In a year that has been particularly hard on would-be repeaters (e.g., the Washington Redskins, the Duke Blue Devils and the Pittsburgh Penguins), it is worth noting the encore triumph of SI senior writer Rick Reilly, who was recently presented with yet another Louisville Slugger by the National Sports-casters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) for winning his second consecutive Sportswriter of the Year award. Although Reilly has covered his share of repeat victories in his eight years at SI, he can't remember ever having won anything back-to-back himself. Unless, that is, he goes back to his childhood in Boulder, Colo. "Well, I did win my classroom spelling bees at Sacred Heart Elementary in fifth and sixth grade," he says.
This year's trip to the awards ceremony in Salisbury, N.C., was especially sweet for Reilly. Thanks to a 110-foot putt by his 75-year-old father, Jack, on the final hole, the Reillys won the team scramble at the annual NSSA golf tournament. "Dad did a little James Brown dance after that putt," says Rick.
Reilly isn't the magazine's only award winner this year. Senior writer William Nack and special contributor Lester Munson won a Genesis Award from the Ark Trust, a nonprofit animal-rights organization, for Blood Money (Nov. 16, 1992), their exposè of the slaughter of show horses for insurance money. The illustrations that accompanied Blood Money earned design director Steven Hoffman and illustrator Anastasia Vasilakas a silver medal from the Society of Publication Designers. In addition, SI received recognition as a National Magazine Award finalist in reporting for the story. The magazine also was a finalist in the photography category. The shot of Carl Lewis at the finish of the men's Olympic 4 x 100-meter relay in the Aug. 17 issue won Bill Frakes a plaque for best magazine sports picture in the National Press Photographers Association's Pictures of the Year contest. And the Baseball Hall of Fame recognized Ronald C. Modra's picture in the Oct. 26 issue of the Atlanta Braves' celebrating their Game 7 win in the National League playoffs as the best in show of '92.
Rounding out the SI honor roll are senior writers E.M. Swift, whose story on figure skater Tonya Harding, Not Your Average Ice Queen (Jan. 13, 1992), earned him a Women's Sports Journalism Award from the Women's Sports Foundation, and Alexander Wolff, who, like Reilly, knows a little about repeating. At this year's Final Four, Wolff picked up his fourth U.S. Basketball Writers Association award in five years, for magazine writing. This one was for Blue Angel, his March 16, 1992, feature on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Congratulations to all.
Reilly was a big hitter on SI's team of award winners.