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Frank DeFord

Journalist and Author

Senior writer for Sports Illustrated, Frank Deford is generally acknowledged as the most influential and versatile sportswriter of his time.  Throughout his career, he has also written for numerous other publications, including Newsweek and Vanity Fair. He is particularly noted for the depth of his profiles of athletes. Mr. Deford is a commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition and is a longtime correspondent for Real Sports with Bryant Gumble on HBO.

He has written fifteen books, both fiction and nonfiction, including the novel, Everybody's All-American and Alex: the Life of a Child, his memoir of his daughter who died of Cystic Fibrosis at the age of eight. Both were made into films. His latest book, The Old Ball Came (2005), is about baseball legends Christy Mathewson and John McGraw. In 2005, ESPN produced his screenplay Four Minutes about Roger Bannister and the breaking of the four minute mile. Mr. Deford is also the subject of an ESPN documentary, You Write Better than You Play.

Mr. Deford has received numerous honors for writing, including being voted six times as "U.S. Sportswriter of the Year" by his peers, and has been elected to the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters. In television, he won a 1988 Emmy Award for writing and commentary for his coverage of the Seoul Olympics, and a 1999 Peabody Award in writing for the HBO documentary, Dare to Compete.

Frank Deford's accomplishments include his fifteen years as National Chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  As Chairman Emeritus, he continues to speak to audiences throughout the country.  Last fall, in a newspaper interview, Mr. Deford reflected upon his work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. "It's so much more important than being a writer. I am proud of a lot of things I've written, but I'd like to think what Frank Deford gave the world that was the best of him was his work against Cystic Fibrosis."

Mr. Deford is a graduate of Princeton University, where he has taught in American Studies.

Today, Siena College honors Frank Deford with the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters. He serves as an example that it is possible to live both a successful professional life and a life of service to others.