Chris Dortch, Dan Fleser Named To Tennessee Sports Writers Hall Of Fame

Mark McGee Also tapped To Be Honored

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Dan Fleser                                       Chris Dortch

 

 

A man whose basketball yearbook is an annual guide to the sport, a man who chronicled six of Pat Summitt’s eight national championships and helped break the news of her career-ending disease and a man who has written for a variety of Tennessee outlets over his long career are the newest members of the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame with Chris Dortch, Dan Fleser and Mark McGee elected for the inductee class of 2022.

 

Dortch is a native of Illinois who grew up watching Missouri Valley and Big Ten basketball games and reading the St.

Louis Post-Dispatch. He started college at George Mason before graduating from East Tennessee State. Dortch was a sports writer for the Kingsport Times-News from 1978-82 and sports editor of the Johnson City Press from 1982-1986. He was a columnist and Tennessee basketball and golf beat writer for the Chattanooga Times from 1987-1999.

 

He became editor of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook since 1996 before taking over as publisher.

 

Dortch also has written for Sports Illustrated, NBA.com, SECdigitalnetwork.com, is a contributing editor for Tennessee Golf Quarterly and has written six books, including “String Music: Inside the Rise of SEC Basketball.” He also has been a commentator on the NBA draft for NBA TV and Fox Sports South and has had stints on BTN, Big Ten Basketball and Beyond. Dortch also has taught at ETSU and also the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

 

A graduate of the University of Missouri journalism school, Fleser worked at the newspaper in Columbia, Missouri, while still in college. He also worked at his hometown paper in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He joined the San Jose Mercury-News, covering the San Francisco Giants beat along with San Jose State and the Mountain West Conference. Dan came to the Knoxville News Sentinel in 1988 and remained until he was laid off in a staff cut in 2019. 

 

Fleser’s primary responsibility most of that time was Lady Vols basketball, a beat he owned. In short, no print journalist in the country was more connected to women’s college basketball than Dan. He covered six of Summitt’s eight NCAA championships. He was present everywhere Pat took the team to promote the women’s game, from Storrs, Conn., to Vermont, Montana, Spokane or Chicago. He remains in touch with Lady Vols from the past 30 years, who appreciate his contributions.  When Summitt revealed her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s, two journalists were invited to her house for the announcement: biographer Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post and Fleser. 

 

He also covered UT baseball, helped with UT football and was an indispensable desk cog on prep football Friday nights. He was also a foot soldier at numerous Spring Flings. In 1992, Dan joined the Scripps Howard team at the Barcelona Olympics. He has been honored by the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and, in 2021, by the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame. 

 

Fleser is currently a columnist for The Chattanoogan.com.

 

McGee graduated from then-David Lipscomb College in 1979 and went to work for the Nashville Banner in November 1981 as a sportswriter. He covered Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Tennessee State, the Nashville Sounds and city colleges. McGee was a Knight Center Fellow in The Business of Sports in 1992 from the University of Maryland. He was a senior writer when he left the Banner in June 1994. McGee covered the Nashville Predators, the Nashville Kats and the Tennessee Titans in his work for the Nashville City Paper, Sports Nashville, Nashville Sports Weekly and Titans Exclusive. He also worked on a law degree at the Nashville School of Law where he graduated in 1988.

 

He is a three-time presenter at the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture. In June 1994, he became editor of the Shelbyville Times-Gazette, a job he held until February 2003. He transitioned to director of media relations for Lipscomb University in August 2002, a position he held through May 2017. McGee also earned a master’s in conflict management in 2017.

 

McGee has received numerous writing awards, including a national first place and a national second place for CoSIDA. He currently is an adjunct professor in communications at Lipscomb and executive director of the United Way of Bedford County since April 2018.


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