5 Seniors Claim 25th Frank Deford Award & 5th Aaron Pinsky Award

2014 Deford Award Winners (r to l): Kathleen Elkins, Dylan Dethier & Ali Piltch with Frank Deford
2014 Deford Award Winners (r to l): Kathleen Elkins, Dylan Dethier & Ali Piltch with Frank Deford

WATCH Ch. 6 Albany Feature on Frank Deford Visit

Four of the five honorees this year are captains of Eph Varsity teams, 
all five were Varsity athletes, and two were JAs

The 25th Frank Deford Award and the 5th Aaron Pinsky '06 Broadcasting Award, both unique on college campuses in the U.S., were presented on May 1 at 7:30 PM in the Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the campus of Williams College.

Nationally acclaimed sportswriter and commentator Frank Deford was the keynote speaker. Deford spoke about how the Internet is now shaping sports journalism. While the Internet is making torrents of information available that is sometimes overwhelming and yet frequently the consumer is only following specific streams and missing out on the overview of news previously delivered by newspapers.

After his talk Deford took questions from the audience and he came down firmly on the side of big time college athletes receiving a share of the financial pie that is currently directed to head coaches and administrators. Deford did not offer a specific system to compensate the players, but rather stated he was in favor of any system that would provide justice for the athletes.

The Deford Award is presented to the top student(s) sports information assistant(s) at Williams College, while the Pinsky Award goes to the Williams student(s) who excelled on the College's sports webcasts and the production of sports-related video offerings.

Frank Deford is a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, a weekly commentator on National Public Radio, and the senior correspondent on HBO's RealSports With Bryant Gumbel.

In 1989 GQ magazine proclaimed Deford the world's greatest sportswriter.

A prolific writer Deford has authored some two-dozen books, two of which were made into movies, Everybody's All-American and Alex: The Life of a Child.

Deford's work has been honored in every medium as he has been named the nation's top sportswriter six times, he has won both an Emmy and a George Foster Peabody Award and has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters. In 2013 President Obama awarded Deford a National Medal for the Humanities

No student can win the Deford Award more than once.

The first Aaron Pinsky '06 Broadcasting Award was presented in 2010.

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

Pinsky was the ideal Williams renaissance man: he was a beloved JA, served on the Record editorial board as both an executive editor 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.

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.

2014 Aaron Pinsky '06 Broadcasting Winners
(l to r): Peggy & Lincoln Pinsky, Ben Allison &
 Conor Mercadante

Aaron Pinsky '06 Broadcasting Award Winners:

Senior Ben Allison, Amherst, Mass., Captain of Men's Lacrosse

This marks the first time that one family has won both the Deford Award and the Pinsky Award, as Ben's brother James won the Deford in 2011.

Allison was a three-year contributor to the video and broadcasting efforts of Williams Sports Information and worked on broadcasts produced by Pittsfield Public TV, NESN and Time Warner Cable along with some broadcasting on Eph video webcasts.

His senior year he organized a student video crew to give exposure to Eph teams not appearing on live webcasts and did a remarkable feature on the Eph men's ice hockey win over Trinity College in the Frozen Fenway title on January 7, 2014.

SID Dick Quinn on Allison: "Few students in my 25 years have been as accommodating and willing to go the extra mile in getting the story on Eph athletics up on the web out to the public as Ben has consistently displayed. Both of his older brothers, Barrett & James, worked in Sports Information, but there is a little something extra special about the brother they call "Muggsy" that will make us miss Ben greatly as a person and a contributor."

Senior Conor Mercadante, Garden City, NY

A former Eph soccer player Conor transitioned easily to the broadcasting of Eph men's and women's soccer games, men's and women's basketball as well as baseball and softball broadcasts.

SID Dick Quinn on Mercadante: "What sets Conor apart as a broadcaster his composure and his preparation. He never anticipates, he lets the game come to him and then he explains the action succinctly and smoothly. I look forward to following his professional career that will start with joining the highly competitive NBC Page Program the day after graduation. The Page Program at NBC is the network's training program for developing talent in front and behind the camera for the NBC Network."

The Frank Deford Award Winners:

Senior Dylan Dethier, Williamstown, Mass., Captain of Men's Golf

Dethier was a three-year contributor to Eph Sports information as a baseball writer and skiing correspondent and served as a Junior Advisor living in a freshman residence.

SID Dick Quinn on Dethier: "Little did I know when I hired Dylan to cover the Eph ski team he had already covered a ski team at another university before coming to Williams. I found that out when I read the book he published as a junior, 18 in America, where he detailed his trip around the 48 contiguous states playing golf and learning about life. This young man is already an accomplished storyteller and a superb writer."

Senior Kathleen Elkins, Davidson, NC, Captain of Women's Tennis

Elkins covered women's ice hockey for three years as a writer.

SID Dick Quinn on Elkins: "Kathleen had never seen an ice hockey game before coming to Williams, but she was eager to learn. Paired with a mentor she quickly learned the game and its terminology and she compiled a reference notebook. In no time Kathleen's articles were up to a high standard, which she flawlessly maintained. Most readers would have never guessed the game was new to her just three years ago."

Senior Ali Piltch, Bryn Mawr, Penn., Captain of Women's Lacrosse

This marks the first time a brother and a sister

have won the Deford Award as Ali's brother

Matt won in 2012.

Piltch covered women's soccer for four years, women's basketball for one year and men's basketball for three years – that's a lot of games. She also spent her junior year as a Junior Advisor.

SID Dick Quinn on Piltch: "Ali is the second member of her family to win the Deford Award, joining older brother Matt. No one writes a faster game story than Ali. Her attention to detail is as impressive as her ability to get along with Ephs coaches and balance all of her other responsibilities on campus – very impressive."

DEFORD AWARD FUN FACTS as of 5-1-2014

48 -- winners in 25 years

11 -- women

2014 – is the third time two women honored in one year

3 -- Deford Award winners have been hired by ESPN in the last four years

1 – was hired at NBC Sports

1 – was a writer at Sports Illustrated

1 -- has been hired as an assistant editor by New England Sports Network

2 -- have participated in the College's Williams-Oxford Programme