Both Mike Harrison and David McCollum, who have been reporting on sports for 40-plus years, admit they got into their profession almost by accident.
"In 1972 at UCA, I walked into a room that I thought was a speech class but it was radio announcing," said Mike Harrison, who was inducted recently as the sixth sportscaster into the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame at a banquet at Centennial Special Events Center. Harrison, who has broadcast thousands of events that include the Independence Bowl, high school and college championship football games and the College World Series, is the head of KASR radio in Conway, the Creative Sports Network and the founder of the Arkansas Sports Club.
McCollum, the sixth sportswriter honoree, noted, "I never initially wanted to go into newspaper work; I was drug into it in high school. I was pretty good at writing in English and I was encouraged to work for the newspaper. I liked sports but never was good enough to play so this was an alternative." He has worked as sports columnist, reporter and sports editor of the Log Cabin Democrat for 30 years of a 41-year professional career, covering a range of events that have included the 2002 Winter Olympics and the 1992 inauguration of President Bill Clinton.
"This type of thing just gets in your blood," said Harrison. "If you’ve been in this business for five or 10 years, you’ll be there all your life."
"The important thing is the relationships and perspective," said McCollum in his address. "To give a new take on something legendary sports writer Grantland Rice once said. It’s not whether it’s winning or losing you’re watching or reporting, it’s how you view the game."
Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones received a lifetime achievement award. He accepted the award via a digital address from Irving, Texas, said he listened to many a sports broadcast and read every word pertaining to sports in the newspaper from a young age.
"Sports writers and broadcasters are people who can take a play that happens in a second and memorialize it for generations," Jones said.
Also honored with service awards were the families of the late Eulis England, a devoted member of the Arkansas Sports Club; and the late Buddy Coleman, a longtime college football official and supporter of many different sports and events in Arkansas.
Doretta Bright, widow of former UCA football coach Raymond Bright, was recognized as Arkansas Sports Club Member of the Year.