Outland, Nagurski Award watch lists featured on ESPNU tonight Reply

Pre-season watch lists for the FWAA’s two premier awards, the Outland Trophy and the Bronko Nagurski Award are being featured tonight on the Home Deport College Football Awards Preview Show, beginning at 8:30 p.m. EDT Friday  on ESPNU.

The Outland and Nagurski are among nine college football awards to be previewed on the show.

Click here to see the Outland watch list.

Click here to see the Nagurski watch list.

National Football Foundation details rule changes for 2016 season

As the 2016 season draws near, the National Football Foundation has partnered with Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating, to generate awareness for rule changes in college football.

Changes for the upcoming season involve:

  • Blocking Below the Waist
  • Input From a Medical Observer
  • Low Hits on the Passer
  • Outcome of a Suspended Game
  • Scrimmage Kick Formation
  • Sliding Ball Carrier: Defenseless Player
  • Starting the Clock Near the End of a Half
  • Targeting: An Expanded Role for Instant Replay
  • Tripping the Ball Carrier
  • TV Access Inside the Limit Lines
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct by a Coach
  • Use of Technology for Coaching
  • Experimental Rule:  Collaboration in Instant Replay

Click here to see a release from the NFF providing detail about each of these rule changes.

Barfknecht profiles Indiana candidate for Outland Trophy

outland trophy bwFormer FWAA President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald takes a look at Indiana’s impressive offensive line and Dan Feeney, a 6-foot-4, 311-pound guard who will start his senior season as a strong contender for the Outland Trophy, which goes to the nation’s top interior lineman.

Feeney is one of four fifth-year seniors expected to start on Indiana’s offensive line. Last season, in 475 called pass plays, he never allowed a sack. He also led the Hoosiers with 102 knockdowns.

CLICK HERE to read the entire story at omaha.com.

Funeral mass for Kensler will be Saturday in Wheat Ridge, Colo.

Tom Kensler

Tom Kensler

Former FWAA board member Tom Kensler will be remembered Saturday Aug. 6 at memorial services in Colorado.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Archdiocese of Denver Mortuary Chapel, 12801 W. 44th Avenue in Wheat Ridge, Colo.

Kensler suffered a brain aneurysm on July 6 at his home in Arvada, Colo., and died on July 22.

Kensler, 64, retired after a long tenure at the Denver Post in June 2015. He had previously worked at newspapers in Oklahoma and Texas.

1958 Outland Trophy winner Zeke Smith passes away

Zeke Smith, 1958 winner of the Outland Trophy.

Zeke Smith, 1958 winner of the Outland Trophy.

Zeke Smith, winner of the FWAA’s Outland Trophy in 1958, died Friday at the age of 79.

Smith was a two-way player and a member of Auburn’s 1957 national championship team.

After Auburn, he played in the NFL in 1960 and 1961 and the CFL in 1962 and 1963. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1982.

Today Auburn’s top defensive player each season is given the Zeke Smith Award.

CLICK HERE to read Smith’s obituary at AuburnTigers.com.

Three FWAA members team up to launch new website, TMGcollegesports.com

TMG Flier 6-16-16Three FWAA members — Herb Gould and former presidents Chris Dufresne and Mark Blaudschun — launched TMGcollegesports.com, a new website devoted to college football, on July 18.

The following is from an email blast Gould sent out to announce the site.

I want everyone know this “retired” sportswriter is involved in a new college football website, TMGcollegesports.com. I could not resisting teaming up with two old buddies–Chris Dufresne (former L.A. Times), Mark Blaudschun (former Boston Globe).

We launched the site today (Monday, July 18) with three columns that should give readers an idea of where TMGcollegesports.com is headed. … Chris explains how he was at Ground Zero when Jim Harbaugh’s coaching career took off. I take a look at why people shouldn’t sleep on the Seven Dwarfs of the Big Ten. And Mark delves into Big 12 expansion and how it will impact the college-football landscape.

We’re going the paysite route, asking people for $19.95 for the entire season, with an early-bird rate of just $14.95.

Please join us.

And please tell people who love college football about us.

Needless to say, we’re going to have fun with this. We remember when sports was less of a business and more of a game—and as aging Baby Boomers, we’re going to do everything we can to keep it that way.

We not only are going to give our views on the always-wild ride of a college football season. In the blog format, we will have ample opportunity to present background and personal experiences from the past.

With more than a century of experience, we have a lot of stories to tell. And this format is perfect for that.

Our web designer, Chris wife, Sheila, has given us a very easy-to-navigate site.

We want you to be involved, too. Questions, suggestions, ideas for columns are welcome.

Please check us out.

Thanks for reading.

Best Regards,

Herb

Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list announced

88 players get consideration for defensive player of the year

Desmond King of Iowa, Shawun Lurry of Northern Illinois and Myles Garrett of Texas A&M headline the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List that includes 88 defensive standouts from all 10 Division I FBS conferences. King, Lurry and Garrett are the returning first-team Football Writers Association of America All-Americans.

The watch list also includes a pair of returning second-team FWAA All-Americans, Eddie Jackson from Alabama and Jourdan Lewis from Michigan.

The Southeastern Conference led all conferences with 27 players, followed by the Big Ten (13), Pac-12 (13), ACC (11), Big 12 (10), Mid-American (4), Mountain West (3), American Athletic (2), Conference USA (2), Sun Belt (1) and Independents (2). Alabama and LSU each had five players on the list, which included 31 backs, 29 linebackers, 21 ends and seven tackles.

Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. Once again, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week from early September through mid November. If not already on the watch list, the honored player will be added at that time. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Thurs., Nov. 17.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2016 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski Trophy finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner, the best defensive player in college football.

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Mon., Dec. 5 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte. In addition to the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Navy’s Chet Moeller, a member of the FWAA’s 1975 All-America Team and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.

 2016 BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST (88)

Montravius Adams, Auburn, DT
Jamal Adams, LSU, DB
Jonathan Allen, Alabama, DE
Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado, DB
Budda Baker, Washington, DB
Dante Barnett, Kansas State, DB
Derek Barnett, Tennessee, DE
Kendell Beckwith, LSU, LB
Vince Biegel, Wisconsin, LB
Quin Blanding, Virginia, DB
Ben Boulware, Clemson, LB
Richie Brown, Mississippi State, LB
Riley Bullough, Michigan State, LB
Josh Carraway, TCU, DE
Lorenzo Carter, Georgia, LB
Tony Conner, Ole Miss, DB
Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, LB
Jarrad Davis, Florida, LB
Hunter Dimick, Utah, DE
Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech, DE
Devonte Fields, Louisville, DE
Salamo Fiso, Arizona State, LB
Kylie Fitts, Utah, DE
Reuben Foster, Alabama, LB
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, DE
Davon Godchaux, LSU, DT
Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M, DE
Charles Harris, Missouri, DE
Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville, DB
Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss, DE
Treyvon Hester, Toledo, DT
Travin Howard, TCU, LB
Shane Huber, Massachusetts, LB
Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, DB
Adoreé Jackson, USC, DB
Eddie Jackson, Alabama
Derwin James, Florida State, DB
Malik Jefferson, Texas, LB
Josey Jewell, Iowa, LB
Sidney Jones, Washington, DB
Andrew King, Army, LB
Desmond King, Iowa, DB
Micah Kiser, Virginia, LB
Carl Lawson, Auburn, DE
Elijah Lee, Kansas State, LB
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, DB
Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State, DE
William Likely, Maryland, DB
Lowell Lotulelei, Utah, DT
Shawun Lurry, Northern Illinois, DB
Jamal Marcus, Akron, DE
Marcus Maye, Florida, DB
Malik McDowell, Michigan State, DT
Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
Fabian Moreau, UCLA, DB
Calvin Munson, San Diego State, LB
Lewis Neal, LSU, DE
Hardy Nickerson, Illinois, LB
Steven Parker, Oklahoma, DB
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, LB
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee, LB
TJ Ricks, Old Dominion, LB
Isaac Rochell, Notre Dame, DE
Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State, DE
Duke Shelley, Kansas State, DB
Cameron Smith, USC, LB
Weston Steelhammer, Air Force, DB
Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State, DB
Jamar Summers, UConn, DB
Cameron Sutton, Tennessee, DB
Jalen Tabor, Florida, DB
Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson, DB
Steven Taylor, Houston, LB
Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma, DB
Tanner Vallejo, Boise State, LB
Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA, DT
Azeem Victor, Washington, LB
Anthony Walker Jr., Northwestern, LB
Charles Walker, Oklahoma, DE
DeMarcus Walker, Florida State, DE
Carlos Watkins, Clemson, DT
Tre’Davious White, LSU, DB
Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh, DB
Marcus Williams, Utah, DB
Tim Williams, Alabama, LB
Deatrich Wise Jr., Arkansas, DE
Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech, DB
Chris Wormley, Michigan, DE

By conference: SEC 27, Big Ten 13, Pac-12 13, ACC 11, Big 12 10, Mid-American 4, Mountain West 3, American Athletic 2, Conference USA 2, Independents 2, Sun Belt 1.
By position: Tackles 7, Ends 21, Linebackers 29, Backs 31.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast over 722 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 12-day period this month. Seventeen of the association’s 22 awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates. Following is the complete 2016 preseason watch list calendar:

Tues., July 5: Bednarik Award / Maxwell Award
Wed., July 6: Mackey Award / Rimington Trophy
Thurs., July 7: Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award
Fri., July 8: Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy
Mon., July 11: Jim Thorpe Award
Tues., July 12: Butkus Award / Rotary Lombardi Award
Wed., July 13: Biletnikoff Award / Wuerffel Trophy
Thurs., July 14: Davey O’Brien Award / Doak Walker Award
Fri., July 15: Walter Camp Award / Paul Hornung Award

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE TOUCHDOWN CLUB AND ITS SPONSORS

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

ACN, Inc.
Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications, energy and essential services for residential and business customers. ACN provides the services people need and use every day including home phone service, high-speed internet, wireless, television, home security and automation, computer support and natural gas and electricity. ACN operates in 24 countries with offices located throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. For more information, visit myacn.com. For information on ACN’s home-based business opportunity, visit acninc.com.

Florida East Coast Railway
FECR is a regional freight railroad that extends along a 351-mile corridor between Jacksonville, Fla., and Miami, Fla., with exclusive rail access to the Port of Palm Beach, Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) and the Port of Miami. For more information, visit fecrwy.com.

Electrolux
Electrolux is a global leader in appliances for household and professional use, selling more than 50 million products to customers in more than 150 countries every year. The company focuses on innovations that are thoughtfully designed, based on extensive consumer insight, to meet the real needs of consumers and professionals. Electrolux products include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, cookers and air-conditioners sold under esteemed brands such as Electrolux, Frigidaire, Kelvinator, AEG, and Eureka. In 2012, Electrolux had sales of $17 billion ($5.1 billion in North America) and 58,000 employees. The Electrolux North American headquarters is located at 10200 David Taylor Drive, Charlotte, NC 28262 in the University Research Park. For more information visit http://newsroom.electrolux.com/us/.

2016 Outland Trophy watch list unveiled

70 players get consideration for nation’s top interior lineman

The Football Writers Association of America announced its 2016 Outland Trophy Watch List on Friday, with 70 standout interior linemen from all 10 FBS conferences represented.

The SEC (12) led all conferences, followed by the Big Ten (11), ACC (10), Pac-12 (10), Big 12 (6), American Athletic (4), Conference USA (4), Independents (4), Mountain West (4), Mid-American (3) and Sun Belt (2).

The list includes 22 offensive tackles, 20 offensive guards, 17 defensive tackles and 11 centers. It can be trimmed or enlarged during the regular season as players emerge or drop out of play.

The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are a part of the annual FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects a 26-man first team and eventually the three Outland finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner. Only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.

2016 OUTLAND TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST (70)

Montravius Adams, Auburn, DT
Brian Allen, Michigan State, C
Zach Banner, USC, OT
Adam Bisnowaty, Pittsburgh, OT
Chris Borrayo, California, G
J.T. Boyd East Carolina, C
Orlando Brown, Oklahoma, OT
Mason Cole, Michigan, C
Parker Collins, Appalachian State, G
Austin Corbett, Nevada, OT
Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, OT
Tyrone Crowder, Clemson, G
Dion Dawkins, Temple, OT
J.J. Dielman, Utah, OT
Pat Elflein, Ohio State, G
Dan Feeney, Indiana, G
Kyle Fuller, Baylor, C
Antonio Garcia, Troy, OT
Will Geary, Kansas State, DT
Avery Gennesy, Texas A&M, OT
Davon Godchaux, LSU, DT
Jay Guillermo, Clemson, C
Darius Hamilton, Rutgers, DT
Jon Heck, North Carolina, OT
Treyvon Hester, Toledo, DT
Daniel Isidora, Miami, G
Martez Ivey, Florida, G
Roderick Johnson, Florida State, OT
Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh, G
Jaleel Johnson, Iowa, DT
Jarron Jones, Notre Dame, DT
Alex Kozan, Auburn, G
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, OT
Ului Lapuaho, BYU, G
Nick Linder, Miami, C
Lowell Lotulelei, Utah, DT
Erik Magnuson, Michigan, OT
Damien Mama, USC, G
Conor McDermott, UCLA, OT
Malik McDowell, Michigan State, DT
Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame, OT
Taylor Moton, Western Michigan, OT
Storm Norton, Toledo, OT
Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte, DT
Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia, C
Ethan Pocic, LSU, C
Billy Price, Ohio State, G
Greg Pyke, Georgia, G
Jake Replogle, Purdue, DT
Cam Robinson, Alabama, OT
Chase Roullier, Wyoming, G
Nico Siragusa, San Diego State, G
Dan Skipper, Arkansas, OT
Tashon Smallwood, Arizona State, DT
Tanzel Smart, Tulane, DT
Braden Smith, Auburn, G
Chris Taylor, Tulane, G
Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State, DT
Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech, G
Cameron Tom, Southern Miss, C
Jon Toth, Kentucky, C
Travis Tuiloma, BYU, DT
Clint Van Horn, Marshall, OT
Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA, DT
Dan Voltz, Wisconsin, C
Carlos Watkins, Clemson, DT
Chad Wheeler, USC, OT
Dylan Wiesman, Tennessee, G
Connor Williams, Texas, OT
Fred Zerblis, Colorado State, G

By conference: SEC 12, Big Ten 11, ACC 10, Pac-12 10, Big 12 6, American Athletic 4, Conference USA 4, Independents 4, Mountain West 4, Mid-American 3, Sun Belt 2.
By position: Offensive Tackles 22, Offensive Guards 20, Centers 11, Defensive Tackles 17.
Tackles, guards and centers are eligible for consideration; Candidates may be added or removed during the season

The list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on Thurs., Nov. 17. Five days later, three Outland Trophy finalists will be named by the FWAA. The winner of the 71st Outland Trophy – named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the 20th century – will be announced on live on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thurs., Dec. 8. For the second straight year, the show will air from the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be held on Jan. 11, 2017, in Omaha, Neb. This year, Oklahoma’s Greg Roberts, the 1978 Outland Trophy winner, will be honored and presented an Outland Trophy, which was not given in the era in which he won the award. In addition, former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, will receive the Tom Osborne Legacy Award at the same banquet.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast over 722 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit http://www.ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 12-day period this month. Seventeen of the association’s 22 awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates. Following is the complete 2016 preseason watch list calendar:

Tues., July 5: Bednarik Award / Maxwell Award
Wed., July 6: Mackey Award / Rimington Trophy
Thurs., July 7: Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award
Fri., July 8: Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy
Mon., July 11: Jim Thorpe Award
Tues., July 12: Butkus Award / Rotary Lombardi Award
Wed., July 13: Biletnikoff Award / Wuerffel Trophy
Thurs., July 14: Davey O’Brien Award / Doak Walker Award
Fri., July 15: Walter Camp Award / Paul Hornung Award

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

National Football Foundation seeks freelance writers for FootballMatters.org

Call for Football Writing Talent: FootballMatters.org

The National Football Foundation’s flagship media property, FootballMatters.org, is looking to expand its writing staff for the upcoming 2016 college football season.

Created by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, FootballMatters.org is an online destination dedicated to promoting the power of amateur football through exclusive features, columns, interviews, videos, special reports and series’, as well as breaking news, award announcements and original Hall of Fame content.

FootballMattersNEW1

The mission of FootballMatters.org is to focus on the stories that evoke the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal, character building and the drive for academic excellence that exemplifies many of the young men who play football and the families who support them.

Writers for FootballMatters.org will produce stories from all levels of college and high school football. You will be comfortable interviewing everyone from head coaches and athletic directors of the largest college programs on down to football moms at the small high schools. Our goal is to combine compelling writing, storytelling and interviewing with engaging topics that promote the good in the game of football.

Writers are expected to pitch 2-3 stories a week, as well as have an interest in covering one of the prime feature wells.

Ideal candidates will have extensive knowledge of amateur football, have a strong list of bylines, be very active on social media and be comfortable meeting deadlines. Recent college graduates with school paper experience are encouraged to apply.

This is a paid, freelance position.

Writers interested please send a cover letter, resume and links to relevant samples to: info@footballmatters.org.

 

Jack Bogaczyk retires, pens farewell column

Jack Bogaczyk on the Cam Henderson Center floor with one of his three NSSA West Virginia Sports Writer of the Year awards.

Jack Bogaczyk on the Cam Henderson Center floor with one of his three NSSA West Virginia Sports Writer of the Year awards.

Editor’s note: Longtime FWAA member Jack Bogaczyk retired June 30. Bogaczyk, a four-time FWAA writing award winner who worked the last four years as a web columnist and magazine editor for Marshall University Athletics, was a former sports columnist in Roanoke, Va., and Charleston, W.Va., (where he was also sports editor), as well as a sportswriter at newspapers in Binghamton, N.Y., and Covington, Ky. Bogaczyk and his wife, Carol, are relocating to Florence, Ky.

The following is a portion of his final column.

This is my last column for HerdZone.com and HerdInsider.com. As some readers are aware, I am retiring from the sportswriting profession into which I made a somewhat accidental entrance nearly 50 years ago, and today (June 30) is my last day of work. My wife, Carol, and I will be moving soon to northern Kentucky, which is “home” for us because we grew up there in the shadow of Cincinnati … but haven’t lived there in nearly 44 years of marriage.

In four-plus years with Marshall Athletics and Herd Insider, I have written more than 1,100 stories – this one is No. 1,103, to be exact. In my years behind the keyboard, I’ve seen a lot of big games, been a lot of great places and witnessed plenty of compelling moments … not to mention seen a lot of changes, like working behind a computer monitor rather than with typewriter and paper, or ending a story with a -30-.

Marshall Coach Doc Holliday and the Herd football team showed their appreciation to Jack Bogaczyk for his coverage on a rainy April Saturday to cap 2016 spring practice.

Marshall Coach Doc Holliday and the Herd football team showed their appreciation to Jack Bogaczyk for his coverage on a rainy April Saturday to cap 2016 spring practice.

I’ve also had the opportunity to mentor more than a few younger writers and publicists who have gone on to love the craft as much as I do. Helping our profession with such encouragement has been important to me and will remain so when I have the opportunity.

But what I liked most about what I was doing – then and now – is that it was different every day. Sports stories are a lot like fingerprints. Every game is different. Every story is different. Rarely is a situation you deal with quite the same as the day or week or year before.

It’s often live, taking place only yards in front of you, and there are times when you’re sweating like the participants – like when you have 20 minutes until deadline and you need to file a 650-word, no-quotes column on an NCAA Tournament title game that’s just ending.

But to me, what sports writing and sports public relations are mostly about is people. It’s about making a connection. When you’re writing a story and quoting someone, it’s about he or she letting you into their thoughts and/or their lives, and trusting you to tell their story … and whether good or bad, to get it right.

Huntington (W.Va.) Mayor Steve Williams (center) presents Jack Bogaczyk (left) with signage denoting that a traffic light on Third Avenue – adjacent to the Marshall University campus – was named in Bogaczyk’s honor on June 22, 2016. At right is Paul Swann, host of First Sentry Bank Sportsline on Huntington’s WRVC, where Bogaczyk was a Wednesday regular.

Huntington (W.Va.) Mayor Steve Williams (center) presents Jack Bogaczyk (left) with signage denoting that a traffic light on Third Avenue – adjacent to the Marshall University campus – was named in Bogaczyk’s honor on June 22, 2016. At right is Paul Swann, host of First Sentry Bank Sportsline on Huntington’s WRVC, where Bogaczyk was a Wednesday regular.

I have never forgotten that. I always tried to fulfill that responsibility. Yes, it’s good to be first with a story. But it’s great to be accurate. It’s paramount. The reader and the subject are counting on you. It’s OK to be tough, as long as you’re fair.

And in the good ol’ days when print was king, you couldn’t take it back. These days, you can take an online version down. Once a story was on the page, however, you couldn’t hit the “delete” key.

Most days over the years, I haven’t looked upon what I do as a job. It was a calling that turned into a passion. What I wrote about seemed to intrigue people, and so I tried to deliver something intriguing to them.

I wanted people to learn something from what I wrote. And I wanted to learn something while working background for a story and base my opinions on fact and go from there. If somebody wanted to know a reason why I wrote what I did, I wanted to have more than one reason to offer.

To me, writing about sports is what I always wanted my copy to be – compelling. I might be retiring, but I hope to continue writing about sports in some fashion until I can’t anymore. I may have lost some hair, may have lost some hearing, but I don’t want to lose my keyboard.

A lot of people deserve thanks, but the ones at the top of the list are you – the readers. Without readers, we’re nowhere.