Legendary Sports Journalist Frank Deford Reflects on Career and Life, During Annual Frank L. Marcon Lecture Events
Frank DeFord, award-winning journalist, sports commentator and author, provided thoughtful and entertaining reflections on his career and life experiences, during annual Frank L. Marcon Lecture activities on April 5, which included a public lecture attended by more than 1,000 people that evening and a student discussion session with about 24 students earlier in the day.
Students who participated in the session with Deford represented all classes and a variety of majors, such as communications, sport management, political science, TV / film, chemistry and biology. During the discussion, Deford addressed numerous issues, including: how to get established in the field of journalism; the value of education; how TV has changed the way you write about sports; his thoughts on women sports writers; why football and basketball should be offered as college majors; paying athletes; his feelings about Barry Bonds, and Deford's work with the cystic fibrosis foundation.
"I've done well as a writer, but I've done good by working for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation," said Deford, whose daughter was afflicted with the disease. "Any good I've ever done was through the foundation. It's given me immeasurable satisfaction and an opportunity to remember my daughter, Alexandria, who died at the age of eight."
According to DeFord, whose career spans more than four decades, he sees real people through the athletes. He stated that athletes are people, too, and you see what you hope to see, but sometimes you see things you don't want to see. He also talked about the interesting people he has met throughout his lifetime, including Arthur Ashe, Lennie Riefenstahl and Richard Nixon.
"Nixon was very nervous when I went to interview him and it was before Watergate broke," said DeFord. "He kept playing with matches the whole time."
DeFord also expressed his opinion on the current Duke University lacrosse rape scandal, how no one from the team will step forward about the crime and about team loyalty.
"Somebody has to know what happened," said DeFord, a native of Baltimore. "You see crimes like this happening in more violent sports, you wouldn't see this in tennis. Team loyalty is reinforced with certain situations, but not in something as serious as rape."
Amy Ward, a junior from Palmyra, Pa., appreciated Deford's words of wisdom and his insight. She enjoyed hearing Deford's stories in his comfortable, easy style.
"His life experiences have been so interesting," said Ward, a sports management major. "You hear what he's been through and what he wants to do. And he's still going strong."
Following the student discussion, sophomore Malina Decker, from Sullivan County, Pa., interviewed DeFord for a segment on DeSales News. Decker was very impressed with his stories and his life's experiences.
"Mr. DeFord seems to be a very kind man," said Decker, a theatre/communications major. "He's very family oriented and can identify his own positives and negatives. It was an honor to interview him."
During the question and answer period with the audience at the evening lecture, Deford was asked what advice he would give to a college student starting out.
"Media is in flux," said DeFord. "Be flexible and understand things are changing. Keep your options open, because there's no need to be narrow minded. And, hope you are lucky. Work your way up, and show your talents and abilities."
Press Release: Legendary Sports Journalist Frank Deford Reflects on Career and Life, During Annual Frank L. Marcon Lecture Events | Posted on: 4/7/2006
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu