Sports Broadcasting Legends Honored with Leaders of the Herd Award in NYC, Oct. 22
Two iconic college basketball broadcasters - CBS Sports play-by-play announcer Verne Lundquist and his longtime partner at CBS, NCAA analyst Bill Raftery, also the lead analyst for FOX Sports college basketball game coverage - will be the recipients of the second annual Fairfield University Basketball "Stags Lifetime Achievement Award: Leader of the Herd" for long and meritorious service on Wednesday night, October 22, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, it was announced today by Fairfield Athletic Director Gene Doris.
"We are delighted to honor the accomplishments and careers of Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery, legendary broadcasters known for their enlightening commentary on college basketball," said Doris. "Verne and Bill have furthered college basketball and the student athletes during distinguished careers, and truly have served both the sport and their profession in exemplary fashion with style and grace that is a model for aspiring broadcasters, and for student-athletes as they prepare for their post-college careers."
Two notable Fairfield alumni, Mark Beckwith ('80) and Diane Oakley ('75), will be the inaugural "Stags Distinguished Service Award: Leader of the Herd" recipients in recognition of their unwavering support of Fairfield Athletics.
New York Daily News columnist Dick "Hoops" Weiss and Associated Press National College writer Jim "OC" O'Connell were last year's inaugural "Stags Lifetime Achievement Award: Leader of the Herd" recipients.
The Basketball Tip Off event will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and awards presentation at 7 p.m. Tickets are priced at $175. For tickets and more information, please contact the Office of Special Events via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (203) 254-4000 ext. 2661.
Doris will be joined by head men's basketball coach Sydney Johnson, women's coach Joe Frager, and special guests in presenting the awards for "distinguished service and lifetime achievement with accuracy and journalistic integrity, while keeping the efforts of the student-athletes at the forefront." University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., will be in attendance for the presentation ceremonies.
Raftery is in his 30th season as an analyst for CBS Sports' college basketball coverage, while also serving as lead analyst for college basketball on FOX Sports, and an analyst for CBS Radio/Westwood One's coverage of the NCAA Men's Final Four.
Lundquist first joined CBS Sports in 1982, and during his tenure he has broadcast more than 20 different sports for the network. Currently, Lundquist serves as the lead play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports' coverage of college football, alongside analyst Gary Danielson. In addition he serves as a play-by-play announcer for the network's coverage of NCAA Basketball, including the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. He provides commentary for the Masters, the PGA Championship, among other PGA TOUR events.
Oakley was a member of the second class of women at Fairfield University and was a founding member of the women's basketball program. She was a key leader the year the program was organized and played on the squad that went undefeated in 1974-75. After graduating with a mathematics degree from Fairfield, she worked at TIAA-CREF for 28 years before joining Congressman Earl Pomeroy's (ND) staff as his senior policy advisor on pensions, Social Security, and financial services. She is currently the executive director of the National Institute of Retirement Security (NIRS). Oakley recently established an endowment in honor of the women's basketball team's 40th anniversary and also set up a matching fund where she will match dollar for dollar all contributions up to $25,000 made to women's basketball.
Beckwith has been an ardent supporter of the Fairfield Athletics program. With major gifts to support the recent renovations and improvements to the basketball locker rooms in the Walsh Athletic Center and the first-ever endowed athletic scholarship for men's basketball, his support has and will continue to have a direct impact on the basketball programs and student-athletes for years to come. Additionally, Beckwith and his family endowed a need-based scholarship to support students' ability to experience a Fairfield education. Professionally, he has served firms such as Brown Brothers Harriman and Wellington Management Company, where he was named partner in 2000. Beckwith's philanthropy extends to his community as well, coaching youth basketball in Ridgefield, Conn., and serving on several boards.
The "Leader of the Herd" plaques will be permanently displayed both in the Fairfield Athletics office, and at the Fairfield Stags Club in the Webster Bank Arena, "Home of the Stags," in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
WFAN Radio update reporter Bob Heussler, the "Voice of the Stags on WICC Radio," will serve as master of ceremonies at Fairfield's Basketball Tip-Off Dinner.