The Frank Deford Award

 Frank Deford, speaking at 25th 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 one of its kind in the nation.

In June of 2016 at Commencemtn 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 has since returned to Sports Illustrated as a writer and serves as a 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 is a Princeton graduate, 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 have 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 and a long list of nationally recognized figures in the sports field have followed.

The Deford Award is presented in either late April or early May on campus in an event 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. 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 was enforced to enable Deford to drive up and back from his Connecticut home on the day of the event.

+ Presenter receives no appearance fee but does get expenses. Deford wanted to keep this award 'accessible' to future students.

+ Format: Introduction by Sports Information Director, presentation of the Deford Award and then the presenter talks on a topic of his/her choice for about 20 minutes before taking questions from the audience.


2016 Deford Award Winners (l. to r.): Brandon Acosta '16,
Luis Urrea '16, Scott Shelton '17 & Mike Disner '07

















  Deford Award Winners & Presenters  
 Year Winner(s) Presenter
2019 Cori Chan '19, Zeke Cohen '19 & Ryan Rilinger '20 Charlie Pierce, NPR, Sports iulstrated & Esquire 
2018 Adam Dulsky '18, Jay Habib '18 & David Vascones '18  Ian O'Connor, ESPN Writer
2017 Hannah Atkinson '17, Jackson Myers '17 & Anna Spellman '17 Will Kuntz '06, VP & Asst. GM of LAFC
2016 Brandon Acosta '16, Scott Shelton '17
& Luis Urrea '16
Mike Disner '07, Dir. of Football
Administration, Arizona Cardinals
2015 Elliot Chester '15, Claire Miller '15
& Nate Thompson
Jamie Horowitz, President
Fox Sports National Networks
2014 Dylan Dethier '14, Kathleen Elkins '14
& Ali Pitch '14
Frank Deford
2013 Megan Casey '13, Darren Hartwell '13,
 & James Ray '13
Jay Bilas, ESPN
2012 Tim Goggins '12, Sarah Herr '12,
Harry Marino '12 & Matt Piltch '12
John Feinstein
Author & Washington Post Columnist
2011 James Allison '11 & Lorenzo Patrick '11 Michael Fountain
ESPN College Football & Basketball
GameDay Producer
2010 Tom Coleman '10, Dan Pesquera '10
& Rachel Rosten '10
Gordon Edes
2009 Ben Horwitz '09 & Liz Kantack '09 Sam Flood '83
Coordinating Producer of Sports, NBC
2008 James DiCosmo '08 & Jacob Cerny '09 Jackie MacMullan
Boston Globe & ESPN
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 Commissioner of Baseball
2005  Kyle Acebo '05, Bart Clareman '05,
Scott Moskowitz '05 & Anna Swisher '05
Bob Ryan
Boston Globe & ESPN
2004  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
Sawyer Haig '00 John Walters
Sports Illustrated
1999  Scott Reynolds '99 Jack McCallum
Sports Illustrated
Andy Doyle '98 *Pete McEntegart '91
Sports Illustrated 
Dylan Ragozin '97 - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
Graeme Scandrett '96  Beth Schmidt '86
ABC Sports 
Neil Glass '95 & Stacey Whitcomb '95 Tim Layden '78
Sports Illustrated 
Colston Young '95 Peter May '73
Boston Globe 
Kevin Greenberg '93

Mary Kate Shea '81
Mgr. Legal Services NBA 

Dave Ryan '92 Dave Marash '64
ABC's "Nightline"
Pete McEntegart '91 Dan Shaughnessy
Boston Globe
Jeff Friedman '90 Frank Deford 
  * 1st Deford Award winner to be a presenter  













































The Aaron Pinsky '06 Sports Broadcasting Award


2016 Pinsky Award Winners (l. to r.):
Annie McClements '16, Peggy Pinsky, Rachel Pinsky & Lexi Curt


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.

Thw 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

Year Winner(s)
2019 Cory Lund '21 & Rock Stewart '20
2018 Angela Chan '19, Tobi Popoola '20 & John Toomey '18
2017 Grant Raffel '17
2016 Lexi Curt '18 & Annie McClements '16
2015 Justin Edwards '17 & Rachel Nguyen '16
2014 Ben Allison '14 & Conor Mercadante '14
2013 Jake Abrahams '14 & Taylor Foehl '14
2012 Nick Fogel '12, Aayush Khadka '12 & Connor Stern
2011 Tim Goggins '12 & Will Slack '11
2010 Lorenzo Patrick '11

Outstanding Achievement Award

Twice in 26 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 additonal award is necessary to recognize continued excellence. On other occasions a studnet contributor may do extraordinary work that does not fit the definiton of either the Deford or Pinsky awards.

Outstanding Achievement
2017 -- Justin Edwards '17 & Scott Shelton '17
2015 -- Greg Becker '15
2010 -- Jacob Cerny '10