FWAA member and Austin radio personality Sean Adams dies Reply

Sean Adams, a business-trained, California-born athlete and FWAA member who transformed himself into a motivational speaker and one of Austin’s most unique, unstoppable sports radio voices, died Thursday after an apparent heart attack. He was 46.

There was a moment of silence before the Texas-USC game on Saturday night at The Coliseum in Los Angeles, and his seat in the pressbox was left vacant.

Below is a photo from John Bianco,  senior associate athletics director for football media relations, of Adams’ seat, and CLICK HERE to read the Austin American-Statesman’s story about his death.

From John Bianco: “Have a heavy heart on this game day. Thank you USC for the tribute to our friend Sean Adams. Thoughts and prayers are with his family & friends.‬ #RIP”

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Barnhart joins TMGcollegesports.com Reply

From TMGcollegesports.com

The second season of TMGcollegesports.com got a major jolt of adrenaline in August with the addition of Tony Barnhart, aka Mr. College Football, who agreed to become the fourth member of the band.

TMG, a subscription website dedicated to college football with side trips to all other sports, was founded in July of 2016 by three veteran scribes: Chris Dufresne, Mark Blaudschun and Herb Gould.

“I am more than thrilled to be working, not just with great writers, but with great friends,” Barnhart said of joining TMG. “I am honored to be a part of it.”

The addition of Barnhart gives TMG more than 150 combined years of journalism experience. Barnhart, Blaudschun and Dufresne are also all former FWAA Presidents.

Barnhart, who spent the bulk of his newspaper days at the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, is a multi-platform performer who is still heavily involved with the SEC Network and remains a highly-sought speaker on the Southern “talking season” circuit.

TMG just keeps growing. We added a regular weekly podcast this year and also a “Guest Lecturer” series with contributions (so far) from grizzled vets Tom Luicci and Wendell Barnhouse.

We think TMG is the best subscription bargain out there with a special “professional” rate for FWAA members at only $14.95 per year.

TMG: For more than the score.

2017 FWAA Best Writing Contest winners announced Reply

DALLAS — Three writers — Alex Scarborough and Jake Trotter of ESPN.com and Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports — each claimed two individual awards and Glenn Guilbeau of USA TODAY Network/Gannett Louisiana repeated as a first-place winner in the 25th Annual FWAA Best Writing Contest.

ESPN.com writers collected 10 individual or co-bylined awards, including 1-2-3 sweeps in the Game Story and Enterprise categories.

First-place winners will receive game balls, certificates and cash prizes. Second and third-place winners will get certificates and cash prizes. Honorable mention award recipients will receive certificates. All will be recognized at the annual FWAA Awards Breakfast on Jan. 8, 2018 in Atlanta.

GAME

First Place — Andrea Adelson, ESPN.com

Second Place — Alex Scarborough, ESPN.com

Third Place — Jake Trotter, ESPN.com

Honorable Mention — John Feinstein, Washington Post; Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports; Matt Fortuna, ESPN.com; Rich Scarcella, Reading Eagle

FEATURES

First Place —  John Crist, Saturday Down South

Second Place — Mike Vorel, South Bend (Ind.) Tribune

Third Place —  Nate Mink, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.)/Syracuse.com

Honorable Mention —  Alex Scarborough, ESPN.com; Jake Trotter, ESPN.com;  Daniel Uthman, USA TODAY

COLUMNS

First Place — Glenn Guilbeau, USA TODAY Network/Gannett Louisiana

Second Place — J.P. Scott, Athlon Sports

Third Place — Ryan McGee, ESPN.com

Honorable Mention — Matt Hayes, Bleacher Report; Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com

ENTERPRISE

First Place — David Ching, ESPN.com

Second Place — Mark Schlabach and Paula Lavigne, ESPN.com

Third Place — Kyle Bonagura and Mark Fainaru-Wada, ESPN.com

Honorable Mention — Harry B. Minium Jr., Norfolk Virginian-Pilot; Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports; Pete Thamel, Sports Illustrated; Michael Casagrande,  AL.com/Alabama Media Group; Jack Ebling and Joe Rexrode, Dog Ear Publishing; Andrew Greif, The Oregonian

FWAA VP Fortuna explains decision to go all in on The All-American

By Matt Fortuna of The All-American

FWAA Second Vice President

I had just gotten back from a Cape Cod getaway in July when my phone rang.

It was Stewart Mandel. You fellow college football writers may have heard of him.

He asked me if I had ever read The Athletic. In fact, I was already a Chicago site subscriber.

You can imagine, then, how his pitch to me about The Athletic’s college football vertical, The All-American, ended up going:

Short and sweet. As in, barely even necessary. 

I was all in. Allow me tell you why.

Like so many in this business — and especially on the college football beat — Stew and I had seen our jobs eliminated from our respective companies within the past year. Though I had been making a decent go of it as a freelancer, I, like many, wondered where all this was possibly leading.

Writing about sports was still the dream, yes, but what was the end game when it came to employment? So many reporters I looked up to had been cast aside as companies “pivoted to video” or prioritized sensationalism over substance.

The more I stepped back to canvass the landscape, the harder it was to find a place doing anything sustainable that I truly wanted to be a part of. So the day I got back from that vacation, I began to bargain with myself: Should I just get through this upcoming season by writing as much as absolutely possible, for as many outlets as possible, since there’s a decent chance that this might be it for me, at least as a full-time venture?

I had already inquired about multiple different paths (teaching, coaching, P.R.) with multiple different schools (grammar, high school), all in the hopes of giving myself a potential safety net should this broken model of journalism continue down its troubling path.

And then, in a poetic bit of timing, Stew called, telling me one of my favorite local sites’ plans for expanding its reach nationally. His pitch to me then is now my pitch to you, the readers and fellow writers wondering why you should pay to read about college football:

  • This subscription model allows us to devote all of our time and energy to strong written content. 
  • There are no ads. There are no auto-play videos. There is no clickbait. Our co-founders, Adam Hansmann and Alex Mather, have made this as clean and as easy of a reading experience as anyone could imagine, eliminating the stresses that come from the various gimmicks out there that slow your computer or phone.
  • Last, but not least: The Team, The Team, The Team. We brought aboard a pair of my former ESPN.com colleagues in Chantel Jennings and Max Olson. We landed Nicole Auerbach from USA Today and Chris Vannini from CoachingSearch.com. Oh, we also added the reigning Steve Ellis/FWAA Beat Writer of the Year, Jason Kersey, from SECCountry.com. And, in addition to Stew, we have managing editor Dan Uthman running the operation, something he did magnificently before at USA Today.

The best part of all of this? It’s almost time to launch. We go live this Monday, Aug. 28. Subscriptions to The Athletic will start at less than $5 a month and afford you access to not just our site but Ken Rosenthal for baseball, Seth Davis for college basketball and numerous local markets.

That means for a cup of coffee a month, you’ll get daily coverage from an eight-member, deep-sourced team spread across every region of the country. We’ve all been traveling the nation during camp to make sure you have quality content to read from Day 1. In those travels, we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive responses from coaches, SIDs and fans everywhere excited for this thing to take off.

We hope that they, and you, take the pledge and subscribe to The All-American.

It’s a much different kind of bargain — one that is too good to pass up.

Books: Dave Matter on Gary Pinkel

FWAA member Dave Matter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the author on a new book about recently retired Gary Pinkel, the winningest coach in Missouri football history. 

Book blurb: “Very few college football coaches earn the distinction of becoming their programs’ winningest, but Gary Pinkel has done it twice. From his nine-year tenure at the University of Toledo to his career at the University of Missouri from 2001 to 2015, Pinkel has shown he has the talent and meddle to take his teams to the top.  These remarkable achievements have been met by challenges along the way in Pinkel’s personal and professional life, including a DUI and a divorce, a threatened team boycott at Mizzou which dominated national news headlines, and ultimately, a decision to step away from it all following a diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  In The 100-Yard Journey, Pinkel offers a glimpse into the mind of a winner as well as an honest reflection on meeting and overcoming the unexpected. Follow along from the start of Pinkel’s coaching career at Kent State, the same program for which he played as a tight end, through stops at Washington and Toledo, and finally, taking over at the helm of Missouri, a program he guided to 10 bowl games in 15 years, a No. 1 AP ranking at the end of the 2007 season, and SEC Coach of the Year honors in 2014. Whether you’re a Tigers fan or just interested in what makes a successful head coach tick, anyone can find something to relate to in Pinkel’s personal memoirs.”

To order Dave’s book, CLICK HERE to go to Triumph Books.

 

Gina Lehe named one of SportsBusiness Journal’s 2017 Game Changers 1

IRVING, Texas – Gina Lehe, senior director of communications and brand management for the College Football Playoff and a member of the Football Writers Association of America, has been named to the SportsBusiness Journal (SBJ) Game Changers: Women in Sports Business, CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said.

An annual SBJ edition, Game Changers profiles women in the industry who have played key roles in their respective fields. The 2017 class features 35 women executives who have brought new approaches and ideas to sports business, have been out front on significant projects and programs and are making critical decisions that help shape companies and organizations for the future.

“It’s great that someone else has recognized what those of us in the college football family have known for a long time—that Gina is a wonderful professional and an exceptional leader,” Hancock said.

In its first three years, Lehe has helped catapult the CFP to national prominence, developing and launching the organization’s brand strategy. From its visual and textual identity to large format branding, including all collateral and supporting logo marks. In addition to traditional media services, operations and logistics, Lehe also oversees the CFP social and digital media strategy. Under her guidance, the official CFP social platforms have seen tremendous growth, including year-over-year increases in engagement, reach and impressions. She works closely with the ESPN production team and talent and serves on the senior staff supporting the CFP Selection Committee.

Prior to joining the CFP staff in 2014, Lehe spent 16 years working in the college football bowl industry, most recently as Director of Media for the Rose Bowl Game. In 2007, she became the first woman to lead media and communications for a national championship game. Lehe served in similar capacities for the Insight Bowl (now Cactus Bowl) and Fiesta Bowl.

Lehe is a member of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM), College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and National Football Foundation (NFF). She also serves on the steering committee for Sports PR Summit. Lehe graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor of arts in communications. Originally from Pacific Grove, California, she is married to husband, Adam. The Lehes have a daughter, Adriana, and are expecting a second daughter this September.

The recipient class will be celebrated in New York on Thursday, September 14, at the 5th annual Game Changers: Women in Sports Business Conference. To view the full list of honorees, www.sportsbusinessdaily.com.

A Special Message Regarding Safety Concerns for Media Parking

From CFP, FWAA, CoSIDA and USBWA

On behalf of the FWAA, CFP, CoSIDA and the USBWA, we are writing to make you aware of growing concerns related to media parking locations for football and basketball events and how their placements pose potential safety risks for credentialed media representatives in a working capacity and having to exit facilities during late night hours.

While distance and darkness can pose safety problems for anyone, this is of particular concern for the growing number of female reporters who are departing football press boxes or basketball arenas in late night hours.

Several examples around the country this year have been registered where female reporters have felt unsafe or threatened due to the combination of darkness and distance while returning to cars that are parked in deserted lots.

And, without question, there is a growing proliferation of prime-time games for television that have driven the ending of games and post-game writing duties into the wee hours of the morning.

As a result, we encourage you to review your parking locations and policies as it relates to media lot assignments.   We recognize that the demands for priority parking are difficult for schools and we are not suggesting wholesale changes.   But, we are providing you with suggested plans that will emphasize safety and potentially help avoid putting people in a working capacity – both writers and press box staff/volunteers – who are attending events you host in perceived dangerous situations.

Recommended Media Parking Guidelines

  • For distances longer than one-quarter of a mile, a golf-cart shuttle could be made available 2-3 hours before the game to help reporters move from the media lot to the sports venue. The pre-game shuttle would help address concerns for individuals where age, health, gender and the amount of equipment create concerns while moving from media lots that don’t offer easy access.
  • A golf cart and/or walking escort or campus security representative could be made available after games upon request to ensure media representatives covering a late night event have coverage while returning to the media lot and their car.
  • Provide a text service for reporters needing help either in going to the stadium or returning to the media lot. (The College Football Playoff is in the process of developing this approach along with Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, for the national championship game).
  • Media should be provided a detailed description of the location and distance from venue of all parking areas, along with shuttle availability before or after the game, in advance as part of the credential process.  This information should also be available on game day in the press box and other appropriate areas.

Thanks for your attention and consideration to this concern!

Steve Richardson (FWAA) * Gina Lehe (CFP) * Doug Vance (CoSIDA) * Joe Mitch (USBWA)

LA Tech Media Room Named in Honor of Buddy Davis

EDITOR’S NOTE: Long-time FWAA member Buddy Davis was the recipient of the FWAA’s Lifetime Achivement Award in 2016.  

RUSTON, La. – For more than five decades, Orville Kince “Buddy” Davis has written more words about Lincoln Parish’s athletic stars and even everyday little leaguers than one can count.

Yet, late Wednesday afternoon, Louisiana Tech officials left the Louisiana Tech Athletics and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame scribe at a loss for words.

Louisiana Tech President Les Guice, Athletics Director Tommy McClelland and a handful of other Tech athletic administrators joined the likes of Leon Barmore, Steve Davison, Jim Oakes, Teddy Allen and a number of Buddy’s Ruston Daily Leader family in the “Jack Lambert Suite” – Room 58 – at Princeton Place.

It was the least the group could do for the birthday boy. Buddy turned 71 on Wednesday.

Just hours after conducting a tour for the local media of the new press box and suites at Joe Aillet Stadium – a tour Buddy wasn’t able to attend due to doctor’s orders – McClelland stood at his bedside, showing the 50-year veteran of the pen the renderings of the $18-plus million facility.

After flipping through pages that covered the new concourse, the camera deck and the luxury suites, McClelland finally got to the level that a man of Buddy’s profession was interested in seeing. Level 3, the press area. The home for the Buddy Davis’s of the media world during LA Tech football games.

As Buddy’s eyes lit up looking at the renderings, they soon filled with tears.

“Buddy, the real reason we are here is to tell you something,” said McClelland. “There are a lot of people at Louisiana Tech and in Lincoln Parish who love you and who have benefited from your writing for so many years. You have done so much for Louisiana Tech University, more than you will ever know.

“In honor of that and of who you are, we are naming the large working press area of the new facility the Buddy Davis Media Room. We feel this is only fitting for a man who has done so much for this area for the past five decades.”

A man who mastered the written word even before the old press box was constructed in 1968 was at a loss for any. As tears rolled down his face, he just starred at the renderings of the graphics depicting his five decades of covering Louisiana Tech and all of Lincoln Parish.

“Buddy, these graphics will tell your story,” McClelland said. “They tell the story of all the incredible Louisiana Tech athletes and coaches you have written about and so many other Lincoln Parish greats. As you have told the story of so many others over the years, this will tell your story.”

The rooms large rear wall measuring 12 feet tall by 40 feet wide contains five panels – each one representing a decade in documenting Buddy’s career – and both large and small photos of Louisiana Tech and Lincoln Parish greats that he has covered.

Buddy began working at the Ruston Daily Leader as a student at Ruston High School and kept doing so while a student at Louisiana Tech before becoming Sports Editor for the Leader. Nearly 50 years’ worth of covering Tech athletes has not only produced countless awards but has also helped Buddy forge many friendships.

A few of those friends represented the masses in the Jack Lambert Suite.

“It’s so humbling,” said Buddy after most of the emotions had finally faded away. “All I’ve done is what I love to do … and to be honored in this way. I’m speechless. I’m a writer, but there are no words. It’s overwhelming. I am so appreciative and cannot thank everyone at Louisiana Tech enough for this gesture.”

Overwhelming yet fitting for a man who garnered numerous awards during his career, including enshrinement in the Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.

A few of Buddy’s other honors include the Distinguished Service Award from the Louisiana Sports Writers Hall of Fame, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Football Writers Association of America, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and the Louisiana Tech College of Liberal Arts Alumnus of the Year.

“I am not sure we can give this man his due,” said Barmore. “It does me so much good to see someone local, grow up and accomplish what he has done in his hometown. I wouldn’t be in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame without Buddy Davis. A lot of use wouldn’t have achieved all that we have achieved without Buddy. What an incredible career. I love the guy and deeply appreciate what he has done for me and Louisiana Tech. He is a treasure that we all should appreciate.”

Buddy is one of just a handful of people still working who sat in the original Joe Aillet Stadium press box when it opened in 1968. Now the Lincoln Parish legend will be forever honored along the back wall of the new one when it officially opens Sept. 2 when the Bulldogs host Northwestern State.

“I really didn’t see this coming … it’s unbelievable,” said Buddy.

College Football America 2017 Yearbook now available

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — RoadTripSports.com is proud to announce the release of the 2017 edition of the College Football America Yearbook, an annual publication that previews every college football conference at every level of college football in the United States and Canada.

The fifth annual print edition is available via Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com at a list price of $39.99, while the digital edition is available via iBooks for $9.99. Many retailers, however, offer the print edition for even less.

“Counting high school games, bowl games and all-star games, our staff attended more than 100 football games again in 2016,” says Kendall Webb, the publisher of the College Football America Yearbook. “Then, like we always do, we spent the spring sorting it all out and preparing the latest edition of the yearbook.

“I honestly believe it’s the best yearbook we’ve ever released, and we’re all excited to get it out there in the market and in the hands of college football fans.”

The College Football America Yearbook is published independently by Webb with Matthew Postins serving as the publication’s editor-in-chief. Chuck Cox, meanwhile, assists as the director of editorial content. All of the publication’s staff members are members of the Football Writers Association of America, and collectively serve on the selection committees for several of college football’s major postseason awards.

This year’s book features Louisville quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson on the cover. Jackson piled up a combined total of 5,114 yards and 51 touchdowns last season to lead the Cardinals to a 9-4 record.

Some of the features in the 317-page publication include:

  • Top Ten Games of 2017: Five FBS games and one game each in FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA and Juco that will be impactful this season.
  • The Heisman Race: A look at the front-runners and dark horses for college football’s most prestigious award in 2017. 
  • The Dream Team: The College Football America Yearbook’s unique take on major college football’s All-America team.
  • Schedules and Results: 2017 Schedules and 2016 results for every single college football team in the United states including all NCAA, NAIA, NCCAA, USCAA, NJCAA and CCCAA programs.

Additionally, College Football America 2017 Yearbook previews all of the conferences at every level in the United States along with the four conferences of Canada’s U Sports. The yearbook also provides updates of Mexico’s CONADEIP and ONEFA leagues.

Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2u2K9rz

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2uW27cQ

 

Hatchell to enter CU Athletic Hall of Fame

Longtime FWAA member Steve Hatchell, the President and CEO of the National Football Foundation, will be inducted into the 2017 CU Athletic Hall of Fame in November.

 

The following is the media release from CU.

 

Steve Hatchell, president and CEO of the National Football Foundation. Photo by Melissa Macatee.

BOULDER — The 13th class that will be inducted into the University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame this November 10 will feature 10 Golden Buffalo legends who are representative of eight sports in the school’s history, all of whom left indeliblemarks in their CU athletic careers.

The ten, two of whom will be honored posthumously, represent those eight different sports over a period that spans from the early 1940s to early last decade, covering seven different decades in all. Included in the group are a pair of football teammates from the ‘70s; two of CU’s standout female performers basketball and volleyball in the early 1990s; the school’s first

star skier; one of CU’s first high‐profile national recruits in men’s basketball; a national cross country individual champion; a longtime coach and state golfing legend; a member of three conference champion football teams who had an outstanding and lengthy career in the pros; and a man who rose from manager of the football team to several full‐time positions in the athletic  department before really making his mark nationally as one of the top administrators in college sports.

The 2017 class will be the 13th inducted into the Hall since it was conceived in 1998, and the 10 will join 91 individuals (and the 1959 ski team as a unit) who have been enshrined to date (12 have been honored previously after their deaths). Athletic director Rick George personally notified all eight living members of the upcoming class of their impending induction, as well as the next of kin for two deceased inductees, CU’s first three‐time All‐American in any sport, skier Frank  Brown, and longtime golf coach after lettering in the sport himself in Les Fowler.

The group will officially be inducted in the Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 10, in a luncheon ceremony at the CU Champions Center; will be featured in the Pearl Street Stampede parade that night; and then will be introduced at halftime of the CU‐ Southern California football game on Saturday, Nov. 11, to complete the weekend.

Those to be inducted:

  • Stan Brock, Football (1976-79)
  • Chad Brown, Football (1989-92)
  • Frank Brown, Skiing (1957-59)
  • Karrie Downey, Volleyball (1991-94)
  • Les Fowler, Golf & Golf Coach (1946-76)
  • Steve Hatchell, Football/Administration (1966-75)
  • Mark Haynes, Football (1976-79)
  • Jay Humphries, Basketball (1980-84)
  • Jamillah Lang, Women’s Basketball (1990-94)
  • Jorge Torres, Cross Country & Track (1999-2003)

All three football players were high selections in the National Football League Draft, as Haynes and Brock were first  round picks in 1980 (eighth and 12th overall, respectively), while Brown was a second‐rounder and 44th overall in the ’93 draft.

Humphries, along with Inglewood (Calif.) High School teammate Vince Kelley, were perhaps the first two high profile national recruits in men’s basketball, while Lang herself was a big‐time signee out of Washington High in Kansas City, Kan.

Downey was one of the early stars on CU’s fledgling volleyball team, joining the squad in its sixth year of existence and played a major role in the program taking a major step forward. Torres, on the other hand, was a key in helping the Buffs go from perennial conference champion to winning CU’s first men’s national cross country championship in 2001.

Hatchell started as a football team manager doing what they do – laundry, sizing equipment, fixing helmets –  to being an  assistant to the athletic director, the late Eddie Crowder, and being the right‐hand man to ski coach Bill Marolt at the front end of CU’s eight straight NCAA ski titles. After a short stint as co‐sports information director, he moved on to several high profile collegiate positions with the Big 8, Metro and Southwest conferences, with a run as the Orange Bowl’s executive director sprinkled in‐between, to where he is now, the top man with the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.

Frank Brown was an All‐American in both alpine and Nordic events three straight years, while Fowler starred as a golfer in the late 1940s and took over coaching the team in 1948 through his retirement midway during the 1976‐77 athletic year.

All inductees were nominated by their peers in the Alumni C‐Club or by members of the selection committee; 27  semifinalists emerged from over 60 names originally submitted over the last three years. There are now 101 members (plus the ’59 ski team, CU’s first national champions) in the CU Athletic HOF since its inception in 1998. An athlete must be at least 10 years removed from his or her CU career and retired from professional sports (teams) to be considered for induction.

With an induction every year instead of on a biennial basis as was the case for the first 16 years of the Hall, CU has been able to get more of those who are deserving of the recognition honored in a shorter time span with larger induction classes over the last four years.