BILL DWYRE 44TH RECIPIENT OF NAT FLEISHER AWARD
It looked like an army of people to cover a mountain of flowing information. In fact, back in 1984, that’s exactly what it was. Somehow, someway, Bill Dwyre mobilized and organized a staff of over 100 writers and photographers to cover the daunting task of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. It was more like work suited for an army depot colonel than a newspaper editor.
But Dwyre grinded away.
Spearheaded by Dwyre’s directives and guidance, The Los Angeles Times’ exhaustive coverage of the Olympics used 60 credentialed reporters to produce 24 special editions, most on average of around 45 pages, in addition to the regular sports coverage the paper was relied on to provide.
Dwyre’s tireless, excellent work was rewarded when he was named National Editor of the Year from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in 1985.
The longtime editor and sports columnist can add another accolade to a long list as the 44th recipient of the prestigious Nat Fleischer Award from the Boxing Writers Association of America, a career achievement honor, for excellence in boxing journalism. The award is different among all others presented by the BWAA in that it is voted on only by past Fleischer winners, such as Muhammad Ali biographer Thomas Hauser, Dave Kindred, Mark Whicker, Steve Springer, Kevin Iole and William Gildea.
Dwyre, the 2009 California Sportswriter of the Year by the National Assn. of Sportscasters and Sportswriters, will be awarded at the annual BWAA dinner on Thursday, March 16, at Capitale, in New York, New York.
“This means a lot to me, because my career was chopped into two parts, one as an editor for so long, and now it’s nice to be recognized for the writing side,” said Dwyre, who retired from the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 25, 2015. “I’ve had a great career, but I’m probably more proud of the things that I did as a writer.”
He began as sports editor of the Times beginning in June 1981, then made the transition to fulltime writer in June 2006.
What drew him to boxing was a skinny, Mexican-American kid who won gold at the 1992 Olympics, Oscar De La Hoya.
“I was pretty much a corporate creep, a sports editor sitting behind a chair and Oscar De La Hoya grabbed my attention,” Dwyre recalled. “I began getting interested in his success and got up from behind my desk and went to the De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad fight. I remember that well. I was outraged by the decision. I decided that the Monday after the fight, I coerced Oscar to come to one of those swanky Times offices and we sat down and replayed the tape of the fight. I think the whole staff filled the room.
“We felt Oscar won the fight. The tape showed it. From that point on, I felt compelled to cover more boxing. I always liked the fact that there was a lot of honesty in the fighters. The first time I was truly introduced to boxing live was when I was here probably a month as a young sports editor. Every promotional guy in town was trying to get my ear, and I remember John Beyrooty [the BWAA’s 2016 Good Guy award winner] got my attention and convinced me to go the fabled Olympic to watch a fight.
“It was great. It was a decision the crowd didn’t like, and bottles went flying everywhere. Someone grabbed me and pulled in the back to avoid being hit, but I’ll always remember the passion of the crowd.”
One of Dwyre’s first introductions to the sport came at the feet of the “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali.
“I was at the Milwaukee Journal getting set to cover the Ali-Joe Frazier-II,” Dwyre said. “I went with Kindred. We visited Ali up at his camp in Dear Lake. It was hours and hours of Ali talking. I loved it. I had so much stuff to write that I didn’t know what to do with it all. But it was Trinidad-De La Hoya that got me going.”