O.K. ‘Buddy’ Davis to be honored by Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum of Champions

Still recovering from a near-fatal stroke suffered a year ago, O.K. “Buddy” Davis of the Rustin Daily Leader is one of six people who will be honored on Aug. 2 by the Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum of Champions.  Click here to read a profile of Buddy by Jimmy Watson of the Shreveport Times. 

 

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2014 FWAA Pressbox Conference Committees

The FWAA has regionalized its press committees for your convenience. If you encounter difficulties during the season in regards to game coverage, including access during the week, please contact the chairman of your conference by email. He will get back to you in a reasonable time. Please explain the problem in DETAIL, so the conference chairman can better understand the situation.

C—Chairman

Pac-12

C-Chris Dufresne, Los  Angeles Times   (chris.dufresne@latimes.com)

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury

Lindsay Schnell, SI.com

Mountain West

C-Mark Anderson Las Vegas   (manderson@reviewjournal.com)

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman

Kelly Lyell, Fort Collins Coloradoan

Big Ten 

C-Malcolm Moran, National Sports Journalism Center (moranma@iupui.edu)

David Jones,  PA Media Group

Lee Barfknecht, Omaha World-Herald
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President’s column: SEC madness kicks off 2014 season

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

It’s begun.

And it began in SEC Country naturally.

Anytime you see a 47-year-old wedding photographer from Australia spend $8,000 to fly himself and his Alabama graduate wife to the States and salivating over getting a glimpse and maybe an autograph from the Crimson Tide royal family, you know SEC fans are rabid. And maybe something else, too.

Antony Hands was among hundreds who crowded into the hotel lobby getting autographs or just a momentary peek at their favorite Alabama players.

He did get signatures from Landon Collins, Amari Cooper and Christion Jones. And has Hands met Nick Saban yet?

“Oh, God no,” he said, practically swooning.

He carried a colorful, handmade sign he made with seven bucks from Wal-Mart that read: “I Flew All the Way from Australia to Meet Nick Saban.”

I just flew from Austin, but was feeling no less passionate about the experience.

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President’s column: FWAA committees formed in every conference to head off problems

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

Greetings, colleagues.

I trust many of you have thawed out from the harsh winter by now and are planning your vacation retreats to Barbados. My advice: Take plenty of SPF 50 sun screen and every preseason college football magazine you can get your hands on.

We’re still dabbling in the college baseball season and awaiting the NBA and NHL Finals to end before the Fourth of July, but we all have one thing on our mind. No, besides the Kim and Kanye wedding. It’s college football, the reason we were put on this planet.

Yes, spring football is over, and the official countdown to the 2014 season, the historic first playoff and the Lane Kiffin soap opera in Alabama has begun. And I think we all admit the marriage of Kiffin and Nick Saban is even more intriguing than the latest Kardashian nuptials and would make for a much more riveting reality show.

As I write this, it’s less than 90 days until Abilene Christian travels to Georgia State to kick off the season on Aug. 27. Fourteen more games, headlined by Texas A&M at South Carolina in the debut game on the SEC Network, follow the next day.

Before you start overhauling your golf game, please make sure you get your Football Writers Association of America membership current and pay your FWAA dues. As president, I even remembered to pay mine before spring drills began. Our membership last season grew to a record 1,350 and we’d like to push that even further. Also don’t forget to mail in your entries for the annual FWAA Best Writing Contest. Dennis Dodd and Ivan Maisel can’t win all of them every year.

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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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President’s column: Introducing the FWAA-NFF Grantland Rice Super 16 Poll

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

Hope you didn’t miss it with all the hubbub over Bob Costas’s eye infection at the Winter Olympics and Johnny Manziel’s 40 time at the NFL Combine, but our Football Writers Association of America recently announced – a little drum roll, please – a new college football poll.

I’m sure all of you have been scratching your heads wondering why there hasn’t been another football poll lately. As for enduring questions of our time, it’s right up there with the whereabouts of Sasquatch and Lane Kiffin’s memoirs.

Well, wonder no more. This is big news, folks.

We do have our reasons why our 1,350 member-strong FWAA has collaborated with the prestigious National Football Foundation, our long-time partner since the 1940s, to launch the first “FWAA-NFF Grantland Rice Super 16” poll this coming fall.

Why not? That could be one simple reason, but we had far better rationale behind our plan.

I think we would all agree this is a momentous time in the history of college football as the very first playoff for the major division will be ushered in with a four-team tournament culminating with the championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, next Jan. 12.

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