Noted Sports Communication Professionals to Keynote Sport Summit Hosted By Bradley University

February 7, 2012

Peoria, IL (February 7, 2012) Noted sports communication professionals and authors Charley Steiner, Taylor Branch, Jane Leavy and Dave Kindred will be the featured speakers at the Fifth Summit on Communication and Sport hosted by Bradley University in March.  

In addition to the keynote speakers, 66 sports communication researchers and academicians from around the country will showcase their research at the conference on March 29, 30 and 31 at Embassy Suites in East Peoria. The purpose of the Summit is to exchange concepts, theories and approaches to the study of communication and sport.

"This is the premiere international conference devoted exclusively to communication and sport research," said Paul Gullifor, chair of Bradley's Department of Communication. "Hosting the Summit is an important complement to our new academic program in sports communication."

Steiner, a Bradley graduate who is the radio play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, will give the opening keynote address on March 29 at 7 p.m. Branch, a Pulitzer Prize winner for his biography of Martin Luther King Jr. and author of "The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA," will give a keynote address the following morning at 8. Leavy, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Last Boy, and Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy, will address the conference at 12:30 and will join Steiner and Kindred for a faculty-industry panel discussion at 4 p.m.

Among the dozens of research sessions that will be presented are:

The Rise and Fall of Tiger Woods: Sports Illustrated's Construction of the Genre of the Fallen Athlete
Mike Valvano, Western Illinois University

The Fantasy Sport Trade Association: An Inside Look into a Billion Dollar Industry
Andrew Billings, University of Alabama; Brody Ruihley, University of Cincinnati; and Natalie Brown, University of Alabama

Hurry Up and Write: How Social Media is Effecting Speed and Sourcing in the Sports Newsroom
Keith Strudler, Marist College

The early registration fee for the conference is $179; $199 after February 29. The deadline to register is March 21.

Previous Summits have been held at Arizona State and Clemson universities, and the University of Texas at Austin will host the 2013 conference.

Bradley offers a one-of-a-kind sports communication curriculum and has a long tradition of educating world-class sports announcers and broadcasting professionals. Among the university's notable alumni are Jack Brickhouse, Andy Masur, Ralph Lawler and Steiner.  

Bradley is a private, independent university in Peoria, Illinois, offering 6,000 students the choice of more than 100 academic programs. Bradley links academic excellence, experiential learning and leadership development with an entrepreneurial spirit for a world-class education. Our size provides students extensive resources not available at most private colleges and the personal attention not commonly found at large universities.

About the keynote speakers

Charley Steiner
Charley Steiner, the radio "Voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers," was one of the original faces of ESPN. In his 14 years at ESPN, he distinguished himself as one of America's foremost authorities on baseball and boxing, winning a Cable Ace award for his special on Muhammad Ali and a Clarion Award for his coverage of the Mike Tyson rape trial. He also was named UPI Best Sportscaster three times and won three New York State Broadcasters Association awards for best play-by-play. Originally from New York City, Steiner began his career as a newscaster for WIRL radio in Peoria. Following his graduation from Bradley in 1971, he broadcast his first sports show for KSTT in Davenport, Iowa.  After stints in Connecticut and Cleveland, he entered the New York market in 1978 at WXLO radio, later moving to sister station WOR for several years before joining ESPN. He also was the play-by-play man for the New York Jets in the 1986 and 1987 seasons, the New Jersey Generals from 1983 to 1985, and the New York Yankees for three seasons before moving to the Dodgers in 2005. During his career, Steiner has interviewed such sports notables as Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Don King, Evander Holyfield, and Marge Schott. He also covered the O.J. Simpson and Tonya Harding trials.

Taylor Branch
Taylor Branch is an American author and public speaker who brought attention to the issue of paying college athletes with his 2011 book "The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA." His investigation was excerpted in the October 2011 issue of The Atlantic. In 1979 he collaborated with Bill Russell on the basketball hall-of-famer's best-selling memoir. Branch, however, is best known for his landmark narrative history of the civil rights era, America in the King Years. The trilogy's first book, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards in 1989. Two successive volumes also gained critical and popular success: Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65, and At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. Decades later, all three books remain in demand. In 2009, he published The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President. Far more personal than Branch's previous books, this memoir tells of an unprecedented eight-year project to gather a sitting president's comprehensive oral history on tape. At the initiative of President Bill Clinton, Branch suspended work on the King books about once a month to meet secretly in the White House residence, nearly always late at night. They recorded candid observations for posterity. The book reveals a president up close and unguarded, perceived by an author struggling to balance many roles.

Jane Leavy
Jane Leavy is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Last Boy, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy and the comic novel Squeeze Play, which Entertainment Weekly called "the best novel ever written about baseball." She was a staff writer at The Washington Post from 1979 to1988, first in the sports section, then writing for the Style section. She covered baseball, tennis, and the Olympics for the paper. She wrote features for the Style section about sports, politics, and pop culture, including, most memorably, a profile of Mugsy Bogues, the 5-foot-3 guard for the Washington Wizards, which was longer than he is tall.

Before joining The Washington Post, she was a staff writer at womenSports and Self magazines. She has written for many publications, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, The Village Voice, and The New York Daily News. Leavy's work has been anthologized in many collections, including Best Sportswriting, Coach: 25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a Difference, Child of Mine: Essays on Becoming a Mother, Nike Is a Goddess: The History of Women in Sports, Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend: Women Writers on Baseball, A Kind of Grace: A Treasury of Sportswriting by Women, and Making Words Dance: Reflections on Red Smith, Journalism and Writing.

Dave Kindred
Dave Kindred has reported and written for newspapers and magazines for 45 years. He has been a Washington correspondent, a sports columnist, and a general-interest columnist. Kindred's work as a sportswriter has taken him around the world. He has covered seven Olympic Games, 39 Super Bowls, 40 World Series, 43 Kentucky Derbys, and 17 Muhammad Ali championship fights. He once sat with Charlize Theron under a full moon talking golf. He has had breakfast with Katarina Witt, lunch with Tiger Woods, and dinner with Stan Musial. He has heard Bobby Knight speak his name in irritation and he has carried Michael Jordan's shoes. The most recent of his nine books, Morning Miracle, was published in 2010 and is a study of the rise and decline of The Washington Post. A native of Atlanta, Illinois, and graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University, Kindred became a sportswriter at 17. He is the 1991 winner of sportswriting's highest honor, the Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement. He is an adjunct instructor of communication at Bradley.