San Jose Mercury News’ Jon Wilner named FWAA Beat Writer of the Year 1

Jon Wilner San Jose Mercury News

Jon Wilner
San Jose Mercury News

DALLAS — Jon Wilner, a veteran sportswriter for the San Jose Mercury News, has been awarded the 2013 FWAA Beat Writer of the Year Award for his coverage of the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast college sports.

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.

Wilner, 46, has worked at the Mercury News since 2000 and has held various reporting roles in the college scene for the newspaper and its website, covering Stanford, Bay Area colleges and Pac-12 beats. Wilner’s highly popular blog, “College Hotline,” receives millions of page views annually.

He has claimed numerous Associated Press Sports Editors awards.  Wilner has had a vote in the Associated Press Top 25 football and basketball polls for more than a decade.

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President’s Column, by Chris Dufresne

FWAA’s Wieberg joins very elite committee

FWAA President Chris Dufresne

FWAA President Chris Dufresne

We take care of our own.

One of my primary goals as FWAA President this year was to help facilitate the placement of a member on the new College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

I learned this was my goal when former FWAA President Mark Blaudschun pulled me aside last January in Florida and, with the lullaby gentleness of a New Jersey longshoreman, said  “Your job is to get member on the playoff selection committee. … Don’t screw it up.”

Mission accomplished.

The FWAA was thrilled in mid October when it was announced the new 13-member panel for the College Football Playoff would include former USA Today college writer Steve Wieberg.

Steve Wieberg

Steve Wieberg

Wieberg joins a prestigious group that includes the likes of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, College Football Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne and former Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning, now chairman of the National Football Foundation.

It was almost surreal to hear Wieberg on the same conference call hook-up with Rice.

“To be a part of it is beyond humbling to me,” Wieberg said. “I feel a little bit like Ringo, and there are four Johns, four Pauls and four Georges in the band. But Ringo was a contributor, and I plan to be a contributor.”

Wieberg, who was co-winner of the FWAA’s Beat Writer of the Year Award in 2012, knows he will get a little bit a help from his friends.

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Former FWAA president Ron Higgins moves to NOLA.com/The Times Picayune

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Ron Higgins

Higgins, a 28-year veteran of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, also is a frequent analyst on SEC sports for The Tim Brando Show on CBS, has written for the SEC’s official website and is a highly sought after guest on regional and national sports radio. A native of Baton Rouge and a graduate of LSU, Higgins will write commentary and special features about LSU sports for NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune, and will continue to appear on regional and national television and radio talking about the Tigers and SEC sports.
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Atlanta launches a new college football tradition

24 college football legends break historic ground as the first class honored in Atlanta

Steve Bartkowski, the All-American quarterback from the University of California and a hometown hero in Atlanta, responded for the class.

Steve Bartkowski, the All-American quarterback from the University of California and a hometown hero in Atlanta, responded for the class.

From the National Football Foundation

Atlanta rolled out the red carpet tonight for the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Class on Aug. 28. A sold-out crowd of 900 college football fans and dignitaries packed the Grand Ballroom of the Omni Hotel at CNN Center for a first-class celebration that honored 24 of the game’s greatest legends.
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