, BamaCentral Headline Annual ASWA Writing Awards

Christopher Walsh

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – placed first in four categories, and BamaCentral three plus had the story of the year, as the Alabama Sports Writers Association announced its annual awards on Sunday. 

The annual ASWA convention and awards banquet was initially scheduled for mid-June, only to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead the honors were revealed during a special luncheon held at the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

Isaiah Causey of Prattville High School was named the winner of the Jim Smothers Courage Award. It honors a high school athlete who has overcome adversity and shown immense courage.

Calhoun’s J.D. Davison picked up his Class 2A player of the year and Mr. Basketball awards after the annual basketball awards luncheon was canceled in the spring. He was just the fifth junior to be named Mr. Basketball by the ASWA in the 38-year history of the award.

Other ASWA awards announced included the four athletes of the year awards:

  • Pro: Derrick Henry
  • Amateur: Derrick Brown, Auburn
  • Small College: Robert Shufford, Birmingham Southern
  • Community College: Imari Martin, Wallace State-Hanceville's Daniel Boyette won in three writing categories (best deadline prep/amateur story, best softball feature and best wrestling/boxing story), while Josh Bean placed first in column writing.

Christopher Walsh of BamaCentral was first in two categories (best deadline pro/college story and best enterprise story), plus Johnathan Anderson won for best story by a student. 

Walsh won the Herby Kirby Memorial Award for best overall story with his lengthy series "Tale of the Coaching Tape: No one measures up to Nick Saban." It's his third time winning the sweepstakes award. 

Auburn Undercover, the TimesDaily and The Call News all placed first in two writing categories. 

Former ASWA president Tommy Hicks received the Bill Shelton Award, which goes to the top journalist in the state who excels in contributions to making the community better through journalism.

2019 ASWA Writing Awards 

Best Sports Story, Writing On A Deadline, Professional or College Event 

Winner: Christopher Walsh, BamaCentral; Alabama gets thumped by Clemson in National Championship Game

Runner-up: Brandon Marcello, Auburn Undercover; An on-deadline look behind the scenes of the trick play that won the 2019 Iron Bowl 

Best Sports Story, Writing on a Deadline, Prep or Other Amateur Event

Winner: Daniel Boyette,; Sparkman ends 12-year losing streak to Bob Jones

Runner-up: Stacy Long, Montgomery Advertiser; Alabama Christian plans lengthy celebration after a surprising run to a state softball championship 

Best Column, Four Columns Anytime of the Year

Winner: Josh Bean,; Spanish Fort volleyball's inspiration, What Alabama signees say is the Bama standard, The Super 7 is heading to Birmingham, Thompson's big victory over Hoover

Runner-up: Christopher Walsh, BamaCentral; This is how you do a coaching search, The slippery slope of money will only continue to change college football, Like with most things, Nick Saban was ahead of the curve in growing field of mental health, Alabama's oldest living quarterback an absolute and atypical inspiration 

Best Football Feature Without a Deadline

Winner: Brandon Marcello, Auburn Undercover; Kristi Malzahn, the wife coach Gus Malzahn, allows a reporter to follow here during a game day at Auburn University

Runner-up (tie): Stacy Long, Montgomery Advertiser; Isaiah Causey, after doctors feared development issues due his biological parents' abuse when he was an infant, is thriving with his adopted parents, enough to become a promising high school football talent

Runner-up (tie): Michael Hebert, TimesDaily; Chandler Brewer, a graduate of Florence High School, played through a diagnosis of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at Middle Tennessee State and was activated to the Los Angeles Rams' active roster in November 2019

Best Basketball Feature Without a Deadline

Winner: Stacy Long, Montgomery Advertiser; Star high school basketball player took on bigger role at home when his youngest sister was hospitalized for months

Runner-up (tie): Charlie Potter, BamaOnline; A military veteran who served on President Obama's Helicopter Squadron staff, Mike Snowden, is helping change the culture for Alabama basketball

Runner-up (tie): Becky Hopf, Tuscaloosa News; The 25th anniversary of the University of Alabama women's basketball team's 1994 NCAA Final Four team

Best Baseball Feature Without a Deadline

Winner: Craig Thomas, TimesDaily; Deshler High graduate Sydney Malone, 23, is the amateur scouting administrator for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and is one of a small number of women working as Major League scouts

Runner-up: Josh Bean, Verbena one-armed baseball player Tyler Abbot overcomes tragic accident to excel in high school sports

Best Softball Feature Without a Deadline

Winner: Daniel Boyette,; Attempted suicide became turning point for Alabama high school three-sports athlete

Runner-up: Stacy Long, Montgomery Advertiser; A year after her death due to ovarian cancer, Alex Wilcox would have been embarrassed at her high school naming its softball field for her

Best Golf Story without a Deadline

Winner: Greg Dewalt, TimesDaily; Feature on golfer with Down Syndrome

Best Wrestling and Boxing Feature Without a Deadline

Winner: Daniel Boyette,; 'Just don't give up:' Bob Jones' Zaevian Tony overcame near-fatal wreck, father's shooting death

Runner-up: Daniel Boyette,; You don't have to see to wrestle; Legally blind Alabama high school senior chases state title


Best Enterprise Story

Winner: Christopher Walsh, BamaCentral: Tale of the Coaching Tape: No one measures up to Nick Saban 

Runner-up: Tony Tsoukalas, BamaInsider; Alabama and New Mexico State are located 1,200 miles apart and even further away in terms of status

Breaking New Story

Winner: Brandon Marcello, Auburn Undercover; The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry is rescheduled for the first time since the 1930s in a massive shift for the Auburn-Georgia series, as first reported by Auburn Undercover

Runner-up: Gregg Dewalt, TimesDaily; Coach accuses another school of racism

Best Story or Series Writing, Non-Daily Publication

Best Column or Feature

Winner: Tommy Hicks, The Call News; Remembering a Miracle

Runner-up (tie): Scott Wright/Stacey Roach, Cherokee County Herald; In 1958, four young men from Cherokee County traveled to Mobile to see Bryant's first game as coach of the Crimson Tide

Runner-up (tie): Arthur L. Mack, The Call News; Great Moments from Ballparks

Best Game Story 

Winner: Arthur L. Mack, The Call News; Lincke connects for MC

Runner-up (tie): Tommy Hicks, The Call News; UMS still rules

Runner-up (tie): Roy Mitchell, Cherokee County Herald; Cherokee County High School defense leads way

Runner-up (tie): Shannon Fagan, Cherokee County Herald; No. 16 Gamecocks vs. No. 14 Eastern Washington in a comeback win, 49-45

Best Student Enterprise/Feature

Winner: Johnathan Anderson, BamaCentral; Serving from the sideline: Alabama soccer's Chloe Mainze's road to recovery

Sweepstakes Award (Herby Kirby Memorial Award)

Best story from all categories above

Christopher Walsh, BamaCentral; Tale of the Coaching Tape: No One Measures up to Nick Saban 

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Comments (2)
No. 1-2
Joey Blackwell
Joey Blackwell


Congrats to all of this year's winners!

Anthony Sisco
Anthony Sisco


Way to go BamaCentral!