President’s column: Mark Anderson invites you to ‘Expand the Brand’

2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson

2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson

As the seemingly unending UNLV basketball coaching search draws to a close (the regents still have to vote on the deal), I can finally come out of my Las Vegas bunker and think about other things.

And, as the temperatures start approaching 90 degrees, thoughts naturally turn to college football.

And yours should, too. The FWAA has just begun our membership drive, and the slogan is “Expand the Brand,” meaning we want to go from about 1,300 members to 1,500.

If you’re reading this column, chances are you already have a good idea of why the $50 ($25 for students and 2016 graduates) is money well spent on a membership. It is even better spent if your company picks it up. But if not, you can write it off on your taxes because of the FWAA’s non-profit status.

Find those who aren’t members, be it reporters or SIDs, and let them know the benefits. The more members, the louder our collective voices, and there are plenty of reasons to scream about becoming a member.

The directory, which is available in print form and online, is alone worth the cash. Hear about a player transferring from Illinois but you live in the Pacific Northwest? Look up cell numbers to beat writers in the directory and start calling (begin with those in bold because they are members and should be rewarded with information sharing). More…


Q&A with Ron Higgins 1

Ed Odeven of The Japan Times recently engaged Ron Higgins of the New Orleans Times-Picayune in a question-and-answer session on his 30-plus year career and the world of sports writing today.

Higgins, a current FWAA Board Member, was the 2008 FWAA President when he was still at the Memphis Commercial Appeal. He is now back home in Louisiana where he is a columnist for and living in Baton Rouge.

CLICK HERE to read the Q&A.


Duke’s Cutcliffe named keynote speaker for 2016 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet

broko logosCHARLOTTE, N.C. The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America officially announced Wednesday that David Cutcliffe, head football coach at Duke University, will be the keynote speaker for the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet presented by ACN scheduled for Monday, December 5th.

“The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is one of college football’s most prestigious awards and I look forward to taking part in recognizing some of college football’s finest players,” said Cutcliffe.

“Over the past few seasons, Coach David Cutcliffe has truly reenergized the Duke Football program and we’re excited to welcome him to the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Banquet,” said John Rocco, executive director of the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

Cutcliffe, the 2013 national coach of the year, has earned both ACC and SEC coach of the year honors in a distinguished career that includes the mentoring of Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning.


Former Navy star Chet Moeller named winner of Bronko Nagurski Legends Award 1

The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America and Florida East Coast Railway, proudly announced Tuesday that U.S. Naval Academy great Chet Moeller will be the recipient of the 2016 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 5th.

Chet Moeller

Chet Moeller

“Being recognized with the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award conjures up memories which will live with me forever. I’m thankful for the coaches who shaped me and the teammates who encouraged me and I’m overwhelmed to be considered in the same class of the past winners such as Bubba Smith, Randy Gradishar, Randy Rhino and others,” Moeller said.

“Congratulations to Chet Moeller on being named the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipient,” said James R. Hertwig, CEO of Florida East Coast Railway. “Chet’s performance on the field, in the classroom and in his service to our country in the United States Marine Corp was exceptional and this honor is well deserved. Florida East Coast Railway takes great pride in our support of the Charlotte Touchdown Club and its mission to promote Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship and Leadership.”


Mark Anderson is FWAA’s 2016 president

(Ed. Note: Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal became the FWAA’s 2016 President in early January in Scottsdale, Ariz. Below is speech that he gave accepting the position during the FWAA Awards Breakfast at the media hotel. Mark, who covered UNLV football for a number of years, has moved to the basketball beat but will still report football periodically during the fall while serving as the FWAA President.)

2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson

2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson

 “Thank you all for this incredible honor. I am humbled to be so warmly welcomed by you not only the past few days, but the past two years after Tiger put me on the board. I remember how surprised I was at his invitation to eventually rise to president. Not only did I cover a team that wasn’t from a power conference, but I covered arguably the worst program in that league. Kirk Bohls (2014 FWAA President) later enlightened me on the importance of having diverse representation. Little did Tiger know, however, that I’m an SEC grad (from the University of Florida).

“This is a big day in many ways. It’s also my 17th anniversary at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and this has been a time for milestones. My wife and I each turned 50 in the fall, and our son — I mean, our straight-A student son — entered middle school. My paper was sold — twice. You might have heard about the second purchase. My 15th wedding anniversary is later this year.

“One of my colleagues, Ed Graney, takes over as President next year of the United States Basketball Writers Association. Another co-worker, Steve Carp, is a former USBWA President. To say I am proud of where I work would be an understatement.

“I’m honored to become the second Tallahassean to become President of the FWAA. The other one, Bill McGrotha (1990 FWAA President), was the long-time columnist of the Tallahassee Democrat, and I not only worked with Bill, I was his driver for Florida State football games. You knew you were walking with a celebrity when going through the Doak Campbell Stadium parking lot with Bill. He was almost as popular as Bobby Bowden.

“We all are a reflection of our upbringing, and I want to take a moment to talk about two great influences on my life and career.

“My dad is 96, and the past few months have been difficult with him going in and out of hospitals. But he’s the same fighter who survived pneumonia at the age of 12 or 13 after a doctor said he wouldn’t make it through the night. My dad also watched his parents lose all their savings in the Depression, and he never was able to get a college degree he so badly wanted. But my dad went on to become one of the world’s top civil engineers, overseeing the construction of dams all over the globe and giving my family the opportunity to experience so many cultures that most Americans miss out on.

“But the main influence on my career was my mom. She and I had season tickets for years to Florida State games before I later came to my senses and went to Florida. If the Seminoles happened to pull off a big victory, my mom would go downtown and buy the state papers. If she liked a particular passage — Hubert Mizell of the St. Petersburg Times was a particular favorite — she would read it aloud. I sometimes hear her voice when I write.

“We all know how important it is to have an understanding family with our crazy deadlines and constant travel, and I certainly have a wife and son who love and support me. Without them, it would be much more difficult to live out this crazy dream of writing about sports for a living.

“Thank you again for this privilege. I am excited about the challenges over the next year and about the opportunity to represent this great organization. You will get nothing but my best.”

Photo gallery: Outland Trophy presentation banquet

These pictures come from the banquet at which Stanford’s Joshua Garnett received his Outland Trophy on Jan. 14 in Omaha.  Randy White, the 1974 winner at Maryland, also received his trophy. Before 1988 winners received only a plaque. Since then Omaha’s Downtown Rotary has sponsored presentation of an Outland Trophy to one of the early winners each year.

Photo gallery: FWAA Past Presidents Dinner

Ten former presidents of the FWAA attended the annual Past Presidents Dinner on Jan. 8, 2016, at the Paradise Valley County Club outside Phoenix, Ariz.

The dinner was sponsored by the National Football Foundation and the American Sports Network.

Photo gallery: FWAA Awards Breakfast

These photos were taken at the FWAA’s annual Awards Breakfast on Jan. 11 in Scottsdale, Ariz.  Winners of the 2015 Best Writing Contest as well as the Bert McGrane Award winner were honored, among others.

Photo gallery: Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year reception for Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz

These photos were taken at a reception honoring Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz as winner of the FWAA’s Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.  The reception took place at the J.W. Marriott in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Jan. 9, 2016.

Denver Post’s Irv Moss gets FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award


Irv Moss of the Denver Post, center, receives a commemorative football in recognition of his Lifetime Achievement Award from 2015 FWAA President Lee Barfknecht, left, and Tim Simmons of BFI Events, right.  Photo by Melissa Macatee for the FWAA.

Irv Moss of the Denver Post, center, receives a commemorative football in recognition of his Lifetime Achievement Award from 2015 FWAA President Lee Barfknecht, left, and Tim Simmons of BFI Events, right. Photo by Melissa Macatee for the FWAA.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.— Longtime Denver Post writer Irv Moss received the FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award on Monday morning during the association’s annual awards breakfast at the College Football Playoff title game media hotel.

Moss, 81,  is a graduate of Denver West High School, and has covered events in the state of Colorado for 60 years.


  • He is both a Ram and Pioneer as he attended both Colorado State and the University of Denver.
  • He is a U. S. Army veteran.
  • He has been covering sports in the “Centennial” state for seven decades (60 years).
  • He started writing sports for The Denver Post on February 8, 1956.
  • He has also covered the Winter and Summer Olympic Games.
  • He will be inducted this month into the Colorado High School Sports Hall-of-Fame.
  • He was a long-time member of the selection committee for the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
  • He has been nominated for the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
  • He still writes the “Colorado Classic” column for the Denver Post.
  • During his first of 46-seasons as the Air Force “beat” writer in 1970, the Falcons posted a 9-3 record, finished as the 16th ranked team in the country, defeated Stanford and Jim Plunkett 31-14 and played Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl.  That season, Stanford defeated No. 2 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
  • He has covered five of the seven football coaches at Air Force, including Ben Martin, Bill Parcells, Ken Hatfield, Fischer DeBerry and now Troy Calhoun.
  • Bob Whitlow and Buck Shaw were the first two Air Force Academy coaches and he probably saw the Falcons play during their first three seasons of competition (1955, 1956 and 1957) when their games were at the University of Denver.
  • He has covered 20 of the 24 Air Force bowl games (10-10 record).
  • He is probably the only media person to cover every commander-in-chief trophy competition since the start of the series in 1972.
  • He has covered 84 CIC games as Air Force has won the trophy 19 times.
  • He has covered 28 of the 30 games in the Air Force-Notre Dame series.
  • He saw the Falcons defeat the Irish four-straight seasons (1982-1985).
  • He saw two Falcon squads ranked among the Top 10 (1985 and 1998, when Air Force finished 12-1 both seasons).
  • He covered the 1985 Air Force team that is considered the most successful season in Academy football history. The Falcons came within one win of playing for the national championship (Oklahoma vs. Penn State) as Air Force recorded 10 straight wins to start the season, climbed the polls to No. 2 in the nation, but lost to BYU by seven points in the next-to-last game of the regular season. Air Force rebounded with a bowl win over Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl and finished as the No. 5 ranked team in the nation.
  •  Moss has covered everything from A to Z in the Rocky Mountain Empire.
  • That starts with Air Force Football ends with Zebulon’s failure to climb Pike’s Peak in 1806.
  • He covered Wyoming football and wrote about the Black 14 in 1969.
  •  Twenty years later, he helped break the story with the late Dick Connor about Bertram M. Lee and Peter C.B. Bynoe making sports history as the first African-American owners of a sports franchise (Nuggets).
  • He has been quoted in the book Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football — “If you’ve ever swatted at a fly with your hand, you know what the Lakewood High School football team faced when it tried to stop a 77-yard touchdown run by Wheat Ridge’s Fred Steinmark that whipped the Tigers.”  And to note, John Hancock coached Lakewood.