2009 Sam Lacy Pioneer Awards

TAMPA, Fla. – Former NFL and Tampa Bay Buccaneer stars Lee Roy Selmon and Doug Williams are scheduled to receive Sam Lacy Pioneer Awards this week from the National Association of Black Journalists during the organization’s annual convention here.

Others to be honored by the NABJ Sports Task Force on Friday include former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Ken Riley; Olympic swimmer Maritza Correia; professional golfer Jim Dent; and Associated Press sportswriter Fred Goodall.

The Task Force also will present special merit awards to Brian McIntyre, senior vice president, basketball communications for the NBA and Garry D. Howard, assistant managing editor/sports for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“The recipients of our award are very deserving for the contributions to their respected careers, but more importantly, their direct impact on the communities they served,” said Greg Lee Jr., senior assistant sports editor of the Boston Globe and NABJ Sports Task Force chairman. “It is very important to this body to recognize those individuals at every convention city we touch annually.”

The award is named for baseball Hall of Fame writer Sam Lacy, and is presented to sports figures in the city that hosts the NABJ Convention that year. NABJ is the largest minority journalist organization in the United States.

Each award recipient receives a plaque and public acknowledgement of their career achievements.

“Although baseball, basketball and football are our mainstays, through the Pioneer Awards we’ve been able to honor athletes who have excelled in non-traditional sports for black people,” said event co-host Ron Thomas, director of the Morehouse College Journalism and Sports Program.

“Jim Dent will be our first golfer to become an honoree and Maritza Correia will be the first swimmer we have honored. Their presence certainly will be a highlight of the event.”

Selmon, 54, a defensive end, is one of three brothers to play football at the University of Oklahoma. He played on two Sooners’ national championship teams in 1974 and 1975, and won the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award in 1975.

Selmon was taken by the Bucs as the first overall pick in the 1976 NFL draft and played nine seasons. He was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1979.

Williams, 53, was a quarterback from Grambling State University. He was a first-round selection (17th overall) for Tampa Bay in the 1978 NFL draft. He led the Bucs to three playoff appearances in his first four years, including the 1979 NFC title game against the Los Angeles (now St. Louis) Rams.

In 1982, Williams joined the Oklahoma Outlaws of the United States Football League. After the league folded in 1986, Williams returned to the NFL with the Washington Redskins. In 1988 he became the first African-American quarterback in the NFL to start and win the Super Bowl, leading Washington to a 42-10 victory against the Denver Broncos.

Riley, 61, played 15 seasons in the NFL, all for the Cincinnati Bengals. He appeared in the 1982 Super Bowl, which Cincinnati lost to San Francisco. Upon his retirement in 1983, Riley had the fourth highest total of interceptions (65) in NFL history.

Correia, 27, won 11 NCAA championships while at the University of Georgia from 1999-2003. In 2004 she became America’s first black female Olympic swimmer, and was a member of the 400m relay team that won a silver medal in Athens, Greece.

Dent, 70, who turned professional in 1966 and joined the PGA Tour in 1970, won three consecutive Florida state PGA championships from 1976-78. He did not win a PGA Tour event, but Dent has won 12 events on the PGA Senior (now Champions) Tour.

Goodall was the first AP sportswriter specifically assigned to cover the state of Florida, beginning in Miami then later in Tampa and St. Petersburg. He has been covering sports in Florida since 1980.

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