The officers of the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association (OPSWA) have announced the 2014 OPSWA Hall of Fame induction class along with details for the annual writing and photography contest. The OPSWA was created in 1972 to support, promote and recognize the coverage of high school sports across Ohio.
Former Cleveland Plain Dealer sports writers Bob Fortuna and Tim Rogers, former FremontNews-Messenger sports editor Bob Marker and current Lima News sports writer Tom Usher have been selected to join 50 other prep sports writing greats enshrined in the OPSWA Hall of Fame. The four new Hall of Famers will be honored during the boys basketball state tournament in March.
Brief biography information for the four men is below. The OPSWA inducted its first Hall of Fame class in 1983. The complete list is posted at: http://www.ohsaa.org/news/OPSWA/HOF.htm
Annual Writing and Photography Contest
Details have been finalized for the annual writing and photography contest. There are four divisions and the categories include investigative/enterprise, news story, feature story, column, game story and photograph. Entries must be postmarked by Saturday, Feb. 8. Entry requirements, details and the entry form are posted at: http://www.ohsaa.org/news/OPSWA/Contests.htm
2014 Statewide Meeting
The annual OPSWA statewide meeting will be held Thursday, April 3 at the OHSAA office in Columbus beginning at 10:30 a.m. The results of the annual writing contest will be announced, current officers will make announcements, a vote will be held for 2014 and 2015 officers, OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Ross will hold a question and answer session and lunch will be served. Please RSVP to Tim Stried. The meeting is free for OPSWA members.
2014 Hall of Fame Inductees
Bob Fortuna was inspired to become a sports writer by former high school English teacher, the late Hugh Howard, and enjoyed more than 36 years covering high school sports in Northeastern Ohio. He began his career at the ClevelandSun Newspapers in 1977 and was at the Sun for 13 years, serving as sports editor, before moving on to the Plain Dealer for more than 23 years. Fortuna’s past writing endeavors led to many honors, including OPSWA “Writer Of The Year,” and has been a Media Award recipient from the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association, the OHSAA Northeast District Board, the Greater Cleveland High School Basketball Coaches Association and Reality Sports Inc. Fortuna lives in Willowick with his wife of 29 years, Donna. The couple has two daughters: Jessica and Rebecca. He presently owns and runs “Nothing Fancy,” a small interior painting/yard work business.
Bob Marker began his career at the FremontNews-Messenger in 1973 and spent 23 years as sports editor. A native of Greenville, Ohio, he was instrumental in starting the Fremont Ross High School Hall of Fame and helped start the Camelback, sponsored in part by the News-Messenger. Marker was inducted into the Fremont Elite Runners Club Hall of Fame in 2012. In addition to his time as sports editor, Marker also served as graphics editor, editorial writer and layout artist. After his retirement from the News-Messenger, Marker was elected to Fremont City Council in 2009, representing the second ward. He opted not to run for re-election this year.
Even though Tim Rogers entered semi-retirement in July, ending a career that spanned four decades at the Cleveland Press and the Plain Dealer, he remains active in the coverage of high school sports as a free-lance contributor to the JJHuddle web site, the Akron Beacon Journal and Canton Repository. In addition to high school sports, Rogers also covered Major League Baseball, the NBA playoffs, United States Open golf tournaments and the PGA Championship. He has covered approximately 70 high school state tournaments. He currently is in his second term as president of the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association, of which he was a founding member. In 2001 he was named as the organization’s writer of the year and has won numerous writing contest awards. Rogers also was named as the Ohio Sports Writer of the year in 2012 by the National Football Foundation and recognized by such organizations as the Associated Press Society of Ohio and the Press Club of Cleveland. His wife, Linda, has been his greatest source of inspiration as a two-time cancer survivor. A native Clevelander, he is the proud father of three grown daughters, Kelley and twins Emily and Amy.
A native of Cincinnati, Tom Usher worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer and Xavier University from 1976-86 before moving onto the Lima News, where he has covered prep sports in Northwest Ohio for the last 28 years. Usher has covered over 50 Ohio state tournaments in various sports in addition to the Cleveland Indians in the World Series in 1995 and 1997, several Cincinnati Reds playoff games and OhioNorthernUniversity’s basketball national championship season of 1993. He has won over 50 prep writers awards over the years, many of those first or second-place awards. Usher was named the prep sports writer of the year in 2008 and has won over 30 Associated Press awards. He was the Ohio AP sportswriter of the year in 1996 and was the runner-up as the AP sportswriter of the year in 2012.