COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Nov. 16) – The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism honored former New York Times sports columnist Bill Rhoden with this year’s Lacy-Smith Award. Named for two pioneering African-American sports journalists, Sam Lacy and Wendell Smith, Rhoden is the third winner of the prestigious award. Previous winners were James Brown (2015) and Claire Smith (2014).

The award is just one of many presented during this year’s Povich Center Awards Luncheon Wednesday. The event is traditionally held the afternoon prior to the Povich Symposium.

Other award winners include:

  • Susan Fornoff ’79 and Jimmy Roberts ’79 are this year’s “Distinguished Terrapin” award winners.
  • Alan Bubes and Brit Kirwan – Special Recognition
  • Monica McNutt – Rising Star

The Povich Center also recognized four “All-Star Students” including Justin Meyer, Michael Stern, Kofie Yeboah and Callie Caplan.

Maury Povich with Bill Rhoden and George Solomon.

Maury Povich with Bill Rhoden and George Solomon.

Lacy-Smith Award Winner
Bill Rhoden, who retired from The Times this past July, spent a career writing about race, inclusion and justice, just as the late sportswriters Sam Lacy and Wendell Smith, for whom the award is named.

  • After growing up in Chicago, Rhoden attended and graduated from Morgan State University in Baltimore, went to work at the Baltimore Afro-American where he was mentored by Sam Lacy, the newspaper’s sports editor.
  • He later worked four years at Ebony Magazine and three years at The Baltimore Sun before joining The New York Times in 1981 as a copy editor on the Sunday Week in Review section.
  • Rhoden has also written a number of books, including the widely acclaimed “Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Black Athlete” and accumulated countless television and film credits.

Watch the video. Introduction by Maury Povich:



Special Recognition

Kevin Blackistone with Brit Kirwan and George Solomon.

Kevin Blackistone with Brit Kirwan and George Solomon.

Brit Kirwan is a nationally recognized authority on critical issues shaping the higher education landscape. Prior to his 13 years as chancellor of the University System of Maryland, Kirwan served as president of Ohio State University for four years and president of the University of Maryland, College Park for 10 years.

  • He was also a member of the University of Maryland faculty for 24 years. Kirwan chairs the National Research Council Board of Higher Education and Workforce and co-chairs the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.
  • He also serves on the Business-Higher Education Forum. He is a member of the boards of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Greater Baltimore Committee, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, and other organizations.
  • Kirwan received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Kentucky and his master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
Alan Bubes with Maury Povich.

Alan Bubes with Maury Povich.

Alan Bubes is a native Washingtonian. Alan attended High School at Sidwell Friends and received a B.S. from Georgia Tech. He has spent the last 30 years as President and CEO of Linens of the Week, one of the largest Linen Suppliers to the Food Service Industry in the country until the recent sale of his business.

  • Bubes is a lifelong follower of sports in the Washington area, where he has been an avid fan and supporter. Alan is active in many charities with a special interest in sports, education and children in the city.
  • He also is a supporter of the Landon School, St. Andrew’s School, the Lab School where his three children Nathan, Elizabeth and Andrew attended.
  • Alan is married to Nancy Taylor Bubes, a well-known community leader and realtor in the Washington D.C. area. He supports the Shirley Povich Sports Journalism Summer Camp.

Distinguished Terrapins

Susan Fornoff ’79 with Emeritus Professor Maureen Beasley.

Susan Fornoff ’79 with Emeritus Professor Maureen Beasley.

Susan Fornoff ’79 started her illustrious sports journalism career as sports editor of The Diamondback. She then worked at the Baltimore News American and was part of the original sports staff at USA Today until1985. She was hired by the Sacramento Bee to cover the Oakland A’s.

  • In 1986, she became known as “The Rat Lady” after a player sent her a gift-wrapped rat to bring attention to what he considered to be the injustice of women entering the clubhouse; that backfired, ultimately costing him his job and motivating her to join three other women sportswriters in forming the Association for Women in Sports Media in 1987.
  • The baseball writing experience inspired her to write a memoir called “Lady in the Locker Room. After the success of the book she went on to work in media relations for World Cup Soccer, the San Francisco Examiner and then Chronicle  as news copy desk editor, sports copy desk editor, golf writer, real estate section staffer, features copy editor, home-and-garden reporter, general feature writer, and, finally, travel editor.
  • In 2010, she founded GottaGoGolf as a media company for women who play golf for fun. She lives in Littleton, Colo. where she offers writing services, content marketing, thought leadership and custom publishing for PR professionals.

Sue Kopen Katcef with Jimmy Roberts ’79 and George Solomon.

Jimmy Roberts ’79 began his journalism career as a writer for his high school newspaper and later graduated from the University of Maryland. Roberts is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and writer known most recently for his work on NBC and Golf Channel as an essayist, interviewer, feature reporter and studio host.

  • He is a fixture on NBC and Golf Channel’s coverage of the PGA TOUR and other high-profile golf events, including the Ryder Cup. Roberts joined NBC Sports Group in May 2000 after a long career at ABC and ESPN in which he won 11 Sports Emmy Awards.
  • In 2009, Harper Collins published Roberts’ first book, Breaking the Slump, which deals with how some of the best golfers to ever play the game dug themselves out of dry spells.
  • Roberts served as an Olympic correspondent during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Rio was his 16th Olympic assignment. He lives in the New York area with his wife, Sandra, and their three sons.

Past award winners are

Bonnie Bernstein (Campus Insiders Vice President of Content and Brand Development), Scott Van Pelt (ESPN commentator and Reporter), Tim Brant (WJLA-TV Vice President of Sports), Christy Winters-Scott (former Maryland women’s basketball player and Big Ten Network, Washington Mystics and Wizards analyst), Chick Hernandez (Anchor/Reporter/Host Comcast SportsNet/NBC Sports), Tina Cervasio (Sports Broadcaster) and Ike Richman (Vice President of Public Relations at Comcast Spectacor).

George Solomon with Monica McNutt.

George Solomon with Monica McNutt M.J. ’13.

Rising Star

Monica McNutt M.J. ’13 of The American Sports Network is the 2016 “Rising Star” awardee, an award created by the Povich Center to honor a young alum who is progressing and succeeding in the sports journalism field.

  • McNutt is the second recipient of the award. McNutt, a native of the DMV area, started her journalism career while an undergraduate at Georgetown University writing a blog for The Washington Post on life as a student-athlete.
  • After her stellar basketball career at Georgetown ended, she decided to pursue journalism full-time and enrolled in the Master’s program at Philip Merrill College.
  • After graduating in 2013, McNutt was a sports reporter for News Chanel 8 in Washington D.C. covering local sports. She is now a reporter/anchor for the American Sports Network located in West Palm Beach, Florida.


All-Star Students

Merrill students Justin Meyer, Kofi Yeboa, Michael Stern, Callie Caplan.

Merrill students Justin Meyer ’17, Kofi Yeboa ’17, Michael Stern ’17 and Callie Caplan’17.


Callie Caplan ’17 spent her time at Merrill College working her way up the ranks at The Diamondback, Maryland’s independent student-newspaper. During her senior year, Caplan is both a sports editor and a senior staff writer. She was the recipient of the AWSM internship in the Summer of 2016 when she worked at USA Today. She also covers high school sports for The Washington Post.

Justin Meyer ’17 is the Editor in Chief of The Left Bench the co-business director as well as a broadcaster of WUMC Sports. He has written for The Columbus Dispatch and Testudo Times.

Michael Stern ’17 is the Business Director of the Left Bench and the Sports Director of WUMC Sports. He is also a multimedia reporter for the Capital News Service. He has previously worked for USA Today, NBC News and WTOP.

Kofie Yeboa’ 17 is the Director of Personnel at The Left Bench, an assistant editor at ESPN’s The Undefeated. He has previously written for The Huffington Post, USA Today Sports and ESPNU and interned at D.C. United.

Beth Mechum

About the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism:

The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism is based at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. The Povich Center is a resource for journalists, academics and the public who want to explore the complex role of sports in society. The Center is led by its director, George Solomon, who was assistant managing editor for sports at the Washington Post from 1975-2003.