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Vol. 58, No. 2 • February 2021 • .pdf version
Forde is a sports-writing quadruple threat
By RICK BOZICH
You can start with the dazzling work that Pat Forde has delivered on three national platforms – ESPN.com, Yahoo! Sports and now at Sports Illustrated.
That explains why most of America understands that Forde belongs in the USBWA's Hall of Fame.
If you were a subscriber to the Louisville Courier-Journal, you also saw the consistently insightful work he did there for more than a decade. He wrote about college basketball at Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana and other campuses in the most engaged and diverse college basketball market in the country.
But I'll go back to the beginning — 1987, the year Forde arrived in Louisville from the University of Missouri.
He didn't start his career writing about Rick Pitino, John Calipari or Bob Knight.
Forde started his career writing about Indiana high school sports, especially Indiana high school basketball.
And he did it like a guy who grew up in Bedford, Anderson, Vincennes or Elkhart, not Colorado Springs.
As an aficionado of Hoosier Hysteria, as well as his teammate at the C-J, I couldn't get enough of his copy, whether he was writing about Damon Bailey of Bedford North-Lawrence, Pat Graham of Floyd Central, Eric Montross of Lawrence North, the Clarksville Generals or the Scottsburg Warriorettes.
As Dr. James Naismith would tell you, Forde was a triple threat from the day he arrived from Columbia — he could report, he could write and he could analyze.
A couple of years on the Indiana high school beat. One year of general assignment. Two seasons of covering Pitino at Kentucky, ending with the Christian Laettner walk-off NCAA Regional final in Philadelphia, when he had about 10 minutes to write his gamer while getting his computer (and mine) to dial 7 for an outside line at the Spectrum.
In 1992, the C-J promoted Forde to columnist. For the next dozen years, we tag-teamed everything in Kentuckiana and beyond.
Give him a good story and Forde made it great. Give him a great story and he made it unforgettable.
But the truth is, you didn't have to give him anything. He went after every story there was — starting with a recruiting scandal at Kentucky, NCAA issues at Louisville, Knight's self-destruction at Indiana, Pitino's stunning bounce from Kentucky to the Celtics and back to Louisville and on and on and on.
His work has always been grounded in superb reporting. Scoops? He's had more than his share.
He knows who to call. He knows how to get them to pick up his call. He knows how to get them to answer questions. He knows the right questions to ask. I guess that actually makes him a quadruple threat.
During his time at the C-J, Forde started building his national voice. He worked tirelessly gathering information about college football and basketball for ESPN notebooks before that platform became his full-time job in 2004.
His signature columns — the Forde-Yard Dash for college football and Forde Minutes for college hoops — actually began as a Friday college football notebook that quickly became a Must Read at the Courier-Journal.
Throughout his rise to become the guy that I believe is the No. 1 source for college news in the country, Pat has been a terrific mentor to a string of young writers and an even better friend to a few of us who have been around him from the beginning.
Everybody who has been in the business understands the challenges it creates for family time. Pat has handled that part of his Hall of Fame career wonderfully, too.
He met his wife, Tricia, at the C-J, and they've raised three amazing children. Mitchell (Missouri), Clayton (Georgia) and Brooke (Stanford) all earned college scholarships.
Hall of Famer, indeed.
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