The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected Inside INdiana Business sports contributor Bill Benner as part of its 2021 Hall of Fame Class. The association is also inducting Pat Forde, Dana O’Neil, Brian Morrison, and Loren Tate.
Benner served as the USBWA president from 1998-99, during a 33-year career at the Indianapolis Star. Benner covered 20 Final Fours for the Star, two Pan-Am Games and three Olympic Games. The association says Benner was recognized twice as the Indiana Sportswriter of the Year by the National Association of Sportswriters and Sportscasters.
Pat Forde was the USBWA president from 2015-16. Forde worked for Sports Illustrated after eight years with Yahoo Sports, seven at ESPN.com and 17 with the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Dana O’Neil was the USBWA president from 2014-15 and primarily covered college basketball for more than 25 years at The Trentonian, Bucks County Courier Times, Philadelphia Daily News, ESPN.com and currently for The Athletic. She also wrote the book “Long Shots” about Villanova’s national championship in 2017.
“I discovered a real passion for basketball, actually, once I got my first job at the Trentonian,” O’Neil said. “I was fortunate enough to cover the area colleges and not only loved the college game, but liked that fact that with fewer athletes on a team, you really got to know the players better.”
Brian Morrison was the Atlantic Coast Conference’s former director of media and won the USBWA’s Katha Quinn Award in 2014, which recognized his excellence in servicing the media. The association says Morrison made the ACC a “media-friendly power conference,” helping provide media with courtside seating at each ACC tournament and inviting longtime members of the media to attend after they had retired.
Loren Tate was a longtime sports writer of the Champaign News Gazette and continues to write for the newspaper after his retirement. Tate covered generations of Illinois teams, including the Final Four teams of 1989 and 2005.