Jim O'Connell Award

USBWA Jim O'Connell Award

The USBWA has annually recognized exemplary beat reporting each year since 2020 in the name of the late legendary Associated Press writer Jim O'Connell. The award is part of the association's annual Best Writing Contest. Affectionately known as "OC," O'Connell was a USBWA president, a member of the USBWA Hall of Fame and earned the Curt Gowdy Print Media Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's award given to media.

O’Connell served as the AP’s national college basketball writer from 1987 until shortly before his passing in 2018. He was a fixture at all the sport’s major events, from the Final Four to the Big East Tournament to the Maui Invitational. He covered eight Olympics and worked as a desk supervisor, overseeing the entire sports operation for the world’s largest news-gathering organization.

2020: Terry Hutchens
2021: Mike Waters
2022: Emily Giambalvo
2023: Geoff Grammer