NSMA hosts its 59th annual Awards Weekend in Winston-Salem


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The National Sports Media Association hosted its 59th Annual Awards Weekend on June 23-25, honoring over 50 award winners from across the country and educating the future members of the sports media industry during three days of summits, seminars, banquets, and a plethora of chance to connect with friends old and new from across the sports media industry.

The second awards weekend held in Winston-Salem since the organization’s move from Salisbury, N.C. in 2017, guests and honorees were treated to the region’s brand of charm and Southern hospitality at events held in athletic facilities throughout the Twin City, culminating with the Awards Banquet on Monday night at Lawrence Joel Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.

“Prior to the event, past participants had raved about the award weekend, and what my wife and I experienced was absolutely rave-worthy,” said Pete Pranica, NSMA’s 2017 Tennessee Sportscaster of the Year. “Scores of gracious folks and a program with great content without overstuffing the schedule made for a memorable experience. Our days in Winston-Salem have already provided great memories and new friendships.”

The weekend kick offed with a welcome reception on Saturday at the Winston Cup Museum. Award winners got the chance to view over a dozen cars from the Winston Cup era of racing while chatting and reconnecting with colleagues from across the country. Foothills Brewery and Piedmont Distillers provided refreshments for the guests.

Guests moved from the Winston Cup Museum to JDL Fast Track for our Welcome BBQ on Saturday night. Competition Barbequer Alfred Anderson of Salisbury, N.C. kept guests happy with a buffet of brisket, grilled chicken, ribs, and peach cobbler while Foothills once again provided drinks. The highlight of BBQ was the Sports Trivia Contest, moderated by Elon Sportscaster Matt Krause. NSMA Hall-of-Famer Bob Ryan’s “Team Boston” triumphed in the four-round contest. Guests then traveled up the street to the Foothills Brewing Tasting Room for a quick after-party to end the evening.

Sunday Morning began bright and early for NSMA’s award winners with the inaugural Wake Forest Baptist Sports Medicine Summit, where sports media members learned from Wake Forest Baptist doctors, athletic trainers, and EMTs about various sports medicine topics, including concussion protocol, spine boarding, knee injuries, and proper helmet fitting.

Bookmarks book store held a sports book signing on Sunday afternoon, featuring a variety of writers from across the field, including featuring authors Roland Lazenby (Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant), Andrew Maraniss (Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South), Mike Stanton (Unbeaten: Rocky Marciano's Fight for Perfection in a Crooked World), and Adam Schupak (Dean Beman: Golf's Driving Force).

Sunday evening brought along the Legacy Night Dinner featuring the Roone Arledge Award for Innovation. This year’s recipient was Raycom Sports, as Wes Durham moderated a panel featuring Raycom executives discussing the sports syndicated TV provider’s history broadcasting games played by the ACC, Big Eight, Big Ten, SEC and the old Southwest Conference and the future of company in today’s new media marketplace. Benton Convention Center hosted the dinner and the after-party was held at the Ramkat.

Monday morning marked the annual sports convergence seminars, where aspiring sports media members learned from various award winners and guests across the industry. Topics covered at the Benton Convention Center that morning and afternoon included how to break into the sportscasting industry, social media tips and tricks, podcasting, and play-by-play prep.

Monday night marked the crown jewel of the weekend, as over 350 guests attended the Awards Banquet held on the floor of Lawrence Joel Coliseum. Emceed by ESPN’s Ryan McGeen, NSMA honored 44 of its state sportscasters and sportswriters of the year, 2017 Wyndham Championship Golf Story of the Year Adam Schupak, its two Big House Gaines Award Winners, Leonard Hamilton of Florida State and Ricky Jackson of Claflin University, 2017 National Sportscaster of the Year Kevin Harlan, 2017 National Sportswriter of the Year Adrian Wojnarowski and its 2018 Hall-of-Fame class of HBO Broadcaster Bryant Gumbel, Philadelphia and New York Daily News writer Dick “Hoops” Weiss, longtime Washington Post baseball writer and columnist Tom Boswell, and posthumously North Carolina Tar Heels play-by-play sportscaster Woody Durham.

After Durham’s induction was accepted by his son Wes, Learfield Sports and UNC athletics debuted a new award, christened the “Woody Durham Voice of College Sports Award,” to be presented annually to sportscaster of a college program “who is as symbolic to their fans as Woody Durham was to Tar Heel fans everywhere,” Learfield Sports’ Tom Bowman said during the ceremony. The inaugural winner was Don Fischer, the voice of the Indiana Hoosiers men’s basketball and football teams, and a 26-time Indiana Sportscaster of the Year Winner.

The weekend was capped off following the awards banquet with drinks and conversation at Graze Restaurant and Bar in the Marriott hotel.

NSMA would like to thank all of its volunteers and program committee members who made the weekend such a success, as well as all the winners who were able to attend the weekend’s festivities.

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