Legendary Sports Writer Frank Deford Dies at Age 78

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A central component on Morning Edition, hall of fame sportswriter, main voice on many Super Bowls and World Series, Frank DeFord did all things sports. For NPR listeners, Frank DeFord was someone they could always rely on and a phenomenal asset to the world of athletics. To our dismay, Frank DeFord died in his home in Key West, Fla., at age 78, but his legacy will always be remembered.

DeFord left 1,656 commentaries behind for NPR and was known for his signature analyzations of athlete’s successes; therefore, his family, colleagues, and friends are filled with sorrow at this news. NPR President and CEO Jarl Mohn stated, “He was a beloved colleague and a signature voice of public radio.” When DeFord retired, he also emphasized his passion for his listeners and friends on NPR in a statement. Most notably, he said, “I’ll forever be grateful to NPR that they gave me such extraordinary freedom. … It was 37 years of a fond relationship.”

Deford was also known for his introductions of controversial topics and unrelated yet related comparisons to athletes and sports. He even told NPR listeners that he did theater in high school and acted in plays. So, he added many references to Shakespeare and other creative takedowns. Therefore, a lot of the NPR listeners would still enjoy his insight regardless of if they liked sports or not.

In addition to his excessive work on NPR, position as a writer for Sports Illustrated, and 20 books he wrote on his own time, he also received one of the most accredited honors in the world of sports. Deford earned the induction into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame in 1998. Additionally, he earned the National Humanities medal in the recent 2013.

Clearly, Deford was a strong asset to sports and will consistently be remembered for his impact. We are sad to see him go, but know his legacy will continue to shine brightly from now until the end of time.


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