Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sports department awards

The Alabama Sports Writers Association writing and design awards are out -- which is good news for The Star's sports department.

The Star won a pair of categories: One for best layout, which judges the crispness and organization of the sports department's pages; and another for best auto racing feature.

Tyler Greer, The Star's former assistant sports editor and assistant metro editor, won the auto racing category with a story headlined "Racing for America." That story, published the Sunday of the April 2005 NEXTEL Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, examined how NASCAR teams use cars sponsored by branches of the Armed Services to lure in -- and retain -- fans.

The Star beat its main competition, the Mobile Press-Register, for the best designed sports pages. The Star's winning entry included editions from June and July of 2005.

Interestingly, several former Star sports writers also did well in the awards. Mark McCarter, The Star's former sports editor (1989-2002), won the Herby Kirby Award, which signifies the best sports story written in Alabama during the year. McCarter is a columnist for the Huntville Times. His winning entry looked at the future of pro sports in Huntsville.

Former Star Sports editor Jimmy Creed, now the managing editor of the Jacksonville News and Piedmont Journal, was the runner-up in the best investigative story category.

Creed, McCarter and former Star sports staffers and interns Tommy Hicks and Paul Gattis also won or finished second in several other categories, as well.