The National Sports Media Association (NSMA), formerly the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, is an organization of sports media members in the United States, and constitutes the American chapter of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS).
Winston-Salem, North Carolina now serves as the headquarters for the NSMA, which is responsible for the organizing and counting of all the ballots for the National, State (50 states plus D.C.), and Hall of Fame winners. The organization had been based in Salisbury, North Carolina until 2017. There are now more than 100 inductees in the Hall of Fame. The organization plans and funds the Annual Awards Program.
Former television sportscaster Dave Goren serves as the NSMA's executive director.
The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) was formed in 1959 by a local restaurant owner, Pete DiMizio, to honor regional sportscasters and sportswriters whom he had met at the Greensboro Open Golf Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina. When DiMizio died, Dr. Ed McKenzie took over the leadership role and guided it through the expansion to a national association. Its first Annual Awards Program was held in Salisbury, North Carolina, on April 12, 1960. Lindsey Nelson was selected the 1959 National Sportscaster of the Year and Red Smith was voted the 1959 Sportswriter of the Year.
In 1962 Grantland Rice was selected as the first Hall of Fame inductee. As Red Smith inducted Rice into the Hall of Fame, he said, "Who knows what will become of this Hall of Fame? It might never be heard from again. No matter, it cannot be improved, for it is perfect tonight with only Granny enshrined."
In April 1990, the NSSA celebrated its 31st Annual Awards Program, with Chris Berman of ESPN being selected as Sportscaster of the Year and Peter Gammons receiving the honor as Sportswriter of the Year. The Hall of Fame inductees were Dave Anderson, Pulitzer Prize winner from The New York Times, and Jack Buck, the long-time radio voice of the St. Louis Cardinals and a radio and television sportscaster for CBS.
Though located in Salisbury, "the NSSA office itself has bounced around town like a ping-pong ball." The Hall of Fame opened officially on May 1, 2000 in the two-story, 10,000-square-foot former North Carolina Federal Savings and Loan building at 322 East Innes Street in Salisbury. When Claude Hampton became NSSA director, he was told the Hall of Fame was nothing more than a desk drawer with folders in the Chamber of Commerce building. He wanted an actual building and considered Catawba College as a location, but when he saw the branch of the failed bank in 1990, he made an offer which was accepted. The goal was to open the museum by 1992. A 23-foot sculpture of two eagles was moved from the bank to Charlotte Motor Speedway, but people wanted the eagles back, so they were returned and local people donated their services to put the eagles back and get the building ready. An opening reception and dedication took place in 1991. But due to lack of funding, it took ten years for the building to actually open. Until then, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of memorabilia were stored in boxes. With the Hall of Fame open, visitors could hear Babe Ruth's called shot, Hank Aaron's 715th home run, the Ice Bowl, the 1992 Duke-Kentucky game, and young Tiger Woods on The Mike Douglas Show.
On November 1, 2005, Community Bank of Rowan (later part of Yadkin Financial) purchased the Innes Street location, opening its headquarters there in 2006. This required the NSSA to move to a temporary location on North Main Street in Salisbury, but visitors would not be allowed. Veteran sports journalist Dave Goren, best known as sports director at WXII-TV in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, became NSSA executive director September 1, 2009. On December 1 of that year, the NSSA held a reception at its new office in 1,900 square feet at 325 Lee Street in Salisbury. The warehouse only included a few items such as shoes autographed by Ralph Sampson and a football signed by Berman; the rest remained in storage. The NSSA has since moved to Summit Avenue in Salisbury, on the campus of Catawba College.
At the 54th annual program in June 2013, Dan Patrick of ESPN Radio received the award as Sportscaster of the Year with Peter King of Sports Illustrated honored as Sportswriter of the Year. The Hall of Fame inductees were Mitch Albom and Dick Vitale.
In June 2014, hockey broadcaster Mike "Doc" Emrick was voted Sportscaster of the Year, with King repeating as Sportswriter of the Year. Inducted in the Hall of Fame were sportscaster Marv Albert and sportswriter Rick Reilly.
Emrick and writer Tom Verducci were the national award winners honored on June 8, 2015. Four new NSSA Hall of Fame members were inducted: baseball writer Hal McCoy, basketball commentator Bill Raftery, sportswriter and sportscaster Lesley Visser and, posthumously, author, journalist and television personality Dick Schaap.
The NSSA is the only national organization which brings together the two crafts of sportscasting and sportswriting. There are approximately 1,100 dues-paying members. The Sportscasters and Sportswriters Foundation Board is made up of individuals in Salisbury, North Carolina, as well as the current national board president, who feel that sports in the United States are important. The Sportscasters and Sportswriters themselves have a Board of Directors. In addition, The Hall of Fame, Inc. has been set up as the educational arm of the NSSA, and it has tax-exempt status granted by the Internal Revenue Service.
The Paul "Bear" Bryant Award is an award that has been given annually since 1986 to NCAA college football's national coach of the year. The Award was named in honor of longtime Alabama coach Bear Bryant after he died of a heart attack in 1983. It is voted on by the NSMA, and proceeds from the awards ceremony benefit the American Heart Association. The College Football Coach of the Year Award began in 1957 and was renamed for Bryant in 1986. Bryant himself won the AFCA Coach of the Year award in 1961, 1971, and 1973. According to the official website:
The Paul "Bear" Bryant College Football Coaching Award ceremony is an exclusive event that honors a college football coach whose great accomplishments, both on and off the field, are legendary. The award recognizes the masters of coaching and allows them to take their deserved place in history beside other legends like Bear Bryant.
The NSMA established the Clarence "Big House" Gaines College Basketball Coach of the Year Awards in 2010, with the first presentation occurring in 2011. The awards are presented to two head coaches - one in NCAA Division I and one in Division II - at the annual NSMA awards banquet. The purpose of the award is to recognize coaches who might not receive recognition from "mainstream outlets." An NSMA committee votes after the end of the men's and women's championship tournaments. The award is named for Clarence Gaines, the late head coach of Winston-Salem State University.
Jim Murray, writing for the Los Angeles Times, won the National Sportswriter of the Year award a record 14 times, including 12 years in succession from 1966 to 1977. More recently, Rick Reilly, writing for Sports Illustrated and ESPN, has won 11 awards.