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Vol. 55, No. 4 May 2018 .pdf version
After nearly four decades, it's time to retire
By JOE MITCH
It is with sadness and joy, too that I am announcing my retirement from my position with the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
I'm staying on for one more year to help the new person during his/her transition period.
I've been involved in an official capacity with the USBWA for 38 years, first as editor of The Tipoff, and for the last 35 years as executive director.
The USBWA has been a passion of mine for nearly four decades. Leaving it after so many years is one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. It's like losing a close friend.
I never really thought about when this day would come, but now I'm feeling it's time for me to move on to the next chapter in my life.
I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family, including three grandchildren, two in Chicago and one in Los Angeles. My wife Sue, who has been by my side every step of the way, and I plan to do some traveling now that she has fully retired as associate pastor of Kirkwood (Mo.) United Methodist Church. Sue and I will be celebrating our 50th anniversary this August.
I've often said the strength of this organization is its presidents, and I've had the privilege to work with some of the finest sports journalists in the country. Each one has been unique in their style of leadership, but all have had one common goal to help writers do their job covering college basketball with greater access, better media seating and improved working conditions at games.
I think my greatest joy is seeing how meaningful being inducted into the organization's Hall of Fame is to those being honored.
There are far too many individuals to thank in this column, but I do want to recognize a few who have helped me along the way and helped make the USBWA a strong and vibrant organization representing over 900 members.
Past president John Akers (2012-13) has done an outstanding job as Tipoff editor for the last 15 years, taking over a few years after the passing of former editor Larry Donald in 2000. The Tipoff is as good as any organizational newsletter in the country.
Ted Gangi has been our webmaster and a lifesaver for 16 years, and has had the patience of Job dealing with a computer greenhorn like me. Ted also reformatted the membership directory, making it much more user-friendly.
The Final Four student-writing workshop and scholarship competition are now in the hands of past president Malcolm Moran (1988-89). The workshop has helped countless number of students looking to pursue careers in sports journalism and provided many with college scholarships. Malcolm also secured the organization's first major sponsor Mercedes-Benz.
Dave Dorr, a lifelong friend for nearly five decades and a past president (1979-80), is largely responsible for getting me involved in the USBWA, encouraging me to join and later supporting me for the Tipoff editor's position while I was an assistant commissioner editing a weekly tabloid for the old Metro Conference.
I'd be remiss if I didn't thank NCAA media coordinator Dave Worlock and the late Dave Cawood before him. They were advocates for the USBWA in meetings with the basketball committee and created changes in media policies that helped all writers covering the NCAA tournaments.
I also want to thank the many members who served on the board as district reps and officers and might not have liked conference calls but participated on them anyway. I chuckled when one officer remarked that he's eliminating conference calls altogether when he becomes president.
People have asked me how I managed to get this job, considering I'm not a sportswriter, although I have a degree in journalism and worked as a student reporter in college at Michigan State.
My career with the USBWA began in 1980 as editor of The Tipoff. Three years later, the USBWA was looking to replace retiring Steve Guback as executive director. Steve called me and asked if I would be interested in the position. I never hesitated in taking the job. It was an opportunity of a lifetime for me.
It's been an exciting and eventful time for me. I'll miss the relationships more than anything. But I'm leaving knowing the USBWA has not only grown its membership but also benefited from the hard work of presidents, district reps and members, people who really care about this organization.
I feel fortunate and honored to have been a part of it.
FINAL USBWA EVENT OF THE YEAR: The USBWA closed out the season with a banquet in St. Louis in April. The event served as a fundraiser for the USBWA and attracted a sellout crowd of over 400 people. The Missouri Athletic Club hosted the dinner.
SALUTE TO IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT VAHÉ GREGORIAN: Vahé continued the long line of presidents who made a difference in the organization. Vahé was a great ambassador who always made himself available for public appearances and news conferences.
JOB POSTING: Individuals interested in applying for the USBWA executive director's position beginning July 1, 2019, should send a resume and letters of recommendation to: David Teel, USBWA president, Newport News Daily Press, 10 Trotters Bridge Dr., Poquoson, VA 23662. The deadline to apply is Aug. 1.
Teel takes over as USBWA president
David Teel of the Newport Daily News moved into the USBWA's presidency position for 2018-19 at the association's annual board of directors' meeting during this year's men's Final Four in San Antonio.
Teel succeeds Vahé Gregorian, Kansas City Star, as president of the USBWA. Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune was named third vice president. Moving up in the rotation of officers were Mike Waters, Syracuse Post-Standard, first vice president, and Seth Davis, CBS Sports and the Athletic, as second vice president.
Named to the board as district reps for three-year terms were Gavin Keefe in District I, Luke DeCock in District III, Brendan Quinn in District V and Bob Holt in District VII.
Lodge Notes: Gregorian named top columnist by APSE
Outgoing USBWA President Vahé Gregorian of the Kansas City Star was named the Associated Press Sports Editor's top columnist for newspapers in the over-175,000 circulation division.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports took first place in beat writing in the over-175,000 division. Kelly Lyell of the Fort Collins Coloradoan won first place, along with colleague Matt L. Stephens, for breaking news in the under 30,000 circulation category.
Dave Dorr, a veteran sports writer of 35 years for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and a former Sporting News college basketball columnist, was named to the St. Louis Media History Foundation's Media Hall of Fame.
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