UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A Penn State alumnus honored as Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year will be featured in a program coordinated by the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State.
The free public event -- ”A Conversation with Gene Collier” -- will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in Ballroom DE of The Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State's University Park campus.
Collier, who earned his Penn State journalism degree in 1975, has written sports, politics and media criticism in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for more than 30 years and has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
A sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Collier was recently honored as Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year by National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Collier consistently brings both humor and insight to his work. In his annual, end-of-the-year column, he recognizes the sports cliché of the year and awards the Trite Trophy, a tradition readers of the Post-Gazette have come to appreciate for 29 years.
In addition to his duties as a sports columnist for the Post-Gazette, Collier has been a popular guest on Pittsburgh-area radio stations, including the WDVE Radio’s "Morning Show," where he delivers his comic views on Pittsburgh and its sports teams. Collier’s radio appearances and writing popularity have led to a secondary career as a stand-up comic, corporate speaker and playwright. His comedy lampoons family life, media culture, music, politics and sports.
Collier co-authored the one-man play “The Chief,” starring Tom Atkins and based on the life of legendary Pittsburgh Steelers owner Arthur J. Rooney. “The Chief” is the most successful production in the distinguished history of the Pittsburgh Public Theatre.
The play was also shot exclusively for video and is available as a DVD. Another Penn Stater, Tom Chaffee, who earned his business degree in 1981, served as one of the co-executive producers of the DVD. Reproduced as a book, “The Chief” includes photographs of Rooney, his family and members of the Steelers, along with scenes from the standout performance of Atkins, who has embodied the role since the play’s inception.
The conversation with Collier will be moderated by Penn State alumna Lori Shontz, a member of the advisory board for the Curley Center who has abundant experience as a sports journalist and editor. She presently serves as an associate editor for The Penn Stater magazine and as the adviser for the Penn State chapter of the Association for Women in Sports Media. Previous participants in the Curley Center’s conversation series include Bob Costas, John Feinstein, Joe Posnanski and Tom Verducci.
The John Curley Center for Sports Journalism explores issues and trends in sports journalism through instruction, outreach, programming and research. The center was established in 2003, with Distinguished Professional in Residence and professor John Curley, and Dean Doug Anderson serving as founding co-directors.
It was named the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism in September 2006, honoring Curley, whose more than five decades of newspaper experience includes work as a reporter, editor, publisher and, ultimately, president, CEO and chairman of the Gannett Co. He was the first editor of USA Today.
The Center’s undergraduate curricular emphasis includes courses in sports writing, sports broadcasting, sports information, sports, media and society, and sports and public policy, which is cross-listed with the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. The Center emphasizes internships at newspapers, magazines or electronic media and on-campus, co-curricular work at the student-run newspaper (The Daily Collegian), the Penn State sports information office or campus radio.