Spring football transitions: New Oregon coach Mario Cristobal

This is the third in a series of spring football previews written by FWAA members for their home media outlets on teams in transition with new head coaches or coordinators.

CLICK HERE to read a story by The Oregonian’s Andrew Grief on new Oregon coach Mario Cristobal.

 

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Spring football transitions: New Nebraska coach Scott Frost

This is the second in a series of spring football previews written by FWAA members for their home media outlets on teams in transition with new head coaches or coordinators.

CLICK HERE to read a story by The Omaha World Herald’s Tom Shatel on new Nebraska head coach Scott Frost.

 

Ohio State’s Cousineau will receive 2018 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award

 Charlotte, N.C. — The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America proudly announces Ohio State University great Tom Cousineau as the recipient of the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, which recognizes outstanding defensive football players from the past 40 years.  The award will be presented formally during the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Awards Banquet presented by ACN on December 3, 2018.

College Football Hall of Fame member Tom Cousineau.

“It’s so humbling all these years later to be remembered this way  I would never had imagined football would still be pouring incredible blessings into my life like they have the last couple years and I’m just so humbled,” commented Cousineau.

Cousineau joins a growing list of prestigious Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipients including: Alan Page, Bubba Smith, Ted Hendricks, Roger Wehrli, Mike McCoy, Jack Youngblood, Larry Jacobson, Randy Rhino, Randy White, Randy Gradishar, Chet Moeller, and Ross Browner.  Tom Cousineau was one of the most dominant linebackers in Big Ten history. He played under legendary OSU coach, Woody Hayes, from 1975 to 1978.  During that span, Ohio State had an overall record of 36-10-2 and 28-4 in the Big Ten. They also went on to win three Big Ten championships, and compete in the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Gator Bowl.  Cousinaeu was recognized as the 1977 Orange Bowl MVP after defeating the University of Colorado Buffaloes.

Cousineau’s 569 career tackles is second all-time in Ohio State history.  He still holds six school records, setting marks for single-season tackles and solo tackles during his senior campaign when he was named team MVP.  The 1978 team captain led Ohio State to three Big Ten championships, three top 12 finishes and four bowl berths, earning MVP honors after a win in the 1977 Orange Bowl.  A three-time All-Big Ten honoree, Cousineau owns six of the top 10 single-game tackling performances in school history, and he helped the Buckeyes lead the conference in total defense in 1977.  Following his senior season, he was invited to play in the Hula Bowl, where he earned Defensive MVP honors.

Cousineau became Ohio State University’s first number one overall pick in the NFL Draft when he was selected in 1979 by the Buffalo Bills.  He chose to play for Montreal of the Canadian Football League from 1979-82, earning the league’s Grey Cup MVP honor in 1979.  He would later return to the NFL, playing for the Cleveland Browns from 1982-85 and the San Francisco 49ers from 1986-87.

A 1995 Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Cousineau was the recipient of the Silver Anniversary Butkus Award in 2003.  Cousineau was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

About ACN, Inc.
Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications and essential services for residential and business customers.  ACN provides the services people need and use every day including Home Phone Service, High Speed Internet, Wireless, Television, Home Security & Automation, Computer Support and Natural Gas and Electricity. ACN operates in 25 countries with offices located throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.  For more information, visit myacn.com

About The Independence Fund
The Independence Fund is a nonprofit organization that empowers our nation’s severely wounded veterans and the caregivers who support them to take control of their lives.  Through its dedicated mobility and treatment programs, the Fund assists veterans in transforming their lives toward a better future.  The Independence Fund believes we owe it to our veterans to provide the resources they need to move forward and build a strong foundation toward lasting emotional and physical healing in order to reestablish their independence.  To learn more, visit www.independencefund.org.

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, North Carolina region.  Since its inception, the club has grown as well as diversified boasting a sponsor team of more than (80) companies.  The Club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship, and Leadership of area athletes and coaches.  Through individual and corporate support, more than $2,000,000 has been raised to benefit the Touchdown Club’s scholarship efforts.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of the men and women across North America who cover college football for a living.  The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game day operations, major awards and an All-America team.  Through its website, the FWAA works to improve communication among all those who work within the game. The FWAA also sponsors scholarships for aspiring writers and an annual writing contest.  Behind the leadership of President David Jones and Executive Director Steve Richardson and a board of veteran journalists, the FWAA continues grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. There are now over 1,000 members.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards.  The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients  For more information, visit the association’s official website, www.NCFAA.org.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented annually by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America to the nation’s most outstanding NCAA defensive football player at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C.  All proceeds benefit the Charlotte Touchdown Club Scholarship Fund.  For more information call 704-347-2918 or www.touchdownclubcom.

Call for ‘Super 11’ nominees for media operations excellence

It’s that time of year when the Football Writers Association of America considers the top Sports Information Departments in FBS for the previous football season. One of the FWAA’s charges in its charter is to help oversee performances of college football press boxes and media operations across the country.

In 2009, the FWAA introduced its Super 11 Awards, designed to identify and reward the Sports Information Departments and programs that exemplified excellent media relations.

If you have a nominee, please email it to the chairman of this committee, Tim Griffin. His email is tim.griffin@coxinc.com

The criteria …

The following ten areas were set forth as the criteria/standards for selection for the awards:

  • Players (eligible and playing in varsity games) who are requested should be available to media during Mondays and Tuesdays of game week (minimum).
  • Defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator should be available to media once a week during the season (minimum) and once a month during the off-season (minimum).
  • Freshmen who play should be available to media.
  • If former players and/or boosters are allowed into scrimmages or practices, the media should not be excluded from those same scrimmages or practices.
  • Coaches should be available to media on their campuses at least once a week during the season for no less than 30 minutes. They also should be made available after practice each day for updates on the team. Weekly telephonic press conferences do not count toward these times.
  • A “no cheering in the press box” statement should be made in the press box before the beginning of each half of play. In addition, SID’s should make every attempt to keep the press box quiet and escort disruptive individuals to the exits.
  • Requests for quotes from key players injured in a game should be granted by the home SID and his staff.
  • FWAA member(s) should help the SID with requests for players to be interviewed after a game. Any player who has played (and is not injured) and is not made available for interviews will be so noted by FWAA observers. The FWAA recommends open locker rooms after games, but short of this, any player who plays in a game and is not injured, upon request, should be made available to the media.
  • An FWAA pool reporter or a reputable news person should be designated by the home SID before every game in case there is an officiating controversy during the game.
  • Boosters should not be present at post-game news conferences involving the media, coaches and players. Interruptions or noise will be duly noted by the FWAA observer. Press boxes where non-media are disruptive will also be noted.

 

New FWAA president honored as Washington state Sportswriter of the Year

Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times is the FWAA’s president for 2018. Photo by Melissa Macatee.

The Seattle Times’ Stefanie Loh, incoming 2018 FWAA President, was named Sportswriter of the Year in the state of Washington for 2017 by the National Sports Media Association . Loh assumed her duties as FWAA President last week during the FWAA’s Awards Breakfast in Atlanta. She will be honored in June in Winston-Salem, N.C.

National Sports Media Association honors two FWAA members

Dick Weiss

The National Sports Media Association has announced a four-person class that will be inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame during a ceremony in June in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dick Weiss, the FWAA’s President in 2004 and Bert McGrane winner in 2013, is among the inductees. Another long-time FWAA member, Woody Durham, the former North Carolina football and basketball voice, is also being honored.

 
Weiss has covered college football and basketball for more than 40 years in Philadelphia, at the New York Daily News and now with Blue Star Media. 

Final Kellner computer rankings

The Cody Kellner Points Index gives each team a rating that is reflective of their strength of schedule and the success they had within it.  Margin of victory is also considered in the ratings.

RANK SCHOOL RATING
1 ALABAMA 151.965
2 GEORGIA 142.077
3 WISCONSIN 140.368
4 OHIO STATE 135.268
5 CLEMSON 133.045
6 PENN STATE 128.492
7 UCF 123.214
8 NOTRE DAME 104.334
9 OKLAHOMA 97.838
10 MICHIGAN STATE 90.828
11 MIAMI FL 90.216
12 TCU 83.567
13 AUBURN 82.879
14 WASHINGTON 80.176
15 USC 78.927
16 NORTHWESTERN 77.507
17 VIRGINIA TECH 71.317
18 OKLAHOMA STATE 67.862
19 MISSISSIPPI STATE 67.326
20 LSU 64.065
21 IOWA 59.418
22 BOISE STATE 59.065
23 NC STATE 57.932
24 SOUTH CAROLINA 57.826
25 MICHIGAN 55.899
26 SOUTH FLORIDA 54.823
27 STANFORD 49.476
28 FLORIDA ATLANTIC 48.614
29 WASHINGTON STATE 45.782
30 MEMPHIS 45.153
31 FRESNO STATE 45.086
32 WAKE FOREST 42.102
33 ARMY 41.002
34 TROY 40.566
35 LOUISVILLE 36.884
36 SAN DIEGO STATE 33.716
37 BOSTON COLLEGE 31.897
38 TOLEDO 31.704
39 IOWA STATE 31.342
40 PURDUE 26.978
41 FLORIDA STATE 23.771
42 APPALACHIAN STATE 18.450
43 TEXAS 17.626
44 ARIZONA STATE 15.633
45 DUKE 13.709
46 TEXAS A&M 13.525
47 UTAH 10.777
48 KANSAS STATE 10.743
49 GEORGIA TECH 9.155
50 KENTUCKY 8.316
51 NAVY 6.310
52 MISSOURI 5.851
53 OREGON 4.827
54 HOUSTON 3.581
55 OHIO 2.741
56 MARSHALL 0.019
57 WEST VIRGINIA -0.107
58 MISSISSIPPI -1.968
59 ARIZONA -3.344
60 NORTHERN ILLINOIS -4.538
61 UCLA -6.210
62 WYOMING -6.793
63 INDIANA -9.011
64 NORTH TEXAS -9.322
65 TEMPLE -9.402
66 VANDERBILT -13.069
67 SMU -14.024
68 TEXAS TECH -14.252
69 CALIFORNIA -16.495
70 MINNESOTA -18.038
71 PITTSBURGH -18.285
72 FLORIDA INTL -20.175
73 ARKANSAS STATE -20.686
74 CENTRAL MICHIGAN -20.784
75 FLORIDA -21.817
76 VIRGINIA -22.203
77 COLORADO STATE -22.378
78 LOUISIANA TECH -25.662
79 SOUTHERN MISS -26.730
80 MARYLAND -27.652
81 SYRACUSE -28.726
82 NEBRASKA -29.519
83 WESTERN MICHIGAN -31.547
84 TULANE -32.398
85 UAB -32.432
86 NEW MEXICO STATE -33.799
87 UTAH STATE -33.889
88 GEORGIA STATE -34.631
89 COLORADO -36.195
90 BUFFALO -37.698
91 AKRON -39.497
92 MIDDLE TENN STATE -39.884
93 ARKANSAS -42.249
94 TENNESSEE -42.419
95 RUTGERS -46.373
96 AIR FORCE -48.183
97 EASTERN MICHIGAN -48.820
98 UTSA -50.161
99 UNLV -51.909
100 MIAMI OH -59.725
101 NORTH CAROLINA -62.836
102 WESTERN KENTUCKY -65.705
103 CINCINNATI -69.347
104 ULM -71.550
105 MASSACHUSETTS -71.559
106 ULL -75.479
107 OLD DOMINION -77.299
108 BYU -80.889
109 ILLINOIS -81.926
110 NEVADA -81.946
111 CONNECTICUT -83.227
112 SOUTH ALABAMA -84.410
113 EAST CAROLINA -86.325
114 IDAHO -87.710
115 TULSA -89.412
116 NEW MEXICO -102.650
117 BAYLOR -111.304
118 OREGON STATE -114.388
119 HAWAII -116.460
120 BOWLING GREEN -117.281
121 COASTAL CAROLINA -120.273
122 GEORGIA SOUTHERN -126.354
123 KANSAS -129.613
124 TEXAS STATE -137.825
125 SAN JOSE STATE -143.227
126 KENT -143.664
127 RICE -151.502
128 BALL STATE -153.770
129 CHARLOTTE -174.692
130 UTEP -190.899

FWAA Awards Breakfast: Passing the baton 2

The FWAA held its Annual Awards Breakfast on Monday morning in Atlanta prior to the CFP National Championship Game. David Jones, the 2017 FWAA President from the PA Media Group, handed off to Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times, the 2018 FWAA President.

ACC’s Mike Finn receives FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award

ATLANTA — Mike Finn will retire from the Atlantic Coast Conference next spring following a stellar 40-year media relations career at the league office and two of its member schools, North Carolina State and Georgia Tech.

Mike Finn

The FWAA recognizes Finn for a job well done in bestowing its Lifetime Achievement Award on a person who has worked with many of the top coaches and administrators in ACC history, as well as serviced the media in the region with a professionalism that has been very impressive.

“Mike Finn has devoted his career to serving the media,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “He has truly been the consummate professional. Whenever you needed information Mike delivered. And you knew you were getting the accurate story. You always have great confidence in Mike’s word.”

This award goes annually to a person who has been a distinguished FWAA member. Previous winners are Buddy Davis, Ruston (La.) Daily Leader; Irv Moss, Denver Post; Bill Little, University of Texas; and Art Spander, San Francisco Examiner.

“I would say without a doubt this award is the most significant I’ve received in my professional career,” Finn said. “It means everything. While you get into this business because you want to be involved in sports, you quickly find out that what’s most important are the personal relationships you make along the way.

“I’ve been fortunate to know a great many outstanding media members for a long time, especially in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeast regions, and there is a special bond with that. To be recognized by the Football Writers, an organization I have always admired, is very special.”

Finn graduated with honors from the University of Florida with a B.A. in Psychology, but was not preparing for a career in media relations.

“I worked some in the Florida SID department (under Norm Carlson) on game days, typing play-by-play and being the official scorer in basketball,” Finn said, “but I didn’t think I could break into the business because of the competition for jobs. I had a desire to become a therapist or do community psychology.”

Finn actually did break into sports media relations at Virginia Tech, an independent in 1977-78, as a graduate assistant. He lasted there one year, before heading to ACC’s North Carolina State, still unsure where his career path would eventually go.

“My year at Virginia Tech taught me a great deal about job security,” Finn explained. “Our long-time AD retired, our head coach got fired and our (SID) Wendy Weisend, one of the most respected men in the business, was ‘reassigned’ to a different position on campus.”

The timing was perfect to move to the ACC’s North Carolina State. If Finn didn’t like the job, he planned on going to graduate school. He liked the job. Forty years later he is still in the business.

At North Carolina State, he worked for both football coach Bo Rein and basketball coach Jim Valvano, who led the Wolfpack to the NCAA basketball title in 1983. After Finn was there two years, Rein took the job at LSU and would die in a plane accident before he ever coached a game for the Tigers.

“Had he lived, Bo would have gone on to become one of the great coaches of his generation,” Finn said. “He was also terrific to work with.”

Once when Finn was interviewing Rein for the daily practice report, both were walking down the sideline when a tight end caught a pass and turned up field for more yardage instead of going out of bounds.

“Bo always loved a player doing that,” Finn recalled. “So in mid-interview, he’s left me and is sprinting down the sidelines with the player yelling encouragement. … Our safety comes over and roll blocks the tight end out of bounds, right in Bo’s path. Bo didn’t hesitate. He hurdled both players and kept on going. We never did finish that interview.”

Over the years, Finn, at the school level worked for such football coaches as Virginia Tech’s Bill Dooley, Rein and his successor at North Carolina State, Monte Kiffin, and Georgia Tech’s quadruple of Bill Curry, Bobby Ross, Bill Lewis and George O’Leary. Finn moved to Georgia Tech in 1983, right after the Wolfpack’s national basketball title, and was there 17 years before he went to the ACC office in 2000 as assistant commissioner for external relations.

His experiences in Atlanta at Georgia Tech were many. But he recalls quite vividly one of his exchanges with Georgia Tech’s Curry at the 1985 Hall of Fame Bowl versus Michigan State. Several Georgia Tech players missed curfew and Curry had sent them home, including the team’s starting quarterback and big-play wide receiver-returner. Curry summoned Finn for a meeting to do a news release about the situation.

“After he said that,” Finn explained, “I probably asked the dumbest question in my 40 years: ‘Coach, does that mean they won’t play in the game?’ Curry gave me one of those fatherly looks and said gently, ‘Yes, Mike, they won’t be playing in the game.’ No telling how Norm Sloan would have reacted, or George O’Leary for that matter.’’’

Finn’s years at the ACC office have been marked with expansion of the league in 2004 and 2013. He dealt in all things ACC Football (media days, championship games, weekly releases and communications) and at times the Bowl Championship Series Standings. He served as the BCS liaison with the FWAA in 2008 and 2009.

“I was fortunate in getting into the business to have so many great mentors from Dave Smith at Virginia Tech, who today is still my best friend, to Norm Carlson (Florida), Wendy Weisend (Virginia Tech), Jack Williams (Virginia Tech), Ed Seaman (North Carolina State), Norman Arey (Georgia Tech),” Finn said.

“All of them were or could have been excellent newsmen in addition to working in public relations and taught me a great deal about sports writing and the importance of deadlines. I’ve also had great bosses in athletics directors Willis Casey (North Carolina State), Homer Rice (Georgia Tech) and Dave Braine (Georgia Tech) and (ACC) Commissioner (John) Swofford, Mike Kelly and Amy Yakola of the ACC Staff.”

Swofford praised Finn. “Mike is well-deserving of this highly prestigious award,” he said. “He has built the best kind of career, one based on strong relationships and service. I’m so pleased the FWAA has selected Mike as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.”