Frank Deford speaking at 25th Deford Award
Ceremony May 1, 2014

Presented annually to the top student Sports Information Assistant(s) at Williams College since 1990, the Deford Award is believed to be the only award of its kind in the nation.

In June of 2016 at Commencement Williams College bestowed an Honorary Degree on Frank Deford.

Frank Deford was named the best living sportswriter in the nation by GQ magazine in 1989. For many years Deford was the top writer at Sports Illustrated and later served as the Editor of 'The National' -- the first national sports daily in America. Deford has penned more than a dozen books and at least two have become movies -- Alex: The Life of a Child and Everybody's All-American.

Deford also served as a weekly commentator on National Public Radio.

A Long Conversation With Frank Deford (of Frank Deford Award fame) 7/1/15 with Ryan Glassspiegel from the website The Big Lead.

Deford was a graduate of Princeton, but his love of the color purple and his involvement with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation were contributing reasons for the award being created in his name. Shortly after arriving at Williams in the fall of 1989 Sports Information Director Dick Quinn wanted to create a way to recognize the outstanding contributions of the student Sports Information assistants.

Quinn remembered an article by Deford years ago in Sports Illustrated bemoaning the fact that his favorite color purple seemed to be worn by teams that could never win the big game. Deford lamented that his favorite color could never grab the golden ring -- the Vikings in the Super Bowl and the Lakers in the NBA Finals (before Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar).

Quinn and Deford also shared a life experience that made them kindred spirits. Both Quinn and Deford lost a daughter to Cystic Fibrosis.

Quinn contacted Deford and convinced him to allow the Ephs to name the award recognizing the top Eph student Sports Information assistant in his honor. Quinn assured Deford that the award would be worthy of his good name due to the outstanding talents of the student Sports Information assistants on his staff and the overall quality of the Eph teams.

Deford came to campus to present the first award. A long list of nationally recognized figures in the sports world have followed.

The Deford Award is presented annually in the spring. The event is open to the college and local community. No student can win the Deford Award more than once. 

Frank Deford established the following traditions in his May 1990 visit:

+ The evening begins with dinner in a dining hall with selected student Sports Information assistants, their families, and the featured speaker. This came about as a way to give Frank Deford a different kind of dining experience.

+ Award ceremony must begin at 7:00 PM and end at 8:00 PM and it must be free. This time frame enabled Deford to drive up and back from his Connecticut home on the day of the event.

+ Deford requested that the featured speaker receive no appearance fee.

+ Format: Introduction by Sports Information Director, presentation of the Aaron Pinsky Award by the Pinsky family, presentation of the Deford Award by the featured speaker. 

2020 Deford Award Winners (TL-TR) : Jared Boothe '20, Grace Byers '20, Danny Jin '20, (BL-BR): Alex Okinaka '20 & Bryan Woolley '21


Year Winners(s) Presenter
2020 Jared Boothe '20, Grace Byers '20, Daniel Jin '20, Alex Okinaka '20, Bryan Woolley '21 Coronavirus prohibited a public event
2019 Cori Chan '19, Zeke Cohen '19 & Ryan Rilinger '20 Charlie Pierce
NPR, Sports Illustrated, Esquire
2018 Adam Dulsky '18, Jay Habib '18 & David Vascones '18 Ian O'Connor
2017 Hannah Atkinson '17, Jackson Myers '17 & Anna Spellman '17 Will Kuntz '06
2016 Brandon Acosta '16, Scott Shelton '17 & Luis Urrea '16 Mike Disner '06
Dir. Football Ops. Arizona Cardinals
2015 Elliot Chester '15, Claire Miller '15 & Nate Thompson '15

Jamie Horowitz
Pres. Fox Sports

2014 Dylan Dethier '14, Kathleen Elkins '14 & Ali Piltch '14 Frank Deford
2013 Megan Casey '13, Darren Hartwelll '13 & James Ray '13 Jay Bilas
2012 Tim Goggins '13, Sarah Herr '12,
Harry Marino '12 & Matt Piltch '12
John Feisnstein
Author/Washington Post Columnist
2011 James Allison '11 & Lorenzo Patrick '11 Michael Fountain
2010 Tom Coleman '10, Dan Pesquera '10 & Rachel Rosten '10 Gordon Edes
ESPN Boston
2009 Ben Horowitz '09 & Liz Kantack '09 Sam Flood '83
NBC Sports
2008 James DiCosmo '08 & Jacob Cerny '09 Jackie MacMullan 
Boston Globe & ESPN
2007 Ryan Fote '07, Taya Latham '07,
Meghan Stetson '07 & Alex Tanton '07
Ernie Accorsi
Former GM NY Giants
2006 Katie Baldiga '07 & Mike Overend '06

Fay Vincent '60
Former Comissioner of Baseball

2005 Kyle Acebo '05, Bart Clareman '05,
Scott Moskowitz '05 & Anna Swisher '05
Bob Ryan
Boston Globe & ESPN

Eli Lazarus '04 & Mike Needham '04

Frank Deford
2003 Matt Casey '03, Dan Gittes '03 & Leo Salinger '03 Ethan Brooks '96
Baltimore Ravens
2002 Sergio Espinosa '03 & Chrissy Fletcher '03 Harry Sheehy '75
Williams Athletic Director
2001 David Gise '01 Jonathan Kraft '86
NE Patriots/NE Revolution
2000 Sawyer Haig '00 John Walters
Sports Illustrated
1999 Scott Reynolds '99 Jack McCallum
Sports Illustrated
1998 Andy Doyle '98 *Pete McEntegart '91
Sports Illustrated
1997 Dylan Ragozin '97  -------------------
1996 Graeme Scandrett '96 Beth Schmidt '86
ABC Sports
1995 Neil Glass'95 & Stacey Whitcomb '95

Tim Layden '78
Sports Illustrated

1994 Lindsey Young '95

Peter May '73
Boston Globe

1993 Kevin Greenberg '93 Mary Kate Shea '81
Mgr. Legal Services
1992 Dave Ryan '92 Dave Marash '64
ABC's "Nightline"
1991 Pete McEntegart '91 Dan Shaughnessy
Boston Globe
1990 Jeff Friedman '90 Frank Deford
  * First Deford Award to be a presenter  

The Aaron Pinsky '06 Student Sports Broadcasting Award

Aaron Pinsky graduated from Williams in 2006 with a degree in mathematics. Aaron was known throughout the Williams community as the play-by-play broadcaster for football, men's basketball, and women's basketball.

For three years, he delighted Eph fans, alums, and families across the country with his smooth voice, sharp analysis, and patented "Pinsky Points," awarded to players for displaying unusual hustle or heart during a game. Aaron travelled down to Virginia with the rest of the radio crew for the 2004 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, where he called the national championship game. Aaron had a personality that people gravitated toward. He was known for his unique sense of humor and general affability. He always looked for a reason to laugh and have a good time with his friends and family. Beyond his involvement with Sports Information, he was the ideal Williams renaissance man: he was a beloved JA, he served on the Record editorial board as both an executive and sports editor, and he played French horn in the Symphonic Winds and other local orchestras.

Sadly, in February 2010 Aaron lost a two-year battle with brain cancer. Until the end, he remained dedicated to those around him. Andres Schabelman '06 recalled, "I can't imagine anyone else handling what was coming with such integrity and relative degree of positivity." Aaron's fiancée, Ellie Schmidt '06, added, "He remained the joyous, witty, loving and genuine person that he was throughout and despite his illness."

Aaron touched countless lives within and beyond the Purple Valley. He leaves a legacy of dedication to and love for family, friends, and the Williams community.

Beginning in April 2010 the Aaron Pinsky '06 Sports Broadcasting Award has been presented annually to the top Williams Student Sports Information Assistant(s) for excellence in sports broadcast journalism.

The Aaron Pinsky '06 Sports Broadcasting Award was conceived and created by Aaron's Eph friends Michael Needham '04 and Zack Ulman '06.

No student can win the Aaron Pinsky Award more than once.

The Aaron Pinsky '06 Broadcasting Award is believed to be the only award of its kind on a college or university campus in the U.S.

Aaron Pinsky '06 Sports Broadcasting Award Winners

 Aaron Pinsky '06 Student Broadcasting Award: Ben Lebowitz '20


2020 Ben Lebowitz '20
2019 Cory Lund '21 & Rock Stewart '20
2018 Angela Chan '19, Tobi Popoola '19 & John Toomey '18
2017 Grant Raffel '17
2016 Lexi Curt '18 & Annie McClemments '16
2015 Justin Edwards '17 & Rachel Nguyen '16

Ben Allison '14 & Conor Mercadante '14

2013 Jake Abrahams '14 & Taylor Foehl '14
2012 Nick Fogel '12, Aayush Khadka '12 & Connor Stern '12
2011 Tim Goggins '12 & Will Slack '11
2010 Lorenzo Patrick '11

Outstanding Achievement Award

2020 Outstanding Achievement Award: Ryan Rilinger '20

Three times in 28 years it has been necessary to honor a most deserving student contributor with an award for Outstanding Achievement.

A student may only win the Deford or Pinsky Award once in a career and sometimes an additional award is necessary to recognize continued excellence. On other occasions a student contributor may do extraordinary work that does not fit the definition of either the Deford or Pinsky awards.

2020 Ryan Rilinger '20
2017 Justin Edwards '17 & Scott Shelton '17
2015 Greg Becker '15
2009 Jacob Cerny '09