By GARY MOYERS
In what has become an annual event, Larry Vaught of The Advocate Messenger and vaughtsviews.com has been named Kentuckyâ€™s 2011 National Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
This is the sixth consecutive year Vaught has received the award, and seventh in the last nine years.
â€œIt never ceases to amaze me that my peers deem me worthy of this prestigious award,â€ said Vaught. â€œIt’s a tremendous honor once again to receive this award, and I’m not sure exactly what I have done to deserve it. I enjoy providing information for Advocate-Messenger and vaughtsviews.com readers and try to find different story ideas to share on a regular basis.â€
Vaught will receive his honor at the associationâ€™s banquet in June in Salisbury, N.C., along with National winners Dan Shulman of ESPN and Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated. NBCâ€™s Bob Costas and The Washington Postâ€™s John Feinstein will be inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame during the same ceremony.
â€œWinning Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year is quite an honor,â€ said Scott Schurz, publisher of The Advocate Messenger. â€œThat Larry has taken the award seven out of the last nine years speaks to his impact on those who follow his work within our coverage area as well as around the state and beyond. While Larry should be honored by this praise from his peers, it is evident that his focus is on his readers and his craft.â€
Vaught is a 1970 graduate of Danville High School and 1974 graduate of the University of Kentucky, and began his career working for his late father, Bill Vaught, in the sports department at The Advocate in 1975. He became sports editor in 1996 upon the death of his father.
He has served as president of the Kentucky Sports Writers Association and third vice president of the national Associated Press Sports Editors Association. He is a member of the Danville Schoolâ€™s Athletic Hall of Fame, and the 12th Region Hall of Fame, and in 2010 was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
Mary Jo Perino, sports director for WLEX-TV in Lexington and last yearâ€™s Kentucky Sportscaster honoree by NSSA, had this to say about Vaught:
â€œLarry Vaught is Kentucky sportswriting,â€ said Perino, now serving as the first female board member for NSSA. â€œThe stories he tells aren’t just about the games, the coaches or the players, he tells stories about the fans. His readers know him on a personal level because of that. His passion comes through in every story he does, from a high school player to the Final Four. Larry is a true treasure in our state.â€
Vaught said itâ€™s always a surprise and honor when he receives recognition from his peers, but said the readers always come first.
“The newspaper industry continues to change in many ways with all the technological advances, but I still believe people want to read and/or hear human interest and people-oriented stories and at the same time get the factual information they need to stay informed,â€ he said. â€œHopefully, through columns and stories in the paper; columns, stories and videos on vaughtsviews.com; and social media like Facebook and Twitter I help provide that information and that is what my peers recognize when they vote on this award.”
Vaught lives in Danville with his wife, Penny.
NSSAâ€™s voting starts with a nomination process that runs from mid-October through mid-November.
Final balloting is conducted throughout the month of December, with winners notified during the first two weeks of January.
The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in 1959 in Salisbury, NC.Â Growing out of the North Carolina Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association that was started by Salisbury restaurant owner Pete DiMizio, NSSA is the only American organization that honors excellence in sportscasting and sportswriting.Â It also serves as the American arm of AIPS, the International Sports Press Association.
NSSA held its first Awards Banquet on April 12, 1960.Â The NSSA Hall of Fame was added in 1962, withÂ Grantland Rice as the first inductee.Â There are now more than 80 sports media immortals enshrined in Salisbury.
As of Jan. 1, NSSAâ€™s membership stands at approximately 800.