USA TODAY columnist Christine Brennan received the top award presented by the Associated Press Sports Editors on Tuesday, joining the company of several legends in journalism who have had a profound impact on her career.
Brennan is the 2020 Red Smith Award winner but her acceptance of the APSE honor was delayed a year due to the pandemic. She received the award at the organization’s national convention in Las Vegas.
In introducing Brennan, former Washington Post sports editor George Solomon noted Brennan’s stature as a trailblazer for women in the business and her influence as one of the leading sports columnists in the nation. Solomon, the 2003 Red Smith Award winner, hired Brennan at the Post in 1984 and promoted her to cover Washington’s NFL team the following year. At the time, there were very few female beat reporters covering the NFL.
Brennan is among a group of five women to receive the prestigious Red Smith Award since it began in 1981. Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins also was honored Tuesday as the award’s 2021 recipient.
“It’s such an honor to be included with some of my editors, mentors, role models and friends, including George Solomon, Edwin Pope, Ed Storin, Dick Schaap, Sandy Rosenbush, Sally Jenkins and Henry Freeman,” Brennan said. “It’s certainly one of the great highlights of my career.”
Throughout her career, Brennan has mentored and supported young female journalists. The first president of the Association for Women in Sports Media, Brennan initiated a scholarship-internship program that has provided support to more than 200 female students in the last three decades. She has endowed two scholarships in memory of her parents, Betty and Jim Brennan.
She thanked her parents for encouraging her love of sports while growing up in Toledo, Ohio, and for raising her to believe “anything is possible.”
Brennan also thanked Paul Anger, who hired her at the Miami Herald, making her the first female sports reporter at the paper.
A graduate of Northwestern University, Brennan has authored seven books, with her 2006 sports memoir, "Best Seat in the House," the only father-daughter memoir written by a sports journalist. Her 1996 national best-seller, "Inside Edge," was named one of the top 100 sports books of all-time by Sports Illustrated. She also serves as a commentator for CNN, ABC News, PBS NewsHour and NPR's Morning Edition.
She joined USA TODAY as a national columnist in 1997 and has received multiple writing awards from APSE. She has covered 19 Olympics, including the Tokyo Games, which ended Aug. 8.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Christine Brennan, USA TODAY columnist, receives APSE Red Smith Award