Vol. 43, No. 3 March 2006 .pdf version
Tony Barnhart: Year with gavel went too quickly
Joe Mitch: Oscar Robertson Trophy finds a home in Indy
Tom Shatel: Meet the NCAA's David Worlock
Ted Gangi: Open Office: Can't beat the price
Tennessee Tech's Sutton named Most Courageous
Katha Quinn Award goes to Wayne Duke
Marvin West to be inducted in Hall of Fame
2004-05 Best writing contest results
Joe Mitch
Joe Mitch

Oscar Robertson Trophy finds permanent home at Conseco

By JOE MITCH / Executive Director

The USBWA has found a permanent home for its player of the year award, the Oscar Robertson Trophy.

At a news conference in Indianapolis in February that was attended by nearly 100 people, the USBWA announced the trophy will be on permanent display at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

The trophy a bronze sculpture valued at $10,000 showing Oscar grabbing a rebound with his legs stretched out wide in a Cincinnati uniform will be part of an ongoing exhibit at Conseco Fieldhouse, starting as early as this March.

The display will highlight Oscar Robertson's career and feature the association's player of the year award, including a listing by name and pictures of past recipients.

Conseco has similar exhibits in its main concourse of teams, players and coaches showcasing the state of Indiana's rich basketball history.

The permanent display of the USBWA's Oscar Robertson Trophy at Conseco Fieldhouse is fitting and a natural choice.

Oscar's stellar basketball career began in high school in Indianapolis when he led Crispus Attucks High School to two
straight high school championships in 1955 and 1956.

Indianapolis' Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the 2006 USBWA Awards Breakfast on Friday, March 31.

In 2000, when the NCAA Final Four was last played in Indianapolis, the National Association of Basketball Coaches named Oscar the "Player of the Century."

The display is expected to be ready in time for the NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis, April 1-3.

Bill Benner is responsible for getting the USBWA's player of the year trophy permanently displayed at Conseco Fieldhouse. Benner is a past president of the USBWA and former columnist for the Indianapolis Star and currently the assistant director of communications for the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.

He worked on the project with Rick Fuson, executive director at Conseco Fieldhouse. Fuson's father, Wayne, is a former sportswriter and columnist, having worked at the Indianapolis News before retirement.

"This should provide the USBWA and the Oscar Robertson Trophy with tremendous visibility," Benner said. "Over a million people each year visit Conseco Fieldhouse. The exhibits are immensely popular."

At the news conference, the USBWA also announced that Conseco Fieldhouse also will be the site for the College Basketball Awards breakfast, hosted by the USBWA, on Friday morning, March 31.

The USBWA will present the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Henry Iba Coach of the Year award and also honor Indiana's 1976 and 1981 national championship teams. Part of the association's tradition is to annually recognize teams, players and coaches for significant achievements in college basketball.

Addressing the media at the press conference and representing the two Indiana teams were Quinn Buckner, captain of the 1976 Hoosier team and now vice president of communications for the NBA Indiana Pacers, and Ray Tolbert, MVP on the 1981 team and now sports director for a church in Indianapolis.

Spearheading efforts to honor those teams at the breakfast is Bob Hammel, also a past president of the USBWA and now retired after 44 years in the sportswriting profession, 30 of them covering Indiana basketball at the Bloomington Herald-Telephone and Times.

Hammel, working with the Indiana Alumni Association, wrote a letter that was sent to each member of those two teams, inviting them and a guest to the breakfast.

The breakfast will benefit the USBWA's scholarship programs and other association activities. A portion of the proceeds will also be given to the National Kidney Foundation in honor of Oscar Robertson, who donated a kidney several years to his daughter Tia, who was suffering from lupus.

Tickets for the breakfast are $100 each and can be purchased on the USBWA website at usbwa.com.

It is with sadness that I report the recent passing of two prominent members of the USBWA Jay Simon and Bob Logan.

Logan was a longtime member and former sportswriter for 28 years covering college basketball at the Chicago Tribune
and later 13 years at the Arlington Daily Herald.

Simon died this past fall in Arizona where he had retired after serving as sports information director at Kansas and before that sportswriting stints at the Topeka Capital-Journal and Daily Oklahoman. He was inducted as a charter member of the USBWA Hall of Fame in 1988.

USBWA looking for longtime members: In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the USBWA would like to recognize those current members who have maintained membership in the organization the longest since the USBWA's inception in 1956. Since records dating back to the formative years of the USBWA are incomplete, members are asked to e-mail their names and years of membership to Joe Mitch, executive director, at mitch@usbwa.com.
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