Tim May Wins FWAA Beat Writer of Year Award

DALLAS –Veteran Columbus Dispatch reporter Tim May has been named  the winner of the 2014 FWAA Beat Writer of the Year Award for his superb coverage of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who played in the first College Football Playoff  Title Game here.

The FWAA’s Beat Reporter of the Year Award is based on a comprehensive look at the way a person covers the beat and encompasses all categories of coverage over a period of time. May was recognized at the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast at the media hotel in Dallas on Tuesday, the morning after the Buckeyes faced Oregon in the title game at AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington.

May has been a sports writer at the Columbus Dispatch since 1976, covering all manner of events from a few Super Bowls to a few national Putt-Putt tournaments. He has been on the Ohio State beat since 1984.

“I’m honored and humbled to receive this award,” May said. “Most of us local guys just bang away, day to day, but covering Ohio State football for 31 seasons has been quite the rollercoaster ride, from the Rose Bowl to the toilet bowl and back up again. As I’ve always said, I’d have the greatest job in the world if I didn’t have to write.”

May was born in, and lived 11 years in, Demopolis, Alabama, which is why he grew up a fan of the Crimson Tide. He spent the next 11 years in Lufkin, Texas where he became the then-youngest sports editor of a Texas daily newspaper at age 19. He moved to Columbus in 1976 to attend Ohio State.

What at first was a part-time job at the Dispatch to gain pocket cash quickly turned full-time, and then some. Since then he has covered high schools, small colleges, the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals (at the same time), auto racing, a little bit of golf (several Memorial Tournaments and the 1984 Masters, among others), the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and boxing, most notably, Buster Douglas’ stunning knockout of Mike Tyson in Tokyo in 1990, which Tim predicted (but hey, he’s from Columbus, so …).

May has covered five Ohio State coaches, one national championship (2002), several near-misses, and he has been to almost every bowl game. He has covered the Indianapolis 500 since 1985, including Bobby Rahal’s dramatic 1986 triumph for his cancer-stricken team owner Jim Trueman who died 11 days later, and Danica Patrick’s rocket ride to fame there in 2005. He covered Duke’s Christian Laettner’s winning shot in 1992. He also appears regularly on WBNS-TV’s Wall-to-Wall Sports show and various radio shows.

May and his wife Suzy of 32 years live west of Hilliard, where they’ve raised two sons (Kyle, Cory), a daughter (Caroline), and also provide room and board for three horses, two rabbits, three cats, one dog and two parakeets.

“Tim May has taken on one of the nation’s most challenging beats with the same energy and tenaciousness that he brought to his first day at the Dispatch,” said Malcolm Moran, FWAA Board member and Director of the National Sports Journalism Center. “He has been a friend to desperate, out-of-town reporters and a great supporter of students trying to get into the business. He has had a Woody-like length of service—with a better winning percentage.”

The previous winners of this award are the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Doug Lesmerises in 2011; co-winners Mark Blaudschun, formerly of The Boston Globe, and Steve Wieberg, formerly of USA Today, in 2012; and the San Jose Mercury’s Jon Wilner in 2013.