Vol. 46, No. 3 April 2009 .pdf version
Jerardi: Plenty of issues to discuss
Mitch: Demise of newspapers a hot topic
Burwell: Negate networks' special access
Griffin wins Oscar Robertson Trophy
Kansas' Self wins Henry Iba Trophy
Paquette receives Katha Quinn Award
Most Courageous is cancer survivor
Izzo is fitting Good Guy Award winner
Bozich, McCann, Axthelm feted

Dick Jerardi

President's Column:
Closing out the decade with plenty of issues to discuss

By DICK JERARDI / Philadelphia Daily News

Not certain where the year has gone, but it's almost time to turn the presidency over to Steve Carp. From the time I took over in San Antonio on the morning that Kansas took Memphis' title away, it has been my privilege.

Thankfully, there were no impeachment proceedings. Or at least none than I knew about.

I did find out a lot about our organization that I never knew. I also found out there is still much I do not know.

In the past year, we were able to change a few things, follow through on a few initiatives and get a sense of what needs our attention in the future.

We did some redistricting, making District I strictly New England and including Pennsylvania and West Virginia in District II. It made it especially difficult to make the 10-player District II team, because there were so many good players in the district. But those things are cyclical.

We initiated a plan to expand our membership, get younger and get more diverse. This will be an ongoing process that Steve and his successors will oversee.

As of March, we had 105 new members. We are still getting them. But we had issues with the renewal system. I wish I could explain what happened and why, but I can't.

Suffice it to say, many members never got a renewal notice. Naturally, many of them did not renew, though they undoubtedly would have if had they gotten a notice. Through the efforts of Joe Mitch and Helen Huegel, we reached out to those who did not renew. Helen is persistent and organized. Former member by former member, she is tracking those people down to explain that we are sorry if we missed them at renewal time and how much we value their membership.

As of March, Joe said we have approximately 650 members 100 fewer than a year ago. We lost 200 members at renewal time.

Once Helen gets all those former members back in the fold, along with the new members we have gotten, the membership number will grow.

One of the many benefits of being a member is that we get to vote for All-District and All-America teams, along with Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. Sadly, very few of us voted this year.

On the conference call to finalize our awards, some district reps reported that they received only 10-15 votes. We have nine districts. Let's say it was 15 votes per district. That is 135 votes from 650 members. That is sad.

Again, part of it could be a communication issue. Not all members got ballots.

District II rep Dave Jones made a terrific suggestion. In the future, each rep should have a list of every district member. That way, the rep could e-mail to make certain everybody in the district is aware when end-of-the-year votes are on the immediate horizon. Jones does something similar as a Heisman Trophy rep, and he usually gets 100-percent participation from his group.

We will discuss these issues and many more in Detroit. Then, it will be Steve's turn to take over on the Monday morning of the championship game. He will have his own ideas and agenda. With all of our support, he will take the USBWA into a new decade.

Current, former USBWA officers honored

Former USBWA president Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe has been named national sportswriter of the year for 2008 and incoming president Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has been selected Nevada Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Ryan, a long-time sports columnist for the Globe, is a member of the USBWA Hall of Fame. He was recipient of the Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism in 2006, the Curt Gowdy Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996 and named AP National Sportswriter of the Year in 2000.

For Carp, this is the second year in a row that he has received the Nevada Sportswriter of the Year Award.

Carp also was selected Nevada's top sportswriter in 2000 and 2004. He has won 34 writing awards and is the author of a book on the history of UNLV basketball. Carp serves as first vice president of the USBWA and will become president of that organization at the Final Four in April.

Carp has worked at the Review-Journal since 1999 and has been in Las Vegas since 1988, when he worked at the Las Vegas Sun. He primarily covers boxing and also serves as the paper's NBA, golf and tennis writer.

The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Awards ceremony wil be held May 4 in Salisbury, N.C.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association and invites you to join us for its annual awards breakfast in Detroit, announcing the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year and the Henry Iba Coach of the Year, and to honor the 1978-79 national champion Michigan State Spartans.
Thursday, April 2
9 a.m.: USBWA Student Sportswriting Workshop, University of Detroit-Mercy campus
8 p.m.: Past Presidents and Board of Directors Dinner (Andiamo Riverfront Restaurant)
Friday, April 3
8 a.m.: USBWA Player and Coach of the Year Awards Breakfast (Detroit Athletic Club)
Saturday, April 4
8 a.m.: USBWA Board Meeting with the NCAA Basketball Committee (Marriott Renaissance);  USBWA Board of Directors meeting to follow.
Sunday, April 5
5:45 p.m.: Presentation of the Ray Marquette Award to USBWA President Dick Jerardi at the NABC Awards Function (Max M. Fisher Theater, 3711 Woodward Ave.)
Monday, April 6
9 a.m.: USBWA Awards Breakfast and Business Meeting (Marriott Renaissance, Ambassador Ballroom, Salon A)
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