Former BYU SID Dave Schulthess passed away Sunday

Former BYU Sports Information Director Dave Schulthess

Former BYU Sports Information Director Dave Schulthess

Dave Schulthess, former BYU sports information director and longtime FWAA member, died on Oct. 26.

Duff Tittle of BYU Sports Communications was an intern in the sports information department in 1988, the final year in Schuthess’s 37-year career at BYU.  Tittle also interviewed Schulthess for his book, What It Means to be a Cougar.

Click here to read that excerpt from the book.

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Obituary: Jim Butz, of the Greatest Generation, Leahy’s Lads and golf

Long-time FWAA member James T. Butz, 90, passed away peacefully on Oct. 12, 2014. According to FWAA Membership records, James had been a member of the organization since October 1948, or 66 years.

The family is planning a memorial mass on Nov. 24 in the basilica on the campus of Notre Dame followed by interment at Cedar Grove Cemetery (also on campus), then a reception at the Morris Inn.

The following is a narrative one of his sons, Jimmy Butz, also an FWAA member, wrote:

James Butz

James Butz

Jim drove himself to get into a position to attend Notre Dame by graduating atop his high school class as valedictorian, president of his class both junior and senior years, president of the student council, editor of the yearbook, sports editor of the newspaper, president of the dramatic club and head manager of the football and basketball teams.

But World War II intervened and he was drafted after graduation from Kenmore High in Akron at 18 years old, all of 5 foot 4 inches tall and 115 pounds.

He served three years as a combat infantryman in the 75th Division, becoming one of the uncommon few who survived both the D-Day landing as well as the Battle of Bulge, where he and his mates were trapped behind enemy lines in Wye, Belgium, in an unheated house when their position was overrun by the German advance. Wounded twice, he earned the Bronze Star and was subsequently knighted in 2013 by the French government for his actions in the Battle of Northern France.  But his most prized military memento was his common Combat Infantryman’s Badge, a rifleman’s symbol of his status as the equal of the biggest man in his outfit.

“He had a great sense of loyalty, whether it is to his country, his family or his work,” said Jim’s younger brother, Jerry Butz, of Roselle, Ill. “I was 13 years younger than him and I never once heard him speak over what a hero he was. That wasn’t in his nature.”

But his biggest battle was just beginning. Throughout his military duty he continued to write to Notre Dame’s Dean of Admissions expressing his interest in attending if he survived the war, and this built a voluminous file.  He was rejected on the basis that other veterans who were previously established students were returning to campus to continue their studies and had priority over him.  More…

National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame dedicate new home in Atlanta

The National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame officially dedicated its new home in downtown Atlanta on Oct. 7 when it enshrined the newest class of Hall of Famers at the state-of-the-art attraction.

The Football Writers Association of America is well represented in the $68.5  million,  94,256 square-foot facility, which houses 520 artifacts, numerous interactive exhibits, a 4K theater, a 45-yard indoor football field, a wall of the helmets of the 767 four-year schools playing college football and much, much more.

Two of the FWAA’s biggest awards, the Outland Trophy (best interior lineman in college football) and the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Bust, are among the six player/coach awards that are physically represented in the new Atlanta Hall by their the actual trophies.

There also is a picture of the FWAA’s 2009 Bert McGrane Award winner, Atlanta’s Tony Barnhart, and a description of the award and former winners.

The FWAA’s Bert McGrane Award, presented since 1974 and symbolic of the association’s Hall of Fame, goes annually to an FWAA member who has performed great service to the organization and/or the writing profession. It is named after McGrane, a Des Moines, Iowa, writer who was the executive secretary of the FWAA from the early 1940s until 1973.

The new Hall is in the heart of Atlanta’s tourism and sports entertainment district,   across the street from the Centennial Olympic Park and adjacent to the Omni Hotel, Georgia World Congress Center, CNN Center and Georgia Dome.  The World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights are nearby.

“Today represents the culmination of an enormous amount of work by countless individuals, and we could not be more pleased with the result,” NFF Chairman Archie Manning, a 1989 inductee into the Hall, said at the Oct. 7 proceedings. “The new Hall simply is a spectacular tribute to college football and why it matters. It provides the entire college football community a powerful platform for promoting everything that is right with our great sport.”

NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell said: “We are extremely grateful to Atlanta and all of those who have played a role in making this project a reality.”

Hatchell joined Manning on the stage for the official dedication ceremony. NFF Vice Chairmen Clay Bennett, Murry Bowden and George Weiss assisted with the presentation of a commemorative plaque to Atlanta Hall Management Chairman Steve Robinson and College Football Hall of Fame President and CEO John Stephenson. NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel conducted the formal enshrinement ceremony of the Hall of Famers.

 

Mock CFP Final Four proves revealing

By Kirk Bohls

Austin American-Statesman

GRAPEVINE — Got your back, Mack.

And got your Longhorns in the playoffs. Better late than never, right?

Sure, it’s six years too late, and it’s only fictional like all those mythical national championships the last hundred years. At least, until the real College Football Playoff committee convenes.

FWAA President Kirk Bohls at the mock selection meeting for a College Football Playoff Final Four based on the 2008 season.

FWAA President Kirk Bohls at the mock selection meeting for a College Football Playoff Final Four based on the 2008 season.

On Thursday, some of us pushed revisionist history on college football and voted Texas into the first four-team playoff. If a playoff existed then, Mack Brown’s Longhorns would have joined Oklahoma, according to a mock exercise by a 17-member media selection committee that was asked to evaluate the 2008 season and pick the best four teams in America.

The most spirited debate of the day revolved around the Longhorns’ worthiness in the Final Four. ESPN’s Rod Gilmore and Holly Rowe strongly criticized Texas’s non-conference schedule that included Rice, UTEP and Florida Atlantic but also Arkansas and omitted the Longhorns from their final four. Rowe asked, “Is Florida Atlantic a worthy opponent?” Responded Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated, “Oklahoma was, and Texas beat them on a neutral field.”

In our mythical playoff, No. 3 Texas would face No. 2 Oklahoma in a Rose Bowl semifinal, a rematch of that Cotton Bowl Classic in which the Longhorns came back from an 11-point deficit to win 45-35. Florida, our No. 1 team and the national champion that year, would play Southern Cal in the Sugar Bowl in the other semifinal.

I joined such media luminaries as Tony Barnhart, Jerry Palm and Staples, who was chosen as our bow-tied chairman and ran our six-hour panel discussion. We began by compiling a collective Top 25 and 34 teams received votes. We voted our top four three times, and it never varied. Jeff Long, the chairman of the real CFP panel, said his committee spit out a different four teams from 2008 but declined to reveal them. Then, we added to the field in small pods in complicated comparisons until we finalized our top 25 and then placed our teams in the Orange, Cotton, Fiesta and Peach bowls.

More…

Texas honors long-time SID Bill Little

The University of Texas held a reception for long-time Longhorn Sports Information Director Bill Little on Aug. 28 to celebate the naming of the football and baseball pressboxes after him. Among those in attendance were former UT football coach Mack Brown, current UT basketball coach Rick Barnes, former Texas women’s basketball coach and women’s athletic director Jody Conradt, current UT athletic director Steve Patterson, former UT athletic director Deloss Dodds, current UT women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky, Edith Royal (widow of former UT football coach Darrell Royal), National Football Foundation President and CEO Steve Hatchell, College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock and  Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of the late President Lyndon Johnson.

FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson (left) congratulates Bill Little at the reception.

FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson (left) congratulates Bill Little at the reception.

Steve Hatchell, NFF President and CEO (left); Brian Davis, UT football beat writer for the Austin American-Statesman (center); and Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman columnist and 2014 FWAA President (right), share a moment during the reception.

Steve Hatchell, NFF President and CEO (left); Brian Davis, UT football beat writer for the Austin American-Statesman (center); and Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman columnist and 2014 FWAA President (right), share a moment during the reception. Photo by Ken Capps.

 

Several of Bill Little's awards were displayed at the reception on Aug. 28.

Several of Bill Little’s awards were displayed at the reception on Aug. 28. Photo by Ken Capps.

FWAA names ‘Super 11’ sports information departments

The Football Writers Association of America has announced its fifth “Super 11” field of sports information departments deemed the best in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision during the 2013 season.

The winners in alphabetical order are: Colorado (Pac-12), Duke (ACC), Fresno State (Mountain West), Georgia (SEC), Middle Tennessee (Conference USA), Nebraska (Big Ten), Ole Miss (SEC),  SMU (American Athletic Conference), South Alabama (Sun Belt), Southern California (Pac-12) and Texas Tech (Big 12).

Georgia is a five-time winner, USC, a four-time winner and Colorado and Nebraska, multiple winners of the Super 11 Award. Duke, Fresno State, Middle Tennessee, Ole Miss, SMU, South Alabama and Texas Tech are first-time winners. Over the five-year period, the FWAA has honored 42 schools.

Since the FWAA’s inception in 1941, one of the organization’s charges is to provide better working conditions for writers across the country. Over the years, the FWAA has given out press box commendations to deserving schools and has conducted ratings of sports information departments.

“We know there are many outstanding sports information departments representing schools across the country,” said Tim Griffin, 2010 FWAA President and Chairman of the Super 11 Committee. “But we continue to believe it is imperative to honor the best of the best, including some that we have honored repeatedly over the years. These 11 departments are consistently exemplary in all that we ask.

“The FWAA’s commitment is to continue honoring the best departments in future years which recognize the demands of our jobs and strive to do what they can to help all media members on a consistent basis.”

Criteria in determining the winners included not only how press boxes and operations were run but also the quality and timeliness of information provided, the amount of information presented and appropriately updated on websites, personal responsiveness to media inquiries as well as the accessibility of players, head coaches and their assistants. The ratings also took into consideration the departments that went the extra mile in servicing the media.

The Super 11 Committee received input from other FWAA members covering college football during a period from Feb. 1, 2013, through Jan. 31, 2014.

“The significance of this award cannot be overstated in this current climate of limited access and mounting restrictions,” said 2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls.

“At a time when some schools are making it formal policy to join the established media rather than assist it and almost put the press in a competing mode, it is imperative that we salute those among us who value their strong working relationships with football writers and go the extra mile in serving those interests. So to all these departments who have separated themselves, well done.”

In January 2009, at its board meeting, the FWAA formed the first Super 11 Committee. The concept is supported by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), many of whom are members of the FWAA.

For more information on the Super 11, contact committee chairman Tim Griffin at 210-823-3666 or click here to Email Tim Griffin!

Award for Nebraska continues tradition of excellence. CLICK HERE.

FWAA taking nominations for Armed Forces Merit Award

armed forces merit awardWe are now taking nominations for the Armed Forces Merit Award. From those teams and conferences you cover please keep an eye out for the following:

WHO QUALIFIES?: An Individual with an armed forces background who is currently involved as an athletic administrator, football coach, staff member or player and has brought distinction and recognition to both his or her armed forces service and the sport. These include Individuals or groups that have created, developed or produced football-related programs that provide care, concern and support for past or present members of the United States armed forces or their families.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: Sept. 30, 2014

SELECTION PROCESS: A blue-ribbon committee will take the nominations and select a winner during the fall.

Send nominations to FWAA Member Tim Simmons at bfishinc@aol.com or call 720-244-6580.

Randy White to receive Bronko Nagurski Legends Award

Randy White

Randy White

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  – The Charlotte Touchdown Club, in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America and Florida East Coast Railway, proudly announces that Randy White will be the recipient of the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, which recognizes outstanding defensive football players from the past 40 years.

The award will be presented formally to White during the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Awards Banquet on Monday, December  8 at The Westin Hotel.  University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban will be the keynote speaker.

White’s career highlights include:

  • Nine-time Pro Bowl selection (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985)
  • Nine-time First-Team All-Pro selection (1977, 1978 , 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985)
  • Three-time NFC Champion (1975, 1977, 1978)
  • Super Bowl champion (XII)
  • 1978 Co-Super Bowl MVP
  • Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1994)
  • Played for the University of Maryland (1972-74)
  • 1974 Outland Trophy
  • 1974 Lombardi Award
  • 1974 UPI Lineman of the Year
  • Two-time All-American (1973, 1974)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (1994)
  • Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor

For Reservations or Information on how to become a member of the Club’s Sponsor Team, please call 704-347-2918 or email John Rocco atjrocco@touchdownclub.com.

Nick Saban to be keynote speaker at December Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte

Nick Saban

Nick Saban

Charlotte, N.C. — The Charlotte Touchdown Club, in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America, has announced that Alabama Coach Nick Saban will be the keynote speaker for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet scheduled for Monday, December 8th.

“I appreciate the invitation to speak at the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet,” Saban said. “The Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America have built the Bronko Nagurski Trophy into one of the nation’s premiere defensive awards for college football and I’m excited to be a part of this year’s event.”

“The Charlotte Touchdown Club is thrilled to have Coach Nick Saban as Keynote Speaker for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Banquet,” said John Rocco Executive Director of the Charlotte Touchdown Club. “We look forward to Coach Saban’s remarks and the announcement of the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner at our black tie banquet held December 8th at the Westin Hotel.”

More…

Omaha World-Herald’s FWAA members launching Internet radio show in March

Omaha World-Herald columnist  and former FWAA President  Tom Shatel  and his colleague Lee Barfknecht, the FWAA’s first vice-president, and several other FWAA members at the World-Herald are part of this new radio internet program that will launch in March. The following is Tom’s column about plans for the new show.

Beam me up, Mike’l.

We’re not far from a day when the AM radio will be replaced by Internet radio. A time when you can get in your car, plug in your phone and listen to your favorite talk show, order a pizza or buy movie tickets over the Internet.

Omaha World-Herald columnist and former FWAA President Tom Shatel

Omaha World-Herald columnist and former FWAA President Tom Shatel

So says Mike’l Severe, the new host of the World-Herald show “The Bottom Line.”

“It’s already starting,” Severe said. “I drove a Dodge truck recently and you’re able to drive to the movie theater, look up what’s playing, see the trailer, call the theater and buy tickets — all right there on that 7.1-inch screen.

“We’re not very far from ‘Star Trek.’ ”

The World-Herald is preparing to boldly go where few newspapers have gone before.

Beginning in March, The World-Herald will host a sports talk show that will be accessible on Omaha.com or through a “The Bottom Line” phone app.

“The Bottom Line” will run Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and will feature World-Herald sportswriters, entertainment writers and news writers.

More…