The Cherokee County Herald’s Shannon Fagan took home five awards from the 2014 Alabama Sports Writers 43rd Annual Convention held Sunday, June 8 in Troy, Ala.
For a non-daily, Fagan won Best Game Story for “One for the Ages” Trojans end 17-year drought to Cedar Bluff and earned first place for Best Column or Feature with “Bright Starr” Cherokee County native’s battle with cerebral palsy hasn’t slowed him down.
Fagan earned runner-up for Best Game Story with “Film-Study Fireworks,” Big first half lifts Collinsville past Spring Garden and earned runner-up for Best Column or Feature with “Marathon Will Go On,” Austins reflect following Boston Marathon bombing.
Fagan also earned the Bill Shelton Award, one of the highest honors a sportswriter can receive. It is named for the longtime Cullman Times sports editor who went above and beyond with his service in sports journalism.
Fagan said he was honored and humbled to receive these awards, but noted he is “just doing his job.”
“I’ve never written stories with the intent of winning awards, but it’s always an honor to be recognized by the people in your profession,” said Fagan.
“I’m most grateful to the Alabama Sports Writers Association, particularly for the Bill Shelton Award. It’s one of the highest honors a sportswriter in our state can receive. I’m fortunate to work in a community where sports are considered such an important part of daily life. These awards are a reflection of that.”
Fagan, who has been with the Herald since January 2008, shared some advice for up and coming sportswriters of today.
“Sports writing isn’t so much about the Xs and Os as it is about the people who make things happen,” said Fagan. “I think a lot of young journalists starting out are kind of intimidated by that. I know I was when I was starting out, but just like anything else, you learn and develop as you go along.”
He also shared what led him to sportswriting as a career.
“Growing up, I was one of those kids who was the last to be picked on a team,” said Fagan. “I never was a great athlete, but I always enjoyed sports. I watched them on TV and listened to them on the radio, and just like every kid, I’d play in the backyard imagining I was one of my idols. I also read and wrote a lot when I was younger, so I just kind of meshed those things together. I think it’s worked out pretty well.”
The night before, Fagan was presented with the 2014 Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame Meritorious Service Award “with deep and sincere appreciation the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame gratefully acknowledges the outstanding service and devotion provided by Shannon Fagan. Your stories have touched the hearts minds and souls of so many.”
“The night was about the five deserving inductees, but I was certainly surprised by the honor and I am most appreciative,” Fagan said.