the Monday morning one comes to mind.

But now, there is a second USBWA-hosted breakfast for members to think about when attending the Final Four and should not be confused with the Monday morning event.

The other USBWA breakfast is on Friday morning, the day prior to the national semifinals, at which time the USBWA honors the association's national player and coach of the year.

Started last year at the Final Four in St. Louis as a fundraiser for the organization to support the USBWA's scholarship program and underwrite various member services, this year's Friday morning breakfast drew a sold-out crowd of 370 people at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

North Carolina's Roy Williams was presented with the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award, and Gonzaga's Adam Morrison and Duke's J.J. Redick received the Oscar Robertson Trophy as co-winners of the USBWA's player of the year award.
It is the first time in the 50-year history of the USBWA that the organization has selected co-players of the year.

The breakfast also marked the unveiling of the Oscar Robertson Trophy display case that will be permanently displayed at Conseco Fieldhouse. The exhibit will feature a sculpture of Oscar patterned after the famous photograph of him, with legs spread-eagled, grabbing a rebound in game when he played at Cincinnati. A replica of the sculpture is now used as the trophy for the player of the year award.

Oscar, who first earned national fame playing for Indiana state prep champion Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, was present to unveil the display and had help doing it from another famous Indiana native son that morning Larry Bird.
Early in the program, the USBWA honored Indiana University's national championship teams of 1976 and 1981, marking the 30th and 25th anniversaries, respectively, of each team's NCAA title. The 1976 team is the last Division I national champion to go through the season unbeaten.

Several players from both teams were in attendance, including Quinn Buckner of the '76 Hoosiers and Landon Turner and Ray Tolbert from the '81 team. The USBWA provided each player with a personalized memento honoring them on their team's respective national championship and also presented Indiana University with a four-foot plaque that is slated to be hung inside IU's basketball arena, Assembly Hall, for the start of the 2006-07 season.

Another major event that the USBWA plans to continue each year at the NCAA Final Four is a sports-writing seminar for student journalists.

Indiana University's School of Journalism hosted this year's seminar on the IU campus, with some 60 students attending a two and one-half hour session.

Retired Bloomington Herald-Times sports editor and past USBWA president Bob Hammel moderated the seminar. Panelists were Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe; Malcolm Moran of USA Today; Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News; Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Billy Reed, retired columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal and Sports Illustrated; and Avani Patel of the Chicago Tribune.

Students attending the seminar were given assignments to write about various events during the Final Four that included team practices and news conferences and the NABC college all-star game with the Harlem Globetrotters. One student was given a credential to cover the national championship game.

A $1,000 college scholarship will be provided by the USBWA to one student whose story from the Final Four was judged the best overall in a writing contest.

The USBWA and the NCAA have entered into an agreement to co-sponsor the sports-writing seminar annually both at the men's Final Four and starting next year at the women's Final Four.

USBWA looking for longtime members: In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the USBWA would like to recognize those current members who have maintained membership in the organization the longest since the USBWA's inception in 1956. Since records dating back to the formative years of the USBWA are incomplete, members are asked to e-mail their names and years of membership to Joe Mitch, executive director, at mitch@usbwa.com.
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