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Vol. 50, No. 4 May 2013 .pdf version
Monday morning breakfast among most memorable
By JOE MITCH
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Honors Breakfast at the NCAA men's Final Four in Atlanta was one of the most memorable in recent years.
The USBWA inducted three new members into the association's Hall of Fame, paid a video tribute to the Most Courageous Award winner, honored a former NCAA administrator for his service to the organization and recognized one of the association's young members for journalistic excellence.
Inducted into the USBWA Hall of Fame were USA Today columnist and veteran sportswriter Mike Lopresti and two retirees Frank Bilovsky, formerly with the Rochester Democrat and Philadelphia Bulletin, and Lenox Rawlings, last year's USBWA president who recently retired from the Winston Salem-Journal after 42 years in the newspaper business.
Each inductee was introduced by those who knew them well and acknowledged them for their contributions to sports journalism. Those giving introductions were Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register for Rawlings and past presidents and Hall of Fame members Bob Hammel for Lopresti and Dick "Hoops" Weiss of the New York Daily News for Bilovsky.
Lopresti was recognized for being one of the pioneers for USA Today. Weiss credited Bilovsky for writing stories that helped make Big Five basketball a Philadelphia treasure. "Growing up, he was the reason I wanted to become a sportswriter," Weiss said. Rawlings summed things up the best and could have been speaking for all of the inductees when it was his time to speak at the podium: "This a five-star day in my career," he said.
The USBWA honored Boston College assistant athletic director for media relations Dick Kelley with the Most Courageous Award. Kelley, who is suffering from ALS, was unable to attend the breakfast. A video paid tribute to Kelley for his work serving the media and showed him receiving the award from the USBWA at a BC home game and getting hugs from BC players after a last-second, game-winning shot. Kevin Armstrong of the New York Daily News, a USBWA district representative, spoke glowingly about Kelley. BC basketball coach Steve Donahue followed with remarks about how Kelley still tries to do his job despite his illness.
Past presidents and Hall of Famers Malcolm Moran and Jim O'Connell (Associated Press) oversaw presentation of the Katha Quinn Award to Greg Shaheen, former executive vice president for alliances and championships at the NCAA and head of the association's basketball tournaments. Shaheen was an advocate for the media who created a mock-tournament bracket to educate the media and fought to keep courtside seats for the media. "I'm humbled by this award," said Shaheen.
The award is named in memory of Katha Quinn, a former sports information director at St. John's. Moran showed a video of Katha receiving an award from the USBWA at the 1988 NCAA Final Four in Kansas City for her service to the media and dedication to the job while undergoing experimental chemotherapy treatments for liver cancer. She died one year later.
USBWA president John Akers (Basketball Times editor and publisher) presented Myron Medcalf of espn.com with the Rising Star Award, recognizing USBWA members under 30 years of age who have excelled as sportswriters and show promise for the future.
The final presentation of the morning was the Ray Marquette Award to Akers for his outstanding leadership this past year as president. Marquette is a former executive director of the USBWA who was killed in a plane crash in 1977.
SPORTSWRITING SEMINAR: The USBWA had nearly 60 college students attend a sportswriting seminar at the NCAA men's Final Four. Organized by Moran, director of the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University, the seminar featured panelists speaking on issues related to new media and careers in sports journalism. The seminar was followed by a news conference to announce Trey Burke of Michigan as recipient of the 2013 Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy.
NEW SLATE OF OFFICERS AND BOARD MEMBERS: Named as officers for the USBWA for 2013-14 are Kirk Wessler, Peoria Journal-Star, president; Dana O'Neil, espn.com, first vice president; Frank Burlison, second vice president; and Pat Forde, Yahoo! Sports, third vice president.
Named to the USBWA board of directors and district representatives are Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire (Mass.) Gazette; Kevin Armstrong, New York Daily News; Steve Wiseman, Durham Herald-Sun; Brendan F. Quinn, Knoxville News-Sentinel; Mike Lopresti, USA Today; John Bohnenkamp, Burlington Hawk Eye; Randy Rosetta, New Orleans Times-Picayune; Ryan Thorburn, Boulder Daily Camera; Bruce Pascoe, Arizona Daily Star; Chris Dortch, Blue Ribbon College Basketball; Eric Prisbell, USA Today; Mel Greenberg, women's coordinator; Chris DiSano, College Chalktalk, new media liaison; and Brian Morrison, Atlantic Coast Conference, conference SID representative.
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