Fairfield Univ. To Honor Dick 'Hoops' Weiss, Jim O'Connell With Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award

Fairfield University will honor Dick “Hoops” Weiss and Jim “Oc” O’Connell with the inaugural “Stags Lifetime Achievement Award: Leader Of The Herd” for long & meritorious service to college basketball on Thursday, October 24, at University Club in New York City.

Online PR News – 15-October-2013 – New York – Two college basketball media giants – longtime New York Daily News columnist Dick “Hoops” Weiss and Associated Press National College writer Jim “OC” O’Connell – will be the inaugural recipients of the Fairfield University Basketball “Stags Lifetime Achievement Award: Leader of the Herd” for long and meritorious service on Thursday night, October 24, at the University Club (1 West 54 Street) in New York City, it was announced by Fairfield Athletic Director Gene Doris.

The Basketball Tip Off event will be from 6:00-8:00 PM. Tickets are priced at $25 for general admission. For tickets and information call Pat Murphy at 203/254-4000 x2102 or register online at www.fairfield.edu/friendsofbballnyc.

The legendary writers have both received the Curty Gowdy Award to enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and have a combined 80 years of award-winning coverage of college basketball including a total of 77 N.C.A.A. championships! Doris will be joined by head men’s basketball coach Sydney Johnson, women’s coach Joe Frager, and special guests in presenting the awards for “distinguished service and lifetime achievement with accuracy and journalistic integrity, while keeping the efforts of the student-athletes at the forefront.” Fairfield President Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J. will be in attendance for the inaugural presentation ceremony.

The inaugural plaques will be permanently displayed both in the Fairfield Athletics office, and at the Fairfield Stags Club in the Webster Bank Arena, “Home of the Stags,” in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

WFAN Radio update reporter Bob Heussler, the “Voice of the Stags on WICC Radio,” will serve as Master of Ceremonies at Fairfield’s Basketball Tip-Off Dinner.

“We are delighted to honor the accomplishments and careers of ‘Hoops’ and ‘OC,’ true legends in their own time. These two senior members of the basketball writers have furthered college basketball and the student athletes during distinguished careers,” said Doris. “They have served their profession in exemplary fashion with style and grace that is a model for aspiring sports writers, and for student-athletes as they prepare for their post-college careers.”

About Dick Weiss: Dick Weiss is a sportswriter and sports columnist who has covered college football and college and professional basketball for the Philadelphia Daiily News and the New York Daily News for over 40 years.
He has also co-written seven books with Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Dick Vitale and authored a tribute book on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

During his career, Weiss has received the Curt Gowdy award for outstanding contributions to basketball from the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the Burt McGrane award for outstanding contributions to college football from the Football Writers Association and the College Football Hall of Fame. He has also received the Lew Klein award, given to alumni from Temple University who have made significant contributions in the field of journalism.

Weiss is the past president of the U.S. Basketball Writers' Association and the Football Writers' Association. He was the youngest writer to be inducted into the College Basketball Writers' Hall of Fame, was the first recipient of the Big East Media award and has been honored by the New York Metropolitan Coaches Association with the NIT media award.

Weiss, who graduated from Temple in 1969 with a degree in journalism, has covered more Final Fours-- 42-- than any active writer. He has covered 30 national championship games in college football and 18 NBA championship series. He has served on the nominating committee for the Naismith Hall of Fame on two different occasions and currently serves as a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel to elect inductees of the College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City. He has also voted for the Heisman Trophy for the past 30 years, the Wooden award for the last 20 and well as several other major college football awards.

He is currently still covering all the top college events for the Daily News, including the BCS national championship and the NCAA tournament; as well as writing columns for Basketball Times, coach George Raveling's web site and Blue Star media, a web site that has allowed him to travel globally covering USA teams in world championship competition. In the past three months, he has covered the FIBA 19 and under world championships in Prague and the FIBA 3x3 world championships in Jakarta. Additionally, he is working on projects for the American Athletic Conference and will has just accepted a job doing studio work for the Big Ten Network during basketball season. He is currently in the midst of writing books with 1992 Olympic women's coach Theresa Grentz and another with Dick Vitale. Weiss and his wife Joan currently reside in Havertown, Pa.

About Jim O’Connell: Jim O’Connell has been with The Associated Press since 1978 and has been its national college basketball writer since 1987. The 1976 graduate of St. John’s has covered every Final Four since 1979 and has covered more than 2,500 college basketball games in all for the AP. In addition to his duties on the college level, O’Connell has covered eight Olympics, four World Championships and three Pan Am Games. FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, recognized him at the Athens Games as having covered more Olympic basketball games than any other writer.

O’Connell was honored by the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2002 with the prestigious Curt Gowdy Award. He has been inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame and the Brooklyn Old-Timer’s Hall of Fame. A past president of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, he has also been recognized with awards from the NCAA, NIT, USBWA, Big East, NABC, ECAC, Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association, the Maui Invitational, St. John’s and the Lapchick Character Award.
O’Connell, a former sports information director at Fordham, is married to Anne Gregory O’Connell, one of the top women’s college basketball players of all time who has had her number retired at Fordham. They have two sons, James, a special education teacher in the New York City public school system, and Andrew, an assistant sports information director at Fordham.

About Fairfield Athletics: Fairfield University is a co-educational Jesuit institution that is located on the Connecticut shoreline in Fairfield County. More than 400 student-athletes participate in 20 Division I varsity sports with 18 teams competing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Men’s lacrosse will play its final season in the ECAC Lacrosse League in 2014 before becoming an associate member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) for 2015. The field hockey team is an associate member of America East.

The Stags have enjoyed success regionally and nationally with the men’s lacrosse team and the field hockey team earning a national ranking in 2012-13. The men’s basketball team advanced to postseason play in each of the last four seasons, including a trip to the 2011 NIT. The women’s basketball team has also enjoyed success in the postseason with three bids in the last four years. Fairfield University athletics has captured four MAAC Commissioner’s Cups as the best MAAC program for that year with its most recent Cup coming following the 2011-12 campaign.

More than two-thirds of all Fairfield University student-athletes earned a 3.0 GPA or higher in 2012-13, including more than 100 conference All-Academic honors. The NCAA recognized five teams for their academic achievement as part of their Public Recognition Awards program – men’s and women’s cross country, women’s golf, men’s swimming, and volleyball.

The men’s basketball team plays its home games at Webster Bank Arena, a 9,500-seat state-of-the-art facility. The Stags have hosted games against Boston College, Georgetown University, Providence College, St. John’s University, and Saint Joseph’s University. Fairfield University has also hosted NCAA tournament play, including the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Women’s Basketball Championship first and second rounds as well as the 2006 and 2013 Women’s Basketball Regional semifinal and final. Fairfield University and Yale University have co-hosted the 2009, 2011, and 2012 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Regional tournament.