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Vol. 44, No. 4 • May 2007 • .pdf version
Honored, humbled by Katha Quinn Award
By JOE MITCH / Executive Director
Being presented with the Katha Quinn Award by the USBWA Board of Directors at the recent NCAA Final Four in Atlanta will go down as one of the great moments in my career.
Frankly, I was overwhelmed with emotion when Malcolm Moran presented me with the award, named in honor of the former St. John's University sports information director who passed away 19 years ago following a courageous battle with cancer.
I feel honored to join a distinguished group of professionals who have been recognized by the USBWA over the years for their commitment to working with and being a friend of the media.
People like Skeeter Francis of the ACC; Roger Valdiserri of Notre Dame; Rick Brewer and Steve Kirschner of North Carolina; Bill Hancock and Jim Marchiony of the NCAA; Tim Tolokan of Connecticut; Mike Tranghese of the Big East; Craig Miller of USA Basketball; Al Shrier of Temple; Wayne Duke of the Big 10; and my associate at the Missouri Valley Conference, Jack Watkins ... individuals who have earned the respect and trust of the media.
During my acceptance speech, I wanted to give thanks to those who have helped me in my life – my wife Sue who fortunately likes sports as much as I do; my employer – the Missouri Valley Conference and Commissioner Doug Elgin, who see the value in an association with the USBWA and understand my loyalty to the organization; and finally, my mentors from my college days at Michigan State, Fred Stabley and Nick Vista, two giants in the SID profession.
Being associated with the USBWA for 27 years, the last 24 as executive director, has given me a unique perspective on the growth of the USBWA and its place in the college basketball landscape.
Today, thanks in large part to the work of Tom Shatel and the many fine presidents who preceded him, the USBWA has earned the respect of the NCAA that has reached unparalleled levels.
Never before have the working conditions for all print media been any better than they are now.
Sure, there are things that need to be worked out – wireless for one and for others, courtside seating, late-night start times for tournament games and the delay of up to an hour of the winning team getting to the interview room after the national championship game.
But the good thing is that the NCAA – thanks to Greg Shaheen and media coordinator David Worlock – is open to discussing these issues and working to resolve problems that affect the media, especially sports writers.
What has made my tenure with the USBWA so rewarding also has been the ability of the organization to give back to the sportswriting profession.
The USBWA has awarded over $25,000 in college scholarships to students looking to pursue a career in sports journalism.
The sportswriting seminar that is sponsored each year by the USBWA at the men's NCAA Final Four has been immensely successful and has grown to now be a part of the Women's Final Four as well.
This coming basketball season will mark the 52nd year of the USBWA's existence. As rich as the history of the organization has been, the future is even brighter for the USBWA.
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