Say what you will about sports writers, but they all grew up reading legends.
"Who was the sports writer you followed the most? Who captured your imagination, your desire to want to be around sports greatness, and made you want to do this as a profession?"
Then get comfortable as he or she recalls tales of triumph and delight. After a while they'll get into essence of the craft, the diligence of the deadline, and the personality to bring the words to life, almost like magic.
Or they'll probably describe someone as being like a bulldog when on a story, treating a tasty scoop like a chew toy and never relinquishing their grip until shaking loose every last drop of information.
It's with that backdrop, and the 50-year anniversary of the Alabama Sports Writers Association, that the organization is announcing its 50 Legends over the course of March.
Each was selected at the end of an extensive process, which began with nominations from the ASWA membership, and numerous rounds of voting by the selection committee, which was primarily made up of the sitting executive council.
... and then even more discussion and voting took place in an effort to make sure that no one was missed.
Through it all, the word "Legend" hung over everyone, and was not taken lightly.
"The truth about the life of a man is not what he does, but the legend which he creates around himself." — Oscar Wilde
"Heroes come and go, but legends are forever." — Kobe Bryant
The 50 Legends will be honored during the 2022 ASWA Awards Banquet on June 12, at the Hilton Birmingham at UAB.
The 50 Legends of the ASWA
At least one name will be added on a daily basis during the month of March. No more than two Legends will be revealed on any given day.
Announcements will not reflect any part of the voting, and the names are not ranked in any way.
They will appear in alphabetical order as they are added.
Sam Adams was 38 years old, selling insurance and realized he didn’t have the knack for sales. Visiting family in Montgomery in 1939, he applied on a whim for a job at the Montgomery Advertiser. A weekend job turned into three decades as a journalist, covering major local and national events.
He was deeply involved in local activities and served at The Alabama Journal for 28 years as sports editor – though his colleagues had a different title for him. To them, he was “Coach Sam.”
Tom Arenberg was the sports editor and an occasional writer for The Birmingham News for 18 years. At the time he became sports editor in 1994, he had written zero sports stories in his journalism career. He previously worked as assistant state editor and metro editor for The News, and as a reporter for newspapers in Iowa.
The News’ sports staff received national and ASWA awards annually, and in 2012 Arenberg became the first News journalist in 24 years to win the newsroom’s excellence award a second time.
He worked as curation manager for the Alabama Media Group after his tenure as sports editor. He currently teaches journalism, including sports writing, at the University of Alabama.
Clyde Bolton was a sports writer first, author second, but the graceful prose of his more than 15 fiction and non-fiction books was woven through his work as a long-time columnist at The Birmingham News.
Before coming to The News, he worked at papers in LaGrange, Ga., Gadsden, Anniston and Montgomery. Bolton, a member of the ASWA Hall of Fame, chronicled the growth of Talladega Superspeedway and the heyday of the “Alabama Gang,” but the scope of his writing encompassed virtually every sport.
Mike Bolton has written about outdoors, NASCAR and college football for the Birmingham News and AL.com since 1984. He won the 2000 and 2002 Herby Kirby Awards for story of the year and numerous other ASWA awards.
During one 11-year stretch, he won the Associated Press Sweepstakes Award for best sports story of the year eight times. Twenty years ago, Bolton’s four-part series - The Cahaba: A River in Crisis - won numerous awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
His career has also included the Governor’s Conservation Award and two victories in the Buckmaster’s Classic hunting competition.
With Al Browning’s degree from Alabama and experience at The Tuscaloosa News, irate readers of The Knoxville News-Sentinel created a bumper sticker, “Will Rogers Never Met Al Browning” when he worked there as sports editor.
However, few among his colleagues didn’t like Browning, an engaging fellow with consistently unique angles in his stories and the many books he wrote.
Before his untimely death at 52, Browning had left the newspaper business to write screenplays and as a freelancer – back home in his native Alabama.
Once upon a time, a devoted reader named his fox hound after Jerry Bryan. Naturally, it won the state championship. The dog and the namesake were both winners. Bryan, one of the early inductees into the Alabama Sports Writers Hall of Fame, was an assistant sports editor for the Birmingham News and a fixture at that newspaper for more than four decades.
Though he covered a multitude of events, he settled into his first love – outdoors – as a specialty late in his career until his death in 1968. The outdoors beat, happily, included dog shows.
It’s said that most good sports writers could easily write a book. Based on his personality alone, Jimmy Bryan was a sports writer one could easily write a book about.
When Bryan passed away in 2006, Jimmy Smothers wrote: “A guy can't spend his life writing sports and not have dozens and dozens of newspaper buddies throughout the state; especially a guy such as Bryan, who never saw a stranger, nor had an enemy.”
The longstanding golf writer spent 36 years for the Birmingham News after six with The Gadsden Times. He was inducted into the ASWA Hall of Fame in 2000.
Was Al Burleson the best golfer among writers, or the best writer among golfers?
In either case, the long-time Huntsville Times writer and assistant sports editor was one of the most recognizable golf scribes in the state. He covered local and pro golf for more than 30 years, building close relationships with some of the greatest names in the sport.
But he was a versatile talent as well, applying his skill to an entire spectrum of sports before moving to the copy desk, helping other writers improve their craft.
One of the founders of the Alabama Sports Writers Association, Paul Cox got into the newspaper industry after graduating from Marshall County High School in 1948, and formed the one-man sports staff at the Anniston Star. Two stories he was especially known for there was the 1954 Cotton Bowl and Tommy Lewis’ famous tackle of Dickie Moegle, and Paul W. “Bear” Bryant leaving Texas A&M for Alabama.
His 53-year career led him to Miami, Atlanta, Columbus (Ga.), and finally Opelika, where he won the Herby Kirby Memorial Award for story of the year in 1975. He eventually became publisher.
Gregg Dewalt first came to the TimesDaily in Florence in 1988 and was (and still is) a fervent believer in local sports coverage.
He retired from being a sports editor in 2020, but remains active both on the course and in the media. Dewalt still writes for Alabama Golf News and for Teetimes, a golf-focused publication in Nashville.
He also still helps the TimesDaily as a self-described "minion" with its coverage of high schools and the University of North Alabama. Dewalt, a former UNA golfer, and his wife of 36 years, Rhonda, met when he was at the Cullman Times.
Bill Easterling was “the heart and soul of The Huntsville Times,” as his publisher once said. He came to the paper straight out of high school, working first as a copy boy but within two years was the sports editor, building an all-star staff, establishing his section as one of the best in the state and dazzling readers with his words.
Easterling, a member of the ASWA Hall of Fame, left sports in 1974, eventually becoming the general-interest columnist, pouring his own heart and soul into work that touched generations of readers.
Paul Finebaum began his writing career in 1980 with the Birmingham Post-Herald as a sports writer and columnist and soon became one of the most notable newspaper voices in the South. He would go on to win numerous national, regional and state writing awards, including twice winning the ASWA’s Herby Kirby Award for sports story of the year.
Finebaum also wrote for the Mobile Press-Register and was a columnist for SI.com.
He's also authored several books and is perhaps best known for his daily Paul Finebaum Radio Show and his work on the ESPN and the SEC Network.
Charles Goldberg covered Auburn, Alabama, the SEC and a lot of other things for 40 years, working as sports editor at the Anniston Star and later as an assistant sports editor and writer with the Birmingham News.
He was a recipient of the national Associated Press Sports Editors Award for best sports news story. He won ASWA and AP awards in Alabama for columnist of the year, best sports story and writing on deadline.
He had to climb fences to get out of locked stadiums, wore a fedora to a game and sat on a bucket to cover the Clay Bowl.
Rubin E. Grant is the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame’s 2021 Mel Allen Media Award recipient. He is a graduate of Carver-Montgomery High and the University of Alabama, where he was the first Black sports editor for the Crimson White student newspaper.
Grant spent 25 years at the Birmingham Post-Herald where he served as prep editor.
In 1981, he won the ASWA’s Herby Kirby Award. He was inducted into the Birmingham Barons Hall of Fame after 25 years of covering the team.
Since 2004, he has worked as a freelance journalist. He also co-authored “Tales from Alabama Prep Football.”
Harwell grew up just outside of Mobile and as a junior at Samford got his foot in the door with the Associated Press as a teletype operator. After graduating he started writing for the news service in Mobile, worked a bit in Atlanta, was named AP’s Birmingham Chief in 1966 and headed that office until retiring in 1992.
Harwell covered major sports in the state for 26 years, but his reach went way beyond the playing fields. He did numerous stories on the Civil Rights Movement including the Freedom Riders, the 6th Street Baptist Church Bombing, and the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Wayne Hester was described as a “fresh, original talent” when he was named sports editor of The Anniston Star in 1977. He continued to display that skill as both a writer and an editor, helping transform sports sections at The Star and, later, The Birmingham News with bold hires, unique ideas and aggressive coverage.
A three-year baseball letterman at Jacksonville State, author of several books and a 40-year veteran of journalism, Hester continued to contribute to The Star after retirement.
The longtime Birmingham News writer was inducted into the Alabama Sports Writers Hall of Fame in 2008. He also served as the organization's president in 1993-94, and continually helped coordinate its annual awards banquet.
Hollis graduated from Hanceville High in 1971 and attended both St. Bernard College and Jacksonville State. He started his career at the Cullman Times in 1973 and worked for the Anniston Star before joining the Birmingham News as the outdoors editor in 1978.
Hollis, who covered both Auburn and Alabama during different points of his career, won 12 National Associated Press Awards, 42 ASWA awards and six Alabama Associated Press Awards.
Tommy Hicks, sports editor at Lagniappe newspaper in Mobile, has covered sports in Alabama for 46 years at seven different newspapers, including 23 years with the Mobile Press-Register. He is a three-time Alabama Sports Writer of the Year, two-time Herby Kirby winner, two-time Alabama Sports Writers Association president, former Football Writers Association of America president, 2020 Bill Shelton Award winner and 2018 ASWA Hall of Fame inductee.
A Troy State graduate and Phenix City native, he is a past Hall School of Journalism Print Alumnus of the Year honoree. He is married to Julie Hicks and has a daughter, Maren Whittaker.
The words most associated with Cecil Hurt, and also the great compliment a sports writer can probably receive, was regularly heard from Crimson Tide fans: “What does Cecil think?”
Hurt worked for the Tuscaloosa News from 1980 until his death in 2021. He served as the beat reporter covering Crimson Tide football, baseball and basketball and, from 1989, as the sports editor/columnist.
Hurt was presented with over 100 professional writing awards including many from the Alabama Sports Writers Association, and will be inducted into its Hall of Fame this summer. He was honored with the Mel Allen Award from the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.
Ron Ingram, communications director for the Alabama High School Athletic Association, served as sports editor of the Dothan Progress and Dothan Eagle. For 24 years he led prep sports coverage at the Birmingham News.
He started and chaired the ASWA’s prep football and basketball rankings and all-state teams.
Ingram has won the ASWA’s Bill Shelton Award and Herby Kirby Award (twice).
He was inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame (2009), the ASWA Hall of Fame (2013) and the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame (2015). The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame presented him the Mel Allen Media Award (2017).
A native of Gadsden, Jon Johnson has been sports editor of the Dothan Eagle since 1988. He received the Bill Shelton Award by the Alabama Sports Writers Association in 2005, was recognized with the Distinguished Alabama Community Sports Journalist award by the Auburn University School of Communication and Journalism in 2011 and inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
He has served as past president of the ASWA, currently serves as a voter for the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and is the state representative for the Heisman Trophy voting.
Don Kausler Jr.
Don Kausler Jr. covered Paul Bryant’s last season as Alabama’s football coach and returned 27 years later to The Birmingham News to cover the second coming of the “Bear.” In between, blessed with an extraordinary staff, Kausler served nearly 15 wonderful years at the Birmingham Post-Herald, starting as the executive sports editor. The Missouri graduate was known as Paul Finebaum’s boss.
“It’s a dirty job,” Kausler said jokingly, “but somebody’s got to do it.”
Sandwiched around stints as the editor of two South Carolina daily newspapers, Kausler documented four Nick Saban seasons at Alabama. The Crimson Tide won three national championships and its first Heisman Trophy.
Randy Kennedy, host of the “Randy Kennedy Show” on Sports Talk 99.5 radio in Mobile with co-host Creg Stephenson, is the former sports editor of the Mobile Press-Register. He has an extensive newspaper background in the state, serving as community news director for AL.com’s Mobile hub, editor of the Opelika-Auburn News, managing editor of the Alexander City Outlook, sports editor of the Valdosta Daily Times, sports writer at the Dothan Eagle and sports editor of the Shelby County Reporter.
The Chelsea native and Montevallo graduate writes a sports column for Lagniappe newspaper in Mobile. He has won several writing awards.
Charles Land was the quintessential newspaper man, starting in the mailroom of the Tuscaloosa News and working his way up to sports writer, sports editor, managing editor, general manager and publisher.
In a story announcing his retirement in 1995, Land said: "Newspapering is about all I've ever really wanted to do."
He also served as president of the Alabama Press Association, president and board member of the APA Journalism Foundation, and on the board of the Southern Newspaper Association.
Land was believed to have been the only journalist to have a 1961 Crimson Tide national championship ring.
A. Stacy Long, the current chairman of the ASWA prep committee, and the next ASWA president, has long been an unofficial historian for Alabama high school sports.
He has databases on the AHSAA football, basketball, baseball and soccer playoffs, the volleyball and softball state tournaments, and a nearly complete list of all-time outdoor track and field championships. They also include all team state championships for both the AHSAA and AISA, the ASWA’s All-State teams and the ASWA’s rankings in all sports.
Long, currently at the Florence TimesDaily, has also worked at the Decatur Daily and Montgomery Advertiser in a 30-year career.
Bill Lumpkin was both an icon and industry fixture.
The sports editor of the Birmingham Post-Herald for 35 years, Bill Lumpkin was one of the founders of the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
Lumpkin was named Alabama Sports Writer of the Year five times, won the Herby Kirby Award for best sports story three times, and was inducted into the ASWA Hall of Fame in 1993.
Lumpkin served as president of the organization (1976-78), and of the Football Writers Association of America in 1993. In 1997, he received that organization's highest honor, the Bert McGrane Award, which symbolic of the association's Hall of Fame.
She was a pioneer in an almost male-only industry.
Kathy Jo Lumpkin was the first female member of the Alabama Sports Writers Association and served three terms on the Football Writers Association of America board of directors.
Lumpkin, the daughter of fellow 50 Legends honoree Bill Lumpkin, worked as a sports reporter at the Birmingham Post-Herald and Montgomery Advertiser, as well as the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the Alabama Journal. She covered both Alabama and Auburn for the Alabama newspapers, in addition to being the assistant sports editor and an NFL columnist for the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.
Benny Marshall worked at the Birmingham News and Age-Herald for 25 years, including 12 years as columnist. He wrote one of the first books about Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, “Winning Isn’t Everything… But It Sure Beats Anything That Comes In Second.”
Over a period of 13 years, Marshall was voted Alabama Sports Writer of the Year 11 times and won countless other writing awards. He was elected to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1982.
Along with son Phillip, he is one of three multi-generational pairings among the 50 Legends.
Phillip Marshall has been a sports writer in Alabama for more than 52 years and since 2008 has been the “go-to” source for Auburn fans as senior editor and now columnist/senior editor emeritus for Auburn247 Sports.
The two-time Alabama Sports Writer of the Year, and winner of more than 20 statewide writing awards, Marshall is one of the most renowned reporters and writers in the Southeast. He’s worked for the Huntsville News, Birmingham Post-Herald, Tuscaloosa News, Decatur Daily, Montgomery Advertiser and Huntsville Times, serving as sports editor at the latter three.
Marshall served as the ASWA president from 1982-84.
Wayne Martin wasn’t hired by his college newspaper because, he was told, “you don’t have enough experience.” Instead, he became a copy boy at the
Birmingham Post-Herald, assumed some menial writing duties – and ended up with more than four decades experience in the business.
Most of that time was with The Birmingham News, where he was a versatile writer best known for his coverage of UAB athletics and the Birmingham Barons. In 1994 he chronicled daily the exploits of a lanky Barons outfielder named Michael Jordan.
Mark McCarter is one of eight writers to receive the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame’s Mel Allen Award, for “a lifetime contribution to sports as a media member.” He was selected in 2022 to the ASWA Hall of Fame and was a four-time Alabama Sports Writer of the Year as named by the National Sports Media Association.
McCarter, author of three books, began his career with The Chattanooga News-Free Press, became sports editor of The Anniston Star, and spent 17 years as a columnist with The Huntsville Times.
Kirk McNair has twice served as president of the Alabama Sports Writers Association and been inducted into its Hall of Fame.
He joined the Birmingham Post-Herald in 1967 and was named assistant sports editor in 1969. In 1970, McNair left to join the Alabama sports department and in 1974 was named sports information director.
He left Alabama following the 1978 season to start ’BAMA Magazine and later BamaMag.com. He sold both in 2002, but continued to work both for various owners including BamaOnLine.
He's covered over 600 Alabama football games. His books include “What It Means To Be Crimson Tide” and “Gamechangers: The Greatest Plays in Alabama Football History.”
Ray Melick was named the Alabama Sportswriter of the Year three times, is a two-time Herby Kirby winner, and past president of the ASWA.
He was a beat writer and lead sports columnist for the Birmingham Post-Herald, finishing his sports career as a sports columnist for the Birmingham News.
Melick also hosted a long-running afternoon sports talk show on WJOX radio and ABC 33/40 TV. His work has appeared in multiple national publications, including Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and CNN and he loved every minute of being a sportswriter.
He is currently Editor in Chief of 1819 News, a statewide online media outlet covering all things Alabama.
Max Moseley, called by many “Mole,” similar to a fictional character he sometimes used in his columns, was one of the South’s best-known sports writers before his retirement in 1979.
He worked 47 years for the Montgomery Advertiser, both as a writer and the newspaper's sports editor.
He helped found both the Montgomery Quarterbacks Club and the Montgomery Golf Association, and is inducted into the Montgomery Golf Hall of Fame. Moseley was also the founder and president of the state left-handers golf tournament, and he served 40 years as the commissioner of the Central Alabama Football and Basketball Officials Association.
Zipp Newman went from being the South’s youngest sports editor, when he took over the Birmingham News in 1919, to the Dean of Southern sports writers. It wasn’t until 1959 that he became Sports Editor Emeritus.
Newman was one of the organizers of the Birmingham Monday Morning Quarterback Club, and he was the driving force behind the establishment of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1967. He served as its first executive secretary and was inducted in the Class of 1975.
Newman was also a charter member of the ASWA Hall of Fame along with Benny Marshall and Bob Phillips.
The graduate of Suwanee was the sports editor of the Birmingham Age-Herald from 1931 to 1950 and executive sports editor of the Birmingham Post-Herald from 1950 to 1973. He covered football and baseball, but was especially known for his golf stories and his column “On the Roof.”
Phillips was a mainstay at the Masters. He was inducted into the Birmingham Golf Association Hall of Fame in 1965, and served as the secretary-treasurer of the Alabama Golf Association for 40 years (1937-77). Phillips was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, and the Alabama Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame.
John Pruett first joined The Huntsville Times in 1966, and became the longstanding sports editor in 1974. He has been named Alabama's Sportswriter of the Year 17 times by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
In 2014, Pruett and George Smith were the first recipients of the Mel Allen Media Award by the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
Pruett was the first person in ASWA history to win the Herby Kirby Award for story of year, the Bill Shelton Award, be named to the Hall of Fame, and serve as president. The grand slam of the ASWA has only been accomplished three times.
Kevin Scarbinsky wrote sports for The Birmingham News and al.com. Grew from intern to columnist. Remains the only sports columnist in News history born north of the Mason-Dixon line. Covered everything from Final Fours to World Series.
Was named Alabama Sports Writer of the Year five times. Told you Nick Saban would be the Alabama coach as Saban said otherwise. Helped bring UAB football back to life. Today works with CoachSafely and the National Council of Youth Sports.
Writes a weekly column for The Lede. Loves wife Cindy and point guard sons Kaiser and Kanon. Still wears black.
A native of Montgomery, Doug Segrest covered the SEC and baseball for 20 years at the Birmingham News, the newspaper he first delivered as a 12-year-old.
A two-time Herby Kerby winner and past president of the ASWA, Segrest got his start at the Alabama Journal after graduating from college. He then spent seven years at the Nashville Banner before returning to the state as sports editor of the Decatur Daily in 1990.
His debut novel, A Storm Came Up, was recently adapted for the stage by the Wetumpka Depot. A member of the Birmingham Barons Hall of Fame, Doug lives in Hoover.
Bill Shelton, one of the nation’s most inspirational journalists, was Cullman County Sports Hall of Fame’s first inductee. He’s also enshrined in the Alabama High School and Alabama Sports Writers hall of fames.
The graduate of West Point High and the University of North Alabama, worked through numerous physical limitations from a polio diagnosis at age 9. Despite that, he learned to drive and type with one hand in order to join the staff at the Cullman Times, where he became the outlet’s first full-time sports editor.
Among those he mentored include Charles Hollis and Johnny Thornton. The ASWA’s Bill Shelton Award is named in his honor.
George Smith made his mark as sports editor of The Anniston Star, and for for several generations of Calhoun County readers he was the folksy general columnist with wry observations and a connection to the community.
Smith was the Star’s sports editor from 1958-1977, many of those years as a “one-man” band, and dutifully covered nearby Talladega Superspeedway. He became general columnist in 1977 and was writing up until his death in 2019.
A co-founder of the Alabama Sports Writers Association, Smith served as the organization's first president.
Jimmy Smothers may have written for a small paper, but few writers have had a bigger impact on the ASWA or sports in this state.
Smothers joined The Gadsden Times in 1961 and became its sports editor in 1963, a post he held for 43 years. Even upon retirement, he continued to produce columns and articles for the paper.
A founding member of the ASWA and an inductee into the Alabama
Sports Hall of Fame, Smothers “was born for the newspaper business,” as a friend eulogized upon his death in 2015 at age 82.
Jon Solomon worked for The Birmingham News and AL.com for nine years, writing columns, enterprise and investigative stories, and covering the SEC office and NCAA topics.
He was recognized as the Herby Kirby Award winner three times for the state's sports story of the year and won several Associated Press Sports Editors honors, including for investigative stories about Hoover High School football (with reporter Erin Stock) and basketball player Eric Bledsoe (with reporter Marie Leech).
Solomon later worked as a national college football reporter at CBSSports.com. He is currently editorial director of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program in Washington D.C.
Creg Stephenson is a Mississippi native. A 1996 graduate of the University of Alabama, Stephenson returned to the school and earned a master’s degree in 2003. He worked at the Meridian Star from 1996-98 and the Mississippi Press from 1998-2000, returning there for a second stint, 2009-14.
In Alabama, Stephenson has worked at the Cullman Times (2003-04), Anniston Star (2004-09) and AL.com (2014 to present). He served as ASWA president (2019-20) and won the Herby Kirby Award in 2018 for his Oral History of Alabama’s 1992 national championship football season.
He lives in Irvington with his wife Cristina and daughter Callie.
Naylor Stone's illustrious career began when he named sports editor of the Arkansas Democrat in 1915, just before his 18th birthday and he subsequently worked in Memphis, Cincinnati, New York, Cleveland, Boston and Chicago before finishing in Birmingham.
Stone joined the Birmingham Post in 1940, and he was sports editor of the Post-Herald in May 1950. Stone also served as Jack Dempsey’s publicity man, managed boxer Red Herring, and authored the book "Coach Tommy of the Crimson Tide", about former Alabama coaching legend Frank Thomas.
The media room in the Crimson Tide football building is named in his honor.
A 31-year sports writing veteran, he has also worked at the Gadsden Times, Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal and the Montgomery Advertiser, where he was sports editor. He is the 2020 National Sports Media Association Alabama Sports Writer of the Year, served as ASWA president (2009-10) and was the 2017 Bill Shelton Award winner.
He and his wife Michelle have three children — Robbie Rolls, Alyssa Rolls and Jayden Thomas.
Alf Van Hoose
Alf Van Hoose joined the Birmingham News sports staff in 1947 after a distinguished military career in World War II, including earning a Silver Star at the Battle of the Bulge and a Bronze Star. He worked for the newspaper for 43 years.
He was an assistant sports editor, award-winning baseball writer and columnist, plus covered SEC football. He became sports editor in 1969, and held the position for 21 years until retirement in 1990. His successor, Wayne Hester, said, "To many sports fans over the years, Alf Van Hoose has been The Birmingham News."
Van Hoose was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
Christopher Walsh arrived in Alabama in 2004 to cover the Crimson Tide and worked for numerous media outlets until he founded BamaCentral in 2018.
He’s an eight-time award winner from the Football Writers Association of America and is one of only four three-time winners of the Herby Kirby Award for story of the year from the Alabama Sports Writers Association. He’s the current ASWA president.
Walsh has authored 26 books, including many on Alabama football.
Originally from Minnesota and a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, he currently resides in Tuscaloosa with his wife Megan and children Evelyn and Declan.
Ronald Weathers began working for the Birmingham News in 1943 and spent 47 years with the newspaper before retiring in 1990. He covered high school sports for the first 38 years, earning the moniker "Mr. Prep Sports," before becoming a copy editing in the 1980s.
He was also known for getting some scoops from his friend Bobby Bowden.
Weathers was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame, into the ASWA Hall of Fame, and the Alabama Tennis Foundation Hall of Fame. He also received a Distinguished Service Award from the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association in 2004.
John Zenor has been the Associated Press sports writer for the state of Alabama for 20 years. He has covered 10 national championship games in college football thanks to the success of the state's programs.
Zenor started his career covering Auburn sports for the Opelika-Auburn News six months before graduating from college. He covered minor league baseball and local sports for The Albany (Ga.) Herald before returning to his home state. Zenor covered Alabama football for the Montgomery Advertiser for two years before joining AP.
He served as ASWA president 2017-18.
The 50th Anniversary ASWA Awards Banquet will be held June 12th in Birmingham.