Vol. 45, No. 4 May 2008 .pdf version
Dick Jerardi: Oscar! Oscar!
Joe Mitch: Breakfast another huge success
Bryan Burwell: Should USBWA question HOF choices?
Steve Carp: Try taking a break this summer
Men's Final Four sportswriting seminar winner
Writing contest deadline: June 15

Joe Mitch

Final Four breakfast another huge success

By JOE MITCH / Executive Director

The USBWA had another great turnout for its player and coach of the year breakfast at the NCAA men's Final Four in San Antonio, with nearly 300 people in attendance on a Friday morning, the day before the semifinals.

Hosted by the San Antonio Sports Foundation, the breakfast honored North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough as player of the year and Drake's Keno Davis as coach of the year.

Hansbrough received the Oscar Robertson Trophy as player of the year from USBWA President Andy Katz and "The Big O" himself. Davis was presented with the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award. North Carolina Coach Roy Williams followed and spoke about how fortunate he was to be able to coach a player of Hansbrough's caliber.

The USBWA Awards Breakfast in San Antonio drew a packed house.
(Photo: David Smith)

Earlier in the breakfast, the USBWA honored Josh Porter of LSU-Shreveport as recipient of this year's Most Courageous Award. The audience sat in silence as Porter's coach, Chad McDowell, told the story of how Porter broke the vertebrae in his spinal column in an on-court collision with a teammate the year before. Porter could easily have died from the injury, yet fought back and 10 months later returned to the team and finished his senior season, earning NAIA all-America honors.

Among those in attendance at the breakfast were NCAA executive vice president Tom Jernstedt and various dignitaries from San Antonio, including Bob Coleman, who was honored for bringing the first of three Final Fours to San Antonio in 1993.

Proceeds from the breakfast helped support the San Antonio Sports Foundation's youth initiatives program, the USBWA's sports journalism scholarships and the National Kidney Foundation in honor of Oscar Robertson, who several years ago gave a kidney to his daughter, Tia, who was suffering with a kidney disease.

Other notes from the Final Four:

The USBWA's sportswriting workshops at the men's Final Four and the women's in Tampa were huge successes. Nearly 100 college and high school students participated at Trinity University in San Antonio, and some 65 students attended the women's seminar at the University of South Florida. Malcolm Moran moderated the men's workshop. His associate, Marie Hardin of Penn State, was the women's moderator, with assistance from Mel Greenberg of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The USBWA awards $1,000 scholarships to one student participating in each workshop based on winning entries in a writing contest. Students were asked to write about various events at each Final Four and submit their stories for a chance to win the scholarships.

USBWA President Andy Katz was a workhorse at the Final Four. He was busy handling not only his duties as senior college basketball analyst for espn.com but also serving on the sportswriting workshop panel, presenting the coach and player of the year awards at the Final Four breakfast and presiding over a breakfast meeting with the NCAA basketball committee followed by the annual USBWA awards brunch and business meeting. Andy had a stellar year as USBWA president, tackling issues head-on and addressing the needs and concerns of the membership in a timely fashion throughout the season.

Membership news: Joe Gergen of Newsday, coming off three years as a USBWA board member, and past president Robyn Norwood of the Los Angeles Times announced to friends they are taking early retirement from their papers. Also, board member Randy Holtz has resigned from the Rocky Mountain News.

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