Fagan first recipient of Baker-Dean Media Award

The Cherokee County Museum and Historical Society has honored Herald Sports Editor Shannon Fagan as the recipient of the first Baker-Dean Media Award. Pictured, from left, are Terry Dean, editor, Cherokee County Herald; Shannon Fagan, honoree and Jerry Baker, manager, WEIS Radio Station. Photo Special To The Herald.

The Cherokee County Museum and Historical Society has announced that Herald Sports Editor Shannon Fagan is the recipient of the first Baker-Dean Media Award.

This award was announced recently by the museum and historical society in tribute to the careers of WEIS Radio Station Manager Jerry Baker and Cherokee County Herald Editor Terry Dean.

The award will be presented bi-annually to a member of Cherokee County's local media who has demonstrated outstanding coverage to the community as well as having a minimum of five years of service. The award will also be prominently displayed in the museum's sports room.

The Awards ceremony is set for this Thursday, June 29, beginning at 6 p.m., in the Cherokee County Historical Museum.

The Museum plans to add former Sand Rock Head Football Coach Russell Jacoway to its sports room exhibit, some three months after Jacoway was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Jacoway retired from Sand Rock Feb. 12, 2015 with an overall record of 228-132, including a Class 1A state championship in 1985. His induction into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame was March 20 in Montgomery.

And these other new awards will be presented as well.

For the past decade, Fagan has chronicled the stories and accomplishments of local athletes.

A 1995 graduate of Piedmont High School and 2000 graduate of Jacksonville State University, Fagan began writing for the Herald in February 2008. Prior to joining The Herald staff, Fagan had a near four-year stint as a prep sports writer for The Anniston Star. He also had a short stint working with The Gadsden Times' sports department under Alabama Sports Hall of Fame member Jimmy Smothers.

Like many of the players and coaches he's covered during his tenure as The Herald's sports writer, Fagan has been honored numerous time for his columns, features and game stories.

In June 2014, Fagan received the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame's Meritorious Service Award as well as the Alabama Sports Writers Association's Bill Shelton Award. The Shelton Award, named for long time Cullman Times Sports Editor Bill Shelton, is given annually to an individual who goes above and beyond with service in sports journalism.

Fagan's crowning career achievement came in June 2015 in Mobile when he earned the coveted Herby Kirby Memorial Award for his article entitled "A Starr at Cinderella's Ball", which told the story of Cerebral Palsy advocate and Centre native A.J. Starr receiving the "No Excuses" award in Washington. D.C.

"I can't think of anybody who deserves it more," commented Herald Editor Terry Dean on Fagan's being named as the first recipient. "To me, it is a no brainer. I have witnessed the hours he puts in, the time he has spent traveling across the state at times to make sure our athletes get the recognition they deserve."

"The fact is, he loves what he does and he is great at it," said Dean. "Dedication to his job doesn't even begin to cover it. As anybody in the media is aware, a lot of it has to do with working with people. He has earned the respect of local coaches, parents and athletes and is motivated by the fact that he wants to see them succeed as much as they do. The Museum and Historical Society should feel proud to call Shannon Fagan the first recipient of the Baker-Dean Media Award."

"I think he (Fagan) epitomizes the qualities we expected people to have (as award recipients)," said WEIS Radio Personality Jerry Baker. "He is an outstanding journalist. I am proud that he is the first recipient. I can't think of anybody who would be more deserving."

"I'd like to thank the Cherokee County Museum and Historical Society for nominating me for this award's inaugural honor," said Fagan. "It's humbling to be the first recipient of the Baker-Dean Media Award."

"To be mentioned in the same context as Jerry Baker and Terry Dean is certainly an honor," said Fagan. "They're both icons in the community, and I congratulate them on having this distinguished award named after them. I admire and respect them for their dedication and service to the people of Cherokee County. They've both done an excellent job of keeping the public informed, which is not an easy task. I've had the good fortune of seeing them both in action through the years. They're both masters of their craft, but more important to me is their friendship."