The Rose Bowl pressbox, then and now

FWAA members who cover the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2014, or the final Bowl Championship Series title game five days later in Pasadena will benefit from a new Rose Bowl press box with enhanced amenities.

The new press box is the result of a three-year Rose Bowl project that updated the stadium in several areas.

The column below was written after the 1955 Rose Bowl Game, which was won by Ohio State over Southern California, 20-7 — apparently during some inclement weather. Arch Ward, the famous Sports Editor of the Chicago Tribune and an FWAA officer during that era, refers to Soldier Field in Chicago as a poor venue for writers to cover games, but not as bad as the Rose Bowl was back then.

Thankfully, there are windows now in case it rains in sunny California and the press box personnel are much more congenial.

rose bowl column

Sherrod’s art auctioned for SMU scholarship

This story was published by The Dallas Morning News on May 28, 2013. Blackie Sherrod was president of the FWAA in 1963, when he worked for the Dallas Times Herald. He won the Bert McGrane Award in 1985, after moving to The Dallas Morning News.

By Corbett Smith

The Dallas Morning News

blackie sherrod

Blackie Sherrod

The irony was thick, she agreed. Wonder what Smiley — Blackie’s old moniker for Jones — would say about that?

That snippet of humor was something Sherrod rarely missed hitting on during his nearly 60-year career as a writer, working for The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald and Fort Worth Press.

Sherrod donated more than 200 pieces of his own artwork, sold at a silent auction Tuesday night for the creation of a scholarship for the Division of Journalism at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.
More…

2013 Best Feature, by Adam Lucas

Comment by the judge, Alan Abrahamson: A great feature should be a journey of discovery. This story is just that. It is full of not just connections but a series of incredible moments of revealing truths, each one taking the reader along through the story of one family’s incredible journey to and through the American dream. The cast of characters is rich and diverse. The action pieces are well-told and the back stories riveting. Finally, this piece also serves as compelling evidence that even in a world increasingly turning to bursts of 140 or fewer characters there thankfully remains a place for long-form journalism and the art of the well-told narrative. 

By Adam Lucas

Tar Heel Monthly

Adam Lucas

Adam Lucas

On the most famous play in modern Carolina football history, it looked like Gio Bernard was finally going to be caught by his history.

He’d spent twenty years outrunning it. He’d lived in Haiti with no running water. He’d sat in a tiny bathroom with his brother and father, all three men in tears over the loss of Gio’s mother. He’d shared an apartment in Ft. Lauderdale with rats.
More…

2013 Best Enterprise, by Matt Hayes

Comment by the judge, Alan Abrahamson: In this era of 24/7, instant-access, always-on journalism, the enterprise story offers something different. It takes us behind the curtain — tells us something we didn’t already know, couldn’t possibly have known without the diligence and the purpose of the reporters’ craft. Often, these stories rely on years of experience or a network of sources. When you finish reading such a story, a complex subject has been made simple or what was once hidden has been revealed. Even when, as was the case with Florida’s championship football team during the Urban Meyer years, it was hiding in plain sight. As the years go by, and the headlines about who was on that team continue to vie for attention, this story may prove to be even all the more illuminating.

By Matt Hayes

Sporting News

Matt Hayes

Matt Hayes

The uproar and controversy of Urban Meyer’s stunning recruiting coup at Ohio State settled in and Stefon Diggs, still on the Buckeyes’ wish list, was debating his future.

Diggs, the second-highest rated wide receiver in the country, had narrowed his list of potential schools to Maryland, Florida and Ohio State. For more than a week following National Signing Day on Feb. 1, and before Diggs eventually signed with Maryland, Meyer relentlessly pursued Diggs.
More…

2013 Best Column, by Ben Frederickson

Comment by the judge, Gene Duffey: Touching story of young boy and his enthusiasm for Wyoming football. Well researched with good quotes from Wyoming coach and a player.  

By Ben Frederickson

Casper Star-Tribune

Ben Frederickson

Ben Frederickson

The chubby-cheeked, brown-eyed boy from Rock Springs beamed on game days.

He loved to watch the University of Wyoming football team play in War Memorial Stadium, especially when his dad let him go down, close to the field, to be near the players.

Phillip and Cherilyn Hansen had taken their son, Hunter, and his older brother, Phillip Jr., to Laramie three times to join the crowd of brown and gold. Together, the family had cheered for their Pokes.

But things changed after July 29, 2011. Instead of trips to Laramie to watch his favorite team, Hunter made trips to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Hunter was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a white-blood-cell attacking cancer that starts in bone marrow — and then spreads.
More…

2013 Best Game Story, by Ivan Maisel

Comment by the judge, Gene Duffey: Good lead that quickly told the story of Baylor football. Story captured the mood of the game and Baylor’s dominance. Liked the reference to Baylor knowing what a Heisman winner is like compared with Collin Klein. Nice quotes from Snyder and Klein.

By Ivan Maisel

ESPN.com

Ivan Maisel

Ivan Maisel

WACO, Texas — Floyd Casey Stadium will never be confused with Death Valley or the Horseshoe or any of the college football palaces where road teams get mugged. It seats 50,000 in theory, if rarely in reality, because Baylor just doesn’t fill it up. It’s old and unloved and five miles from campus, and Baylor can’t wait to tell you about the new stadium it will open in two years.
More…

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

ron_higgins_crop

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.
More…

Former FWAA President Pat Harmon dies at age 97

patharmon2

Pat Harmon, 1916-2013

Former Cincinnati Post sports editor and columnist Pat Harmon, who was president of the Football Writers Association of America in 1984 and later received the organization’s Bert McGrane Award, died on July 28 at the age of 97.

Harmon also served as the National Football Foundation’s historian for 20 years, from 1986 to 2006.

“Pat Harmon’s passion and talent for covering sports created a lasting legacy,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “He honed his skills during an incredible 70 year career, and the NFF greatly benefited from the depth of his knowledge during his 20 years as our historian. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as we mourn his loss and celebrate his life.”
More…

ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel wins first-place in FWAA Best Writing Contest for fourth time

Ivan Maisel

Ivan Maisel

Veteran  Ivan Maisel of  ESPN.com claimed his fourth FWAA writing first-place award  during his career in the results just announced for the 21st Annual FWAA Best Writing Contest.  Matt Hayes of the Sporting News also won first place, picked up an honorable mention and was one of three writers to be recognized in two different categories.

Matt Hayes

Matt Hayes

USA Today’s George Schroeder and  Aaron Brenner, now with the  Charleston Post  and Courier, each received two honorable mentions.  Ben Frederickson, now at Fox Sports Midwest, and Adam Lucas of Tar Heel Monthly captured the other first-place awards.
More…

Pitt’s tribute to Beano Cook

By Zach Barnett, FootballScoop.com

beano_cook_crop

Beano Cook

There was a time when college football was not as popular as it is today. Instead of the Saturday smorgasbords we are treated to on a weekly basis, there was one televised game a week. No matter who was playing, you watched what the network showed and liked it.

Many people deserve credit for the evolution of college football’s popularity, and at the top of that list is Beano Cook. Cook got his start in the business as the sports information director at the University of Pittsburgh from 1956 to 1966. From there, he moved to New York to publicize college football on ABC and CBS. It was his foresight and knowledge of the game that convinced ABC network executives to move the 1969 Texas-Arkansas game from October to December 6. The moved paid off fabuously for ABC, as a nationwide audience watched the top-ranked Longhorns defeat No. 2 Arkansas 15-14 in one of college football’s first Games of the Century.

Cook moved in front of the camera in 1982 for ABC and then later transitioned to ESPN, where he most recently co-hosted ESPN’s College Football Podcast with Ivan Maisel. Born in 1931 and known for a wit quicker than DeAnthony Thomas, Cook waged a lifetime war against baseball. Those two facts collided in 1981 when, upon news that Major League Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn would give recently released American hostages lifetime MLB passes upon their return from Iran, Cook retorted, “Haven’t they suffered enough?”
More…