Buddy Davis recovering, winning awards

Long-time Ruston (La.) Daily Leader sportswriter and columnist Buddy Davis has been battling health problems in recent months since suffering a stroke on July 5 and has been in and out of Louisiana health facilities, but he is still writing! 

He also is still winning awards. He is one of five individuals who will be inducted into the Louisiana Tech’s Athletic Hall of Fame on Nov. 9.  He also has been recognized as the university’s College of Liberal Arts’ Alumnus of the Year. Davis, a 1969 journalism graduate, has spent nearly 50 years working as a sports writer for the same newspaper.

 

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Remembering Gene Schill, FWAA member and University of Dayton administrator

Gene Schill

Gene Schill

Gene Schill, 77, passed away on Oct.9. The former Dayton University sports information director and associate athletics director, had been an FWAA member for more than 30 years, joining in 1982.  The following is a column by Tom Archdeacon of the Dayton Daily News.

When the funeral Mass ended Monday, Chris Schill left his pew in the front of St. Albert’s Catholic Church, walked to the lectern, turned around and looked past his dad’s casket.

He had his eulogy written out in front of him — and it would be a beautiful — but an even better one may have come when he got his first glimpse of the crowd.

University of Dayton coaching legend Don Donoher was there, as was former Flyers’ standout Leighton Moulton. UD Hall of Famers Pat Jayson and Dr. Art Bok were there, as was equipment manager Tony Caruso, UD’s Director of Media Relations Doug Hauschild, veteran broadcasters Tom Michaels and Tom Hamlin, former Wright State SID Dave Stahl and many others.

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Member book: ‘Tigers vs. Jayhawks,’ by Mark Godich

MU_KU_cover“Tigers vs. Jayhawks: From the Civil War to the Battle for No. 1,” by Mark Godich

Foreword by Joe Posnanski

The book  traces the bad blood between the schools and the states to the Civil War and before. It revisits the early years of the rivalry. It examines how Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and Kansas coach Mark Mangino built Big 12 doormats into championship-caliber teams.

It deconstructs the deal that was struck to move the 2007 game to Kansas City, Mo., denying the Jayhawks the opportunity to host the biggest game in program history. It explores the Orange Bowl’s head-scratching decision to invite Kansas over Missouri.

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FWAA members: Tell us about new books you’ve written

FWAA Members are encouraged to send brief overviews of books you have written, beginning with releases in the calendar year of 2013. These do not have to be college football books per se, but have to be written by active FWAA members.  

We would like:

● A brief synopsis of the book, not to exceed 300 words, with a link to where the book can be purchased on line.

● The retail price of book and where it may be purchased in a store. 

● A .jpg or .pdf image of the cover book.

● A short history about the author, not to exceed 200 words.    

President’s Column, by Chris Dufresne

FWAA’s Wieberg joins very elite committee

FWAA President Chris Dufresne

FWAA President Chris Dufresne

We take care of our own.

One of my primary goals as FWAA President this year was to help facilitate the placement of a member on the new College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

I learned this was my goal when former FWAA President Mark Blaudschun pulled me aside last January in Florida and, with the lullaby gentleness of a New Jersey longshoreman, said  “Your job is to get member on the playoff selection committee. … Don’t screw it up.”

Mission accomplished.

The FWAA was thrilled in mid October when it was announced the new 13-member panel for the College Football Playoff would include former USA Today college writer Steve Wieberg.

Steve Wieberg

Steve Wieberg

Wieberg joins a prestigious group that includes the likes of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, College Football Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne and former Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning, now chairman of the National Football Foundation.

It was almost surreal to hear Wieberg on the same conference call hook-up with Rice.

“To be a part of it is beyond humbling to me,” Wieberg said. “I feel a little bit like Ringo, and there are four Johns, four Pauls and four Georges in the band. But Ringo was a contributor, and I plan to be a contributor.”

Wieberg, who was co-winner of the FWAA’s Beat Writer of the Year Award in 2012, knows he will get a little bit a help from his friends.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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