Adjunct receives national sportswriting award

The United States Basketball Association has presented an adjunct professor in the Eugene S. Pulliam School of Journalism with a 2010 Best Writing Award.

Woods received the award for the Indianapolis Star article he wrote during Butler’s Final Four run titled, “Butler’s Miracle Run Continues.”

“Honestly, I’m a little embarrassed,” Woods said.  “It was kind of a surprise, but a very nice surprise.”

Woods placed second in the Game News/Spot News category behind John Feinstein, who is best known for writing “On the Brink,” a book about Bob Knight and Indiana University basketball.

“I think it was especially flattering for me [to get the award] because the first-place winner was John Feinstein, who is a very famous author and has many more credentials than I do,” Woods said.

Woods said the competition is tough for sports journalists.

“I think that college basketball reporters are among the best writers on their respective staffs,” he said.  “There are some terrific journalists covering college basketball, that’s for sure.”

Myke Van De Voort, a sophomore electronic journalism major, agreed but said Woods’ writing sets him apart.

“He makes his pieces seems professional, while also laid back and entertaining to read,” he said. “David Woods’ writing is humorous and informational in all the right ways.”

Senior marketing major Kyle Murphy said Woods’ writing was worth praise for another reason.

“Woods writes in a way that allows all audiences, whether sports savvy or not, to understand and follow along,” he said.  “I would also argue that Woods likes to feed off of fan’s emotions and writes in a way that allows fans to relate.”

Woods said that he enjoys covering Butler sports because it allows him to do one of his favorite things.

“My favorite thing in sports journalism is telling stories,” he said, “Butler is very fertile territory for storytelling and that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy covering this program for the Indianapolis Star.”

In addition to his job as a sportswriter, Woods is also the author of two books about Butler Basketball—”The Butler Way” and “Underdawgs.”

Murphy said that the Butler story wouldn’t be heard without Woods.

“We owe him for being the go-to guy with all things Butler,” Murphy said.  “Without his coverage, Butler would have to wait until another Final Four to make news even in its own story.

Van De Voort said Woods and his books have played an important role for the Butler nation.

“Because of him, the whole nation knows about the Butler Way and what it stands for,” Van De Voort said.  “He is able to make this small school seem so much more important to the rest of the country.”

Woods said that he thinks the story of Butler basketball is simply amazing.

“Butler’s story doesn’t have a lot of sex and scandal in it,” Woods said, “but if I would have introduced that [to the story] I would have had to make something up.”

Woods said that although he loves the Butler story, he’s a little worn out after so many Butler related projects.  He has covered Butler sports since the fall of 2007.

“I’m almost bulldog-ed out,” he said.

Van De Voort said that regardless of his attitude about Butler, Woods’ writing shows devotion to the Butler nation while still being realistic.

“He has the right balance of positive outlook with realism and taking things the way they are,” Van De Voort said. “It’s not always easy to swallow for die-hards, but it’s always something we need to hear.”