With nearly 400 in attendance, local sportscaster Allen Smothers stepped on stage to receive an award that’s been 27 years in the making – South Carolina’s Sportscaster of the Year.
Voted on by broadcasters and writers from all over the country, the nomination process begins in October with final voting occurring in December. Winners are notified shortly thereafter and plans begin to attend one of the most important nights in a sportscaster or writer’s life.
For Smothers, who began his career just after high school in Greensboro, NC at WKEW radio station, it’s an award that represents a lifetime of achievement.
“For me, this is a career achievement award. I didn’t do anything different in 2011 that I don’t normally do. But, being recognized by my peers, this is special. ”
Peers, indeed. Attendees at last night’s event include some of the biggest names in broadcasting including Dick Vitale, Bob Costas, John Fienstein, Duke’s Bob Harris, Orel Hershiser, Terry Francona, Dick Ebersol, NASCAR’s Jeff Hammond, Philadelphia’s Jim Jackson, ESPN’s Dan Shulman, Bob Ryan, and Jay Bilas. The list goes on and on.
Through stints with the Myrtle Beach Hurricanes, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, Western Carolina Catamounts, the NBDL Fayetteville Patriots, 20 years of Beach Ball Classic broadcasts and many, many more, Smothers has become a well-known voice along the Grand Strand. He’s also hosted his own daily sports talk show in Florence for the last eight years, with a simultaneous weekly show running for eight years in Fayetteville, NC. The Press Box Radio show has become an institution.
NSSA’s Executive Director Dave Goren describes the NSSA as a 53 year old organization that honors Sportscasters and Sportswriters for excellence. “We honor people in the present with our Sportscaster and Sportswriter awards, we honor the past with our Hall of Fame awards, and we are starting to plant the seeds with our younger sportscasters who will take our jobs one day, by providing them mentoring and information and advice. So we try to cover past, present, and future.”
South Carolina’s Sportswriter of the year was Gene Sapakoff of the Charleston Post and Courier. Grand Strand Sports Report’s Terry Massey was a finalist for the award.
National winners include Sportscaster of the Year, Dan Shulman; Sportswriter of the Year, Joe Posnanski; Hall of Fame inductees Bob Costas and John Fienstein.