Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune, who has covered the NFL for 28 years, has been selected as the 2013 Dick McCann Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Pompei, the 45th McCann Award winner, began his career writing for the school newspaper at Elmhurst College, from which he graduated in 1982. After further study in journalism at Columbia College, he returned to Elmhurst to serve as the school’s sports information director and began doing agate in 1983 at the Chicago Sun-Times. When the Sun-Times needed additional manpower when the Chicago Bears got hot to begin the 1985 season on the way to winning Super Bowl XX, Pompei was sent to cover the Bears on a semi-regular basis. By the end of the season, he was the main reporter for news on the beat.
The Chicago-area native moved to The Sporting News in 1997. After a successful stint there, he went to work for the Chicago Tribune in 2007 as the paper’s Bears/NFL columnist, replacing the legendary Don Pierson, the PFWA’s 1994 McCann Award winner.
Pompei, 51, is one of the 46 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and one of nine members of the hall’s senior selection committee.
The McCann Award is given to a reporter who has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage. The award is named for McCann, who was the first director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1962-67). McCann was a longtime reporter in New York with several newspapers, the Newspaper Enterprise Association and King Features Syndicate. After a stint in the Navy in World War II, he was a sports columnist for the Washington Times-Herald in 1945. A year later, he joined the Washington Redskins as publicity director and was the club’s general manager from 1947-62 before taking the job with the Hall of Fame before its’ 1963 opening.
The McCann Award will be presented to Pompei during the Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner at the Memorial Civic Center and Cultural Center on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 in Canton, Ohio, during the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival.
Pompei is the fourth Chicago Tribune writer to receive the McCann Award. George Strickler was the inaugural award-winner in 1969. Cooper Rollow (1985) and Pierson were also honored by the PFWA.
“Dan’s work is that of a consummate professional, defined by his thorough reporting and lovely writing,” said Mike Kellams, the Tribune’s associate managing editor/sports. “He treats readers well. He treats his colleagues even better. It is only fitting that Dan joins Chicago Tribune greats Don Pierson, Cooper Rollow and George Strickler in receiving this award. As they have distinguished the Tribune’s reporters from the rest, so has Dan. We couldn’t be happier for him. It’s well deserved.”
ABOUT THE PFWA: The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams on a daily basis. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter, who covers the Atlanta Falcons, is the organization’s president for 2013-15. Follow the PFWA on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.
DICK McCANN AWARD WINNERS (To a reporter who has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage): 1969 – George Strickler (Chicago Tribune); 1970 – Arthur Daley (New York Times); 1971 – Joe King (New York World Telegram & Sun); 1972 – Lewis “Tony” Atchison (Washington Star); 1973 – Dave Brady (Washington Post); 1974 – Bob Oates (Los Angeles Times); 1975 – John Steadman (Baltimore News-American); 1976 – Jack Hand (Associated Press); 1977 – Art Daley (Green Bay Press-Gazette); 1978 – Murray Olderman (Newspaper Enterprise Association); 1979 – Pat Livingston (Pittsburgh Press); 1980 – Chuck Heaton (Cleveland Plain Dealer); 1981 – Norm Miller (New York Daily News); 1982 – Cameron Snyder (Baltimore Sun); 1983 – Hugh Brown (Philadelphia Bulletin); 1984 – Larry Felser (Buffalo News); 1985 – Cooper Rollow (Chicago Tribune); 1986 – William Wallace (New York Times); 1987 – Jerry Magee (San Diego Union); 1988 – Gordon Forbes (USA Today); 1989 – Vito Stellino (Baltimore Sun); 1990 – Will McDonough (Boston Globe); 1991 – Dick Connor (Denver Post); 1992 – Frank Luksa (Dallas Morning News); 1993 – Ira Miller (San Francisco Chronicle); 1994 – Don Pierson (Chicago Tribune); 1995 – Ray Didinger (Philadelphia Daily News); 1996 – Paul Zimmerman (Sports Illustrated); 1997 – Bob Roesler (New Orleans Times-Picayune); 1998 – Dave Anderson (New York Times); 1999 – Art Spander (Oakland Tribune); 2000 – Tom McEwen (Tampa Tribune); 2001 – Len Shapiro (Washington Post); 2002 – Edwin Pope (Miami Herald); 2003 – Joel Buchsbaum (Pro Football Weekly); 2004 – Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News); 2005 – Jerry Green (Detroit News); 2006 – John McClain (Houston Chronicle); 2007 – John Clayton (ESPN.com); 2008 – Len Pasquarelli (ESPN.com); 2009 – Peter King (Sports Illustrated); 2010 – Peter Finney (New Orleans Times-Picayune); 2011 – Bob McGinn (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel); 2012 – Tom Kowalski (MLive.com); 2013 – Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune).