Six-time "U.S. Sportswriter of the Year" winner Frank Deford will discuss the cultural trends he's seen over 50 years of covering sports as an author and commentator at the McGarr Symposium on Sports and Society at 4 p.m., April 1 in the Texas Union Ballroom at The University of Texas at Austin.
Deford will speak about what sports does for us and to us as a society, dissect the path we have taken to arrive at the present day and assess the role of sports journalism as we move forward.
The purpose of the McGarr Symposium is to bring to life a robust and interactive conversation about the role of sports and media and its impact on American culture.
"Games engaged outside the field of play, gender issues and athlete-as-celebrity concerns make the world of sport a cultural touchstone, while the advent of new media technologies resets the stage of clubby locker room chauvinism and rewrites the rule book for why we watch and cheer for the teams we love," said Roderick P. Hart, dean of the College of Communication. "To examine sports--on and off the field--is to examine ourselves."
Called one of the most versatile writers in America, Deford began writing for Sports Illustrated in 1962, and has been a correspondent for HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" since 1995 and a weekly commentator for National Public Radio since 1980. He is the author of 15 books, including the novel "Everybody's All-American," which was named one of Sports Illustrated's Top 25 Sports Books of All Time and was later made into a movie. His most recent book, "The Entitled," a novel about celebrity, sex and baseball, has been called one of the best baseball novels ever.
Thanks to a gift from School of Journalism alumnus Cappy McGarr (B.A. '73, B.J. '75, MBA '77), the McGarr Symposium brings sports journalists to campus to talk to students about issues in the highly competitive field of sports journalism. Previous symposium speakers have included T.J. Quinn of The New York Daily News, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams of The San Francisco Chronicle and Howard Bryant of The Washington Post.
The McGarr Symposium is a programming initiative of the Texas Program in Sports and Media established to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and research on sports, media and culture. The other initiatives include the Richard W. Pound Olympic Archive Collection, the Sports Publicity Project and the sports journalism curriculum.
The Deford speech is free and open to the public. There will be a question-and-answer period after the speech.