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December Hall Pass Newsletter

By Rick Strunk and Ron Green Jr., 12/17/21, 11:15AM EST


This month's Hall Pass Newsletter is a special holiday edition, including a great feature about Ron Green Sr. written by his talented son, a member of the NCSHOF Board of Directors.  The December "Did You Know?" section  acknowledges some of our state's greatest sportswriters as well as a look at this month's author.  Enjoy and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!





            Even now, more than 20 years since he retired as the columnist for the Charlotte Observer, Ron Green, Sr.,  still loves the life he led telling the stories of sports in the Carolinas and beyond.            

           “I just loved picking up the paper with my stuff in it. Seeing the byline. I loved it. Just loved it,” Green, now 92 years old, said.

           “I said many times I would do it all again. I can’t imagine ever finding another a job I would like as much as that one. I didn’t think of it as a job. It just was a great joy, great fun.

          “Being around the games and things that mattered to so many people. Being around the people involved in the games and seeing the start and finish of all these teams in Charlotte. That was a great thing.”

          Green, who was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, officially retired from the Observer in 1999 after 50 years of writing for the Charlotte News (an afternoon newspaper) and the Observer. He continued to contribute to the Observer for many years, including his annual Thanksgiving column and covering the Masters golf tournament.

         It was an unlikely career for someone who discovered a journalism class at Central High School in Charlotte that allowed him to escape a chemistry class he was failing. Green discovered his love of writing and it took him around the world.

         He covered 60 Masters (among the most of any media member ever), 24 Super Bowls, 26 Final Fours, 40 ACC basketball tournaments, four summer Olympic Games, heavyweight championship fights, Ryder Cups, British Opens, the World Series and more. He was in Chicago the night the NFL announced the Carolina Panthers had been awarded to Charlotte.

         He has been inducted into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame and the Garinger (formerly Central) High School Hall of Fame and has won numerous awards in national and regional competitions, including selection as North Carolina Sports Writer of the Year on six occasions.

           Golf writing was a particular favorite and Green’s presence at the Masters was an April tradition for his Charlotte readers. He had breakfast with Arnold Palmer on the Sunday morning in 1958 before Palmer won his first green jacket and he watched everyone from Ben Hogan to Tiger Woods at Augusta.

          Two Masters in particular stand out in Green’s mind.

         “The Masters 1975 where Jack Nicklaus beat Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf. That was the best of the best, although Nicklaus winning at the age of 46 was another beautiful, beautiful story,” he said.

         As for his favorite story across all those years, it happened in 1983 and came out of nowhere.

         “The best story I ever covered was N.C. State winning the national championship when they had to win nine games in a row,” Green said.

        “Jim Valvano made it a whole lot of fun. It was impossible. They were good but they weren’t that good in my opinion. Boy, were they a good story, though.”

        Green, who is recovering from a broken hip suffered last summer, still lives in Charlotte with his wife, Beth. They have been married for 66 years.




This month's guest writer Ron Green Jr.

           Some of the most outstanding sportswriters and sportscasters in our state’s history are members of the prestigious North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, and one indication of that is the way they have collected significant honors.

            And one good place to check is with the National Sports Media Association, an organization of more than 650 members which honors excellence in this industry and has been selecting both national and state Sportswriters and Sportscasters of the Year since 1959.

            Ron Green, Sr., the subject of our feature this month, is a multiple winner of the North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year, with the famed columnist winning it with the Charlotte News in 1970 and then five times with the Charlotte Observer, the last time in 1986.

            As the saying goes, the apple doesn’t appear to fall far from the tree because the guest writer of our December feature, Ron Green Jr., won that state award in 2000 during his career with the Charlotte Observer.  He is now a senior writer for Global Golf Post, covering golf for more than 30 years including nearly 90 major championships. He has also served as president of the Golf Writers Association of America and a regular contributor on SiriusXM radio's golf coverage.  He is currently a member of the NCSHOF Board of Directors.

            Many other outstanding writers and sportscasters have won these National Sports Media Association state awards through the years.  One NCSHOF 1995 inductee, Furman Bisher, won the award a whopping 19 times during an illustrious career, but he won it in Georgia during his storied career as a columnist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was a native of Denton and was the first sportswriter in the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame.

            Several writers earned the North Carolina state award multiple times, among them Wilt Browning (2012 NCSHOF inductee and five-time winner, four-time winner Dick Herbert, a 1977 inductee, and Bob Quincy (2013 inductee).

            Former NCSHOF board member Irwin Smallwood of the Greensboro News and Record, a 1994 NCSHOF inductee,  was the first winner of that state award in 1959. Another former NCSHOF board member, A.J. Carr of the Raleigh News and Observer, was inducted into the Hall in 2014 after winning the state Sportswriter of the Year honor. 




Your friends at the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, including the staff and members of the Board of Directors, wish for you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year!