Sittler to receive McGrane AwardPublished 12:29pm Tuesday, July 17, 2012
DALLAS — Dave Sittler, an award winning writer and a staple of journalism in the Oklahoma and Nebraska areas since the early 1970s, will be jointly honored Saturday by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) and the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) when he is presented the FWAA’s Bert McGrane Award during the NFF’s Annual Enshrinement Festival in South Bend.
“The National Football Foundation is proud to partner with the FWAA to present the Bert McGrane Award to Dave Sittler whose superb coverage has been an essential part of college football for more than 40 years,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The award’s past recipients include some of the most passionate contributors to the game, and it is fitting that we annually provide our national stage to acknowledge their significant work in enhancing the enjoyment of our sport for millions of fans nationwide.”
Sittler, 66, recently retired from his fulltime job as columnist at the Tulsa World, but is working part-time for the paper and will continue to appear on the Tulsa Sports Animal radio show (KYAL-FM). Sittler’s name has been placed on the large Bert McGrane plaque that hangs in the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend.
“Dave Sittler has been a bedrock for several entities for a long time – the FWAA and all the newspapers he has worked for over the years,” said Steve Richardson, FWAA Executive Director. “Not only has he been a tireless reporter in his regular job, he has managed to aid the FWAA greatly in his steady advice over the years, not to mention his involvement with the Volney Meece Scholarship.”
Sittler, the 2001 FWAA president and a member since 1973, first proposed the idea of the Volney Meece Scholarship, which is named after the FWAA’s late executive director, in the mid 1990s. He has been the only selection chairman the award has known. The annual $1,000 grant, awarded since 1997 and renewable for up to four years, is given to a deserving son or daughter of an FWAA member.
“Dave takes special pride in the award because he knows of the historical significance of Volney Meece to the FWAA as well as the educational aid the scholarship provides to children of FWAA members,” Richardson said.
A 1971 University of Nebraska graduate, Sittler has worked for five papers and has covered college football as either a beat writer or columnist in Nebraska and Oklahoma, spanning several eras from the 1970s and Nebraska coach Bob Devaney to the new millennium and Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. Sittler, who grew up in Nebraska, began his career at the Lincoln Journal Star in 1971 and moved over to the Omaha World-Herald in 1978 and stayed until 1985. From there, he went to Tulsa, where he worked for The Tribune from 1985-92. Sittler spent seven years at The Oklahoman before landing at his final stop, the Tulsa World in 1999.
A native of Hebron, Neb., Sittler has won numerous local and national writing awards and has been elected 10 times as the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Oklahoma Sportswriter of the Year. He claimed the Hebron High School Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003 and two years later was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. Sittler and wife Ann, a native of Australia, have two grown children, Geoff and Brian.
Sittler becomes the 39th recipient of the award, which is symbolic of the association’s Hall of Fame and is presented to an FWAA member who has performed great service to the organization and/or the writing profession. The announcement of Sittler being named the 2012 recipient occurred Jan. 9, 2012 at the association’s annual awards breakfast in New Orleans, La., before this year’s Allstate BCS National Championship Game. The award is named after Bert McGrane, a Des Moines, Iowa sports writer, who was the executive secretary of the FWAA from the early 1940s until 1973.
Thousands of college football fans from across the country are expected to attend the 2012 Enshrinement Festival, which will pay tribute to the storied careers of 23 of the game’s greatest stars and takes place July 20-21. Fans will have a variety of family-friendly and affordable opportunities to meet and mingle with the enshrinees during this spectacular event. The jam-packed weekend will include the Annual Ribs Cook-Off & Downtown Block Party, Hall of Famer Blazer Presentation, live concerts and the Fireworks Spectacular, all free of charge. The celebration culminates with the Enshrinement Dinner & Show on Saturday evening.
Nationally acclaimed television commentator Charles Davis, who appears on FOX Sports and the NFL Network, will host the Enshrinement Dinner & Show, which will cap the weekend’s festivities with panache and flair. Attendees and those watching on the internet will have the opportunity to hear from each member of the enshrinement class as they reflect on their careers and the meaning of being bestowed with the sport’s ultimate honor. Highlight footage of each inductee will be shown, and several interviews with special guests in the audience will take place during the show.