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.

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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.”

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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.

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New president Kirk Bohl’s column

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s the dawning of a new day for college football. I hope I don’t oversleep.

I wouldn’t want to miss it. By this time next year when we’ve celebrated our first champion from a real, live playoff culminating in Arlington, Texas, we might not even recognize the game. Change is coming, and, yes, it will be dramatic.

We enter 2014 with an appreciation for the rich past of this wonderful game we follow and an eye toward a future filled with equal parts anticipation of a historic season with the first College Football Playoff after the 2014 regular season. We also have a healthy concern for the direction of the sport. After all, the game is in a state of flux. Who knows when the Southeastern Conference will end its long drought and ever win another championship?

First, it’s a privilege to be your 2014 FWAA President. And I’d like to especially salute our 2013 President, Chris Dufresne, for his terrific service. I’d like to thank him for the great California weather for the final BCS game and the fact the game did not go into overtime

These are tumultuous times as college football wrestles with overwhelming issues: potential federation within the NCAA that could lead to a separate division and more distance between the haves and have-somes; Football Bowl Subdivision anxiety over uneven enforcement of penalties; players’ long-term health and safety; subsidies for players for the full cost of a scholarship; a tangled, complicated rulebook; and the controversial Ed O’Bannon lawsuit over payment for use of players’ likenesses for video games. And that doesn’t even count Lane Kiffin’s fascinating future, especially the week of the Alabama-Tennessee game.

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A fireside chat with your 2014 president, Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

(Ed. Note:  Executive Director Steve Richardson recently asked Kirk Bohls several questions about his life and a couple of topics so we could get to know him better.)

ATHLETIC BACKGROUND:  “I am a Taylor Duck (High School is 29 miles northeast of Austin) once and forever. I played every sport they had at Taylor, including football where I played Monster Man (strong safety) and was a 150-pound terror — at least in my mind. I also broke my neck in the first half of our homecoming game against Rockdale (we won) and played the entire second half. You can’t get much more stupid than that.”

WORK HISTORY:  “It can be summed up pretty simply. I graduated from the University of Texas in May 1973, went to work for the Austin American-Statesman that same month after coming within an hour of taking a job in Lubbock at the Avalanche Journal. I have been there ever since. My first year on the Texas beat was Darrell Royal’s last year. We broke the OU spying story the week of the 1976 OU game, and that’s still the most memorable Texas-OU game ever. My first year on the Texas baseball beat was 1977. Texas won the national championship. I’m thinking these beats are kind of cool. I think I’ll stick around. Some 40 years later…”

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AFCA convention offers alternative view on concussions

Dennis Dodd

Dennis Dodd

By Dennis Dodd/CBSSports.com

INDIANAPOLIS — College football coaches’ answer to the concussion crisis is a former University of Texas cheerleader who believes brains can heal themselves.

Hey, why not? Not much else has seemed to soothe the nation’s fears. The concussion crisis has resulted in a public relations crisis. The numbers of those playing youth football are dwindling. Lawsuits are hitting the NCAA, NFL — even the national high school association — from all sides.

The American Football Coaches Association on Monday morning presented Dr. Sandra Chapman as a rebuttal in an ongoing debate that continues to erode the profession’s credibility.

“If you haven’t sensed it,” AFCA executive director Grant Teaff told an audience of about 500 coaches, “our game’s under attack.”

Chapman, then, was part of the counterattack. The founder and chief director of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas-Dallas, is a cognitive neuroscientist. Her suggestion to Monday’s group was things aren’t as bad as the national narrative suggests.

“I want to change the conversation that you’re hearing,” she said during a session titled: The Future of Football: A Dose of Reality. “We’re showing a [positive] brain change [after injury], not in months and years but in literally hours.”

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