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.

Woody Durham, long-time voice of UNC sports, dies

From Atlantic Coast Conference, ACC Sports Media Assn.

Woody Durham, the iconic voice of University of North Carolina athletics for four decades, passed away early Wednesday morning at the age of 76. He was a longtime FWAA member.

Durham retired in 2011 after 40 years as the “Voice of the Tar Heels” football and basketball play-by-play. He was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, a neurocognitive disorder, in January 2016. T-shirts bearing one of Durham’s favorite phrases – “Go where you go and do what you do” – are currently being sold to raise money for aphasia research.

“Woody was synonymous with Carolina Athletics for decades, and his voice was gospel to generations of Tar Heels who trusted his every word, ” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “I was struck by how diligently Woody prepared for his broadcast of games. When game time arrived, he made it look and sound so easy because he had a voice that resonated just so, but much of it was because he worked incredibly hard at it. As they say ‘the great ones make it look easy’. Woody was one of the great ones. He was just as good a person as he was a broadcaster.

“My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of the entire Atlantic Coast Conference, go out to Jean, Wes, Taylor and the entire Durham family.”

Durham was born in Mebane, North Carolina, and raised in Albemarle, where he began his broadcasting career as a 16-year-old high school student at radio station WZKY. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1963 and started his post-college career at WBTW-TV in Florence, South Carolina, before moving to WFMY-TV in Greensboro, where he became the sports director.

In addition to his anchoring duties at WFMY, Durham served as the radio analyst for Wake Forest football and play-by-play announcer for Guilford College, as well as a play-by-play announcer on the TV station’s ACC package.

While still working for WFMY in 1971, Durham was hired to replace Bill Currie as the voice of UNC athletics. He called more than 1,500 Tar Heels contests, hosted coaches’ shows, and emceed or spoke at countless banquets.

Among Durham’s UNC career highlights were four NCAA men’s basketball championships and 23 football bowl games. He retired as a 13-time North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year and received the 2002 Marvin “Skeeter” Francis Award for his contributions to coverage of the ACC. This June, he will be inducted into the National Sports Media Association’s Hall of Fame.

Durham is survived by his wife, Jean, of Chapel Hill. They have two sons, both of whom followed their father’s career path. Wes is the radio voice of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, as well as a television play-by-play announcer for ACC football and basketball broadcasts. Taylor is a radio play-by-play announcer with the Elon IMG Sports Network, for which he also serves as an account executive. Wes Durham is a current FWAA member.

 

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.

 

President’s column: As media industry changes, let us know how the FWAA can help 1

2018 FWAA President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times

I’m incredibly honored to be called upon to lead the FWAA into its 77th year.

I fell in love with the game of football while watching the NFL on television half a world away. But it wasn’t till I started college at the University of Oregon that I acquired an appreciation for the college version of the sport.

For a native Singaporean who grew up in a country where “football” means soccer, and virtually no one I knew understood the rules of American football, I never imagined that this sport would become such a big part of my life.

As an industry, college football is perhaps the most unique spectator sport of its kind. The gladiatorial nature of the game, combined with the creativity you see at the college level, with its variety of offenses and defenses, and the built-in dramatic quality that comes from the way the season is structured – every game counts – captivates the country like nothing else.

In my career, I’ve covered college football on both coasts, reporting on schools in several different conferences and at newspapers of varying sizes. I believe that background gives me a solid base from which to understand the trials and challenges that covering this sport poses to media members at organizations of different sizes. And I hope you will all use us as a resource to help you do your jobs.

Next year, I’m excited that college football will take its biggest game – the national championship, out to the coast I’ve come to call home – Levi’s Stadium in the Bay Area. The FWAA hopes to capitalize on that to make a push out west and garner more members and exposure on that side of the country. We also hope to diversify the membership, improve our website, and make a stronger push on social media. I look forward to helping to lead that charge.

This organization has been an invaluable part of the college football media landscape for decades, and it has a proud history.

But as we know, the media industry has changed drastically over the last 15 years or so. As we continue to navigate our place in the digital age I would also like to hear from you – the membership – on how we, the FWAA board, can better serve your needs.

So please, feel free to reach out to me directly (email: sloh@seattletimes.com). I hope to hear from many of you. Enjoy the offseason (we all know that doesn’t really exist anymore).

 

Photo gallery: Outland Trophy presentation dinner

Photos from the Outland Trophy presentation dinner and related events on Jan. 10, 2018, in Omaha, Neb .

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.