27th Annual FWAA Best Writing Contest Results

The four winners of the FWAA’s 27th Annual Best Writing Contest announced today range in age from 29 to 82.

One first-place recipient is a seven-time winner (Ivan Maisel, 59, ESPN.com). Another winner (retired Bob Hammel, 82, Bloomington Herald-Times) hadn’t entered the contest in 23 years. A third winner (Jake Trotter, 38, ESPN.com) wrote about a star running back who made his mark in 1988 when the writer was seven years old. And the final winner (Mike DeFabo, 29, Anderson Herald-Bulletin) captured first place writing about Purdue football, but now is covering an NHL team.

DeFabo, who now works for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette covering the Penguins, collected a first in Game Story and also a second in Columns. Other writers who claimed double awards were Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports (two honorable mentions) and David Barron of the Houston Chronicle (two honorable mentions).

At the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast on Jan. 13 in New Orleans at the CFP National Championship Game, first-place winners will receive footballs, certificates and cash prizes. Second and third-place finishers will receive certificates and cash prizes. Honorable mentions will receive certificates.

Click on the links below to read the first-place winning entries.

GAME

First Place — Mike DeFabo, Anderson Herald-Bulletin

Second Place — Michael Lev, Arizona Daily Star/Tucson.com

Third Place — David Teel, Daily Press

Honorable Mention — Alex Scarborough, ESPN.com; Bill Bender, Sporting News; Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com

FEATURE

First Place Bob Hammel, Bloomington Herald-Times (retired)

Second Place Ron Higgins, Times-Picayune/NOLA.com

Third Place— Paul Payne, The Montgomery Advertiser

Honorable Mention Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports; Dave Wilson, ESPN.com; Glenn Guilbeau, USA Today Network; David Barron, Houston Chronicle

 

COLUMNS

First Place Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com

Second Place Mike DeFabo, Anderson Herald-Bulletin

Third Place Harry Minium, odusports.com

Honorable Mention Dick Gabriel, WKYT/Big Blue Insider; Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports; Mark Rea, Buckeye Sports Bulletin

ENTERPRISE

First Place — Jake Trotter, ESPN.com

Second Place — Christopher Walsh, SEC Country

Third Place – Adam Rittenberg, Heather Dinich, Tom VanHaaren, ESPN.com

Honorable Mention — Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Matt Fortuna, The Athletic; David Barron, Houston Chronicle

 

FWAA Launches New ‘Access/Press Relations Committee’

DALLAS — The Football Writers Association of America is establishing a new Access/Press Relations Committee to oversee press relations with FBS Conferences moving into the 2019 football season.

This is a broad-based effort by the FWAA to improve press relations and accessibility with schools in terms of coach, assistant coach and player availability during the regular season and the off-season.

“We are excited to bring together a talented, experienced, and diverse group of reporters and SIDs to work together to ensure a healthier dialogue between the media and the schools that they cover,” said Matt Fortuna, 2019 FWAA President. “Our hope is that this collaborative effort will lead to better opportunities to tell the stories of the subjects that we cover, while giving our members a better platform to highlight good and bad practices when it comes to access.”

The FWAA will have two representatives for each of the Power Five Conferences, in which many of the issues arise in terms of accessibility. The Group of Five Conferences/Independents will have three representatives. In addition, there will be nine at-large committee members from different groups affiliated with college football.

The process would be for individual FWAA members to report to the representatives of their conference any issues in their league as brought up by Sports Information Directors or FWAA members. This process will also occur with bowl games. The Committee would attempt to keep a running record of incidents reported to them and try to improve conditions as well as commend outstanding access and conditions.

“In many ways this can also be a learning experience on both sides,” said Steve Richardson, FWAA Executive Director. “We can document thoroughly why a school would or wouldn’t be a Super 11 winner simply by comparing a school’s list of press availability or polices to the FWAA’s list of standards. If there are complaints about media members, these also will be considered by the Committee. It can be a two-way street here.”

The discussions will also extend to game-day: press box conditions, interview area conditions, press parking issues and safety concerns around and in the stadium. The committee could have running dialogues with schools where problems in access occur and coverage conditions are questionable.

This committee will help in the decision making for the FWAA’s annual Super 11 Awards, which honor outstanding Sports Information Departments each year. Committee members will be encouraged to interact with Sports Information Directors in their respective conferences during the course of the year.

FWAA ACCESS/PRESS RELATIONS COMMITTEE

SEC

  • Ron Higgins, Rivals
  • Anthony Dasher, UGASports.com

ACC

  • Gene Wang, Washington Post
  • Andrea Adelson, ESPN.com

Big 12

  • Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register
  • John Hoover, TheFranchiseOK.com

Pac-12

  • Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News
  • Chris Dufresne, TMG

Big Ten

  • Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com
  • Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune

Group of Five/Independents

  • Chris Vannini, The Athletic
  • Dick Weiss, Blue Star Media
  • Mark Anderson, Las Vegas Review-Journal

At-Large

  • Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com, FWAA
  • Matt Fortuna, The Athletic, FWAA
  • George Schroeder, USA Today, FWAA
  • Doug Vance, CoSIDA
  • Shelly Poe, Auburn
  • Dave Plati, Colorado
  • Vince Thompson, AFCA
  • Gine Lehe, CFP
  • Doug Kelly, FBA

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,000 men and women who cover college football. 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 its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com or call 214-870-6516.

 

National Football Foundation asks FWAA members to vote on 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class

The National Football Foundation has decided this year to provide each FWAA member a complimentary ballot for the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class, encouraging you to vote and then write about your selections. Please vote and share your perspective with your readers. Ballots must be submitted by June 21.

  • Click here to access your electronic ballot to vote.
  • Click here to read a pdf version of the NFF Footballetter with bios of the candidates.

 

Super 11 Recipients Announced for 2018 season

DALLAS — Four first-time winners and seven previous ones comprise the 10th Annual Super 11 Awards, which the Football Writers Association of America gives out annually to the best performing sports information departments in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The awards announced this week are for the 2018 season.

In addition, for the first time the FWAA will present a Super 11 Coach of the Year Award. Arizona State Coach Herm Edwards granted outstanding access to his program during the 2018 season.

“These 11 sports information departments have done an outstanding job of not just fulfilling the needs of media members, but of understanding the importance of strong working relationships between programs and the reporters who cover them,” 2019 FWAA President Matt Fortuna said. “Additionally, Coach Edwards went above and beyond the norm in his first season at Arizona State, a refreshing approach that we feel deserves special recognition.”

As for the 2018 SID department awards, Clemson, Colorado and Nebraska each won for a sixth time. It was Clemson’s fourth straight award and Colorado’s fifth award in six seasons.

Pittsburgh claimed a Super 11 Award for the fourth time and Navy a third time. Iowa State and Mississippi State each won for the second time.

The four first-time recipients in the award series, which dates back to the 2009 season, are Arizona State, Miami, Fla., UAB and Wisconsin.

This year’s winners were deemed by FWAA observers to have had good accessibility during the week of the game and after the game — with a program’s players, coaches and assistant coaches — along with the other listed criteria.

“That was a special point of emphasis in 2018 and will be again in 2019,” FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson said. “Our membership wants access to players after games, of course, but also for human interest and analytical stories during the week. Over the years, for a variety of reasons this access has been restricted. We believe there are many good stories out there that can be told if they are allowed to be told.”

FWAA members who covered college football during the 2018 season provided input in the awards survey.

In January 2009, the FWAA formed the first Super 11 Committee. The concept has been supported and endorsed by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), many of whom are members of the FWAA. The FWAA has awarded Super 11 to 60 different schools in this program over the years.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 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, a national poll and its annual All-America teams.

Related link:
Super 11 Awards (including complete selection criteria)

Mississippi State’s Sweat is Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week

Senior end leads Bulldogs to upset of Auburn

DALLAS – Defensive end Montez Sweat dominated his side of the line for Mississippi State against No. 8 Auburn, racking up a career-high three sacks and forcing a fumble in the Bulldogs’ 23-9 win. Sweat is the first MSU player since 2005 to post three or more sacks in a game and has earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 6, as selected by the Football Writers Association on America.

The 6-6, 245-pound senior from Stone Mountain, Ga., was nearly unstoppable against Auburn. Sweat’s three sacks came with 27 yards in losses for Auburn, and he is only the third MSU player in the last 20 years to have three sacks in a game, and the first to do it in a conference game since 1998. Each of Sweat’s sacks came in the second half as MSU’s defense continued to contain Auburn’s offense, which only had the ball for 18:07 in the game. He also had two quarterback hurries.

Sweat is second nationally and the SEC leader in sacks with 7.5, and his 10.0 tackles for loss are tied for 12th-nationally and second in the SEC. His 18 sacks in 19 career games are already the seventh-highest total in school history. Sweat has at least two tackles for loss in four of six games this season, and he has earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors five times in his career.

Each Tuesday during the regular season, the FWAA has selected a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week since 2001. Sweat is a member of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Wed., Nov. 14. The winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2018 FWAA All-America Team.

The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists. The committee members then select the winner as the best defensive player in college football.

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Mon., Dec. 3 at the Charlotte Convention Center. In addition to the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

About the Football Writers Association of America:
Founded in 1941, the FWAA consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. 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 its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE TOUCHDOWN CLUB AND ITS SPONSORS
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1991, the club has raised more than $2,000,000 to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

ACN, Inc.
Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications, energy and essential services for residential and business customers. ACN provides the services people need and use every day including phone service, high-speed internet, wireless, television, security and automation, computer support, payment processing and natural gas and electricity. ACN operates in 25 countries with offices located throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. For more information, visit myacn.com. For information on ACN’s home-based business opportunity, visit acninc.com.

About Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery
Dr. Richard R. Rolle Jr. is a leading oral & maxillofacial surgeon, with strong ties to athletics and delivering excellence www.rolleoralfacialsurgery.com. Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery offers expertise in: dental implants, wisdom tooth extraction, youth-capturing, cosmetic injectables, oral surgery and cleft lip reconstruction in his Lake Norman, North Carolina practice. Dr. Rolle holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame where he played varsity football under legendary Coach Lou Holtz. He completed his oral surgery internship at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital and holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Meharry Medical College. Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery is the official surgeon for the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Checkers and Charlotte 49ers.

2018 Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Players of the Week
• Weekend of Sept. 1: Tyler Horton, Boise State
• Weekend of Sept. 8: Nate Landman, Colorado
• Weekend of Sept. 15: Alvin Davis Jr., Akron
• Weekend of Sept. 22: Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington
• Weekend of Sept. 29: Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
• Weekend of Oct. 6: Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

Related link:
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (All-Time Winners, Finalists and Players of the Week)

Interview with College Football Playoff CEO Bill Hancock

Bill Hancock

At the halfway point of the 2018 college season, fans, teams, coaches, players and media all wonder the same thing:  will my team be good enough to reach the College Football Playoff championship round.  Four teams will vie for the game’s biggest prize:  the CFP National Championship.  Bill Hancock, the first and only CFP leader, recently spoke with FBA Communications about his current job, places he’s been before, and what he likes to do in his limited ‘spare time’.

CLICK HERE to read the interview.

 

Reveal Suits to present national team of the week

DALLAS – The Football Writers Association of America is proud to announce a new presenting sponsor for its National Team of the Week. Reveal Suits, a Texas-based custom clothier, will present the weekly award, which will continue for its 17th season.

Each Monday during the 2018 season, the Reveal Suits National Team of the Week will be announced exclusively between 4-7 p.m. ET on ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM during “Off Campus with Mark Packer,” The initial winner will be announced next Tuesday, after the completion of the season’s first full weekend of games. The FWAA’s All-America Committee selects the weekly winner and all Division I FBS and FCS schools are eligible to be selected as the Reveal Suits National Team of the Week.

“Reveal Suits is thrilled to be part of a prestigious tradition by joining the Football Writers Association of America as the presenting sponsor for the National Team of the Week,” said Reveal Suits Owner and CEO Carlton Dixon. “We look forward to an exciting season and inviting the best in collegiate football and their universities into our Reveal Suits family. Our brand carries a winning tradition just like what these teams exemplify on and off the field each week, and we couldn’t be more proud to honor these fine squads.”

In all, 88 different schools have earned National Team of the Week honors with 56 earning the honor multiple times. Michigan State has been the FWAA’s National Team of the Week seven times to lead the nation. Oklahoma, Stanford and TCU have each been so honored six times.

“From the beginning in 2002, the FWAA National Team of the Week has been a great addition to our awards inventory,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “Each year, we enjoy sharing in the joys of some of the season’s best wins by rewarding those deserving schools, while also engaging our prestigious All-America committee.”

Reveal Suits’ reputation and image has been established by the specialization of customized suits to show the pride of each organization and personal brand it represents. Located in Grand Prairie, Texas, Reveal was formed on June 1, 2018, by Owner/CEO Carlton Dixon, a former men’s basketball player of the University of Texas. For more information, visit revealsuits.com.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. 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 its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

Related links:
All-time FWAA National Teams of the Week