USBWA (ST. LOUIS) Three sportswriters, including the first woman president of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), have been voted into the association's Hall of Fame, it was announced today by USBWA Executive Director Joe Mitch.
Elected to the USBWA Hall of Fame are Robyn Norwood, formerly with the Los Angeles Times; Dick Jerardi, national college basketball writer at the Philadelphia Daily News; and George Lapides, former sports editor of the Memphis Press-Scimitar.
The three will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the USBWA's annual honors breakfast during this year's NCAA Men's Final Four in Dallas on April 7.
Norwood served as president of the USBWA in 2004-05, the only woman to ever hold that position. She covered two Olympic Games (Atlanta and Sydney) and 11 NCAA Final Fours as national college basketball columnist and reporter for the Los Angeles Times from 1986 to 2008.
Now an independent journalist, Norwood has written stories for several major newspapers and has served as an expert guest on college basketball on regional and national TV and radio shows.
"Robyn Norwood is a sports editor's dream," said Jim Cohen, former assistant managing editor for sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer. "She is a five-tool player, equally talented in writing game stories, news stories, short features, longer features and enterprise stories. Plainly put, she gets it."
Jerardi served as president of the USBWA in 2008-09. He joined the Philadelphia Daily News in 1985 and since then has covered 26 NCAA tournaments and 21 Final Fours. He was voted Pennsylvania sportswriter of the year in 2001 by the National Association of Sportswriters and Broadcasters.
In addition to writing for the Daily News, Jerardi also serves as a color analyst on radio broadcasts of Penn State basketball games.
"In a city as devoted to college basketball as Philadelphia, there is really just one person who is considered the authority on the sport and that's Dick Jerardi," said ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil, USBWA first vice president who once worked with Jerardi on the same sports staff at the Daily News. "He knows the Big 5 as well as the Big Ten, the game's history as well as its present, and writes in a distinctive style all his own that Daily News readers have enjoyed for nearly 30 years."
Lapides is a long-time media member in Memphis, having spent nearly 54 years covering sports, including the University of Memphis and the SEC. He was sports editor and columnist of the Memphis Press-Scimitar from 1967 until the newspaper closed in 1983 during which time he covered every NCAA Final Four and several since then for TV and radio stations in Memphis. He also was sports director at WREG-TV in Memphis.
Lapides is considered to be a pioneer among sportswriters making the leap from print to talk radio. Now in its 42nd straight year on the air, his Sportstime show in Memphis is the longest-running sports radio program in the nation.
"George is the finest, most widely-sourced reporter I've ever met," said Mike DeCourcy, college basketball columnist at the Sporting News who got to know Lapides when DeCourcy worked at the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "His circle of contacts includes nearly every big name in college basketball in the Southeast. Throughout his entire career, he has performed at a Hall of Fame level."
The selection of Jerardi, Lapides and Norwood brings to 68 the number of members in the Hall of Fame, which was established in 1988 to honor past and present USBWA members for their achievements in sports journalism covering college basketball or for their contributions to the USBWA.
Members are voted on by a committee comprised of past inductees and current officers of the USBWA. To be eligible for consideration, individuals must have worked a minimum of 20 years as a sportswriter or college athletics administrator.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Today, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.
• USBWA Hall of Fame