Sports writers signing books June 9

  • Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2013 12:01 a.m.
Ted Geltner will be one of the authors at a special NSSA book signing.
Ted Geltner will be one of the authors at a special NSSA book signing.

Literary Bookpost, 110 S. Main St., will take part in the NSSA Hall of Fame Weekend with a multi-author book signing on Sunday, June 9, 1-4 p.m.

Among those scheduled to appear is Ted Geltner, author of “Last King of the Sports Page: The Life and Career of Jim Murray.” Part crusader, part comedian, Murray was a once-in-a-generation literary talent who happened to ply his trade on newsprint, right near the box scores and race results. During his lifetime, Murray rose from hard-bitten 1940s crime reporter, to national Hollywood correspondent, to the top sports columnist in the United States. In “Last King of the Sports Page,” Geltner chronicles Murray’s experiences with 20th-century American sports, culture and journalism.


At the peak of his influence, Murray was published in more than 200 newspapers. From 1961 to 1998, he wrote more than 10,000 columns from his home base at the Los Angeles Times. He was named Sportswriter of the Year 14 times, and his legacy was cemented when he became one of only four writers to receive the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of sports. Geltner gives readers a first look at Murray’s personal archives and dozens of fresh interviews with sports and journalism personalities, including Arnold Palmer, Mario Andretti, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Yogi Berra, Frank Deford, Rick Reilly, Dan Jenkins, Roy Firestone and many more. 

Throughout his life, Murray chronicled seminal events and figures in American culture and history, and this biography details his encounters with major figures. Richard Nixon, running for vice president on the Eisenhower ticket in 1952, revealed to Murray the contents of the “Checkers” speech so it could make the Time magazine press deadline. Media mogul Henry Luce handpicked Murray to lead a team that would develop Sports Illustrated, and when terrorists stormed the Olympic village at the 1972 Munich games, Murray was one of the first journalists to report from the scene.

Woody Durham, the voice of the Tar Heels from 1971 to 2011, will be on hand with “Woody Durham: A Tar Heel Voice,” by Durham and co-author Adam Lucas. Our State magazine once said: “To his listeners, he has been a faceless passenger in a car, the audio to a muted television, or the man inside the earplugs. To his listeners, he’s what powder blue sounds like.”

In this autobiography, Durham takes the reader on a nostalgic stroll down memory lane, from his descriptions of a sleepy Franklin Street in Chapel Hill and the days of football legend Choo Choo Justice to the enormous changes in college sports and how they are covered to his dozens of behind-the-scenes stories about the coaches and players he worked with during his tenure. An appendix offers Woody’s thoughts on every football and basketball player he covered who has an honored jersey at UNC.

Lucas describes in his acknowledgments: “This book is about [Woody’s] life, but for many of us, it’s also about an era of Tar Heel sports — one that we heard through him.”

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