Michael Cohen of The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.) won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2015 contest for Projects in the 30,000-75,000 circulation category.

Cohen won for his project on Memphis basketball and coach Josh Pastner.

Cohen will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2016 APSE banquet. The banquet and awards dinner concludes the APSE Conference June 22-25 at the Omni-Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C.

Balloting by six APSE judges ranked Cohen ahead of runners-up Aaron Brenner, David Caraviello, Jeff Hartsell, Andrew Miller and Gene Sapakoff of The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.) and third-place finishers MJ Slaby and Dustin Dopirak of the Knoxville News Sentinel
The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Sports editors in the 30,000-75,000 circulation category submitted a total of 19 project entries written or directed by APSE member sports departments in 2015. Contest chair and APSE first vice president Tommy Deas numbered each entry, assuring they had been stripped of headlines, graphics, bylines and any other element that would identify the writer or news organization.

In late February-early March at Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., preliminary judges selected a top 10 ranked, with each judge listing the stories in order from 1 to 10 separately on a secret ballot. The final 10 were given to a second judging group, which also ranked the entries 1-10 in the same fashion. The winner and final rankings are determined by tallying the ballots, giving an entry 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second and so on down to 1 point for a 10th-place vote.

The top 10 is listed below with links to writers’ Twitter pages, APSE member websites and winning entries.


  1. Michael Cohen, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.) 60 points, 2 first-place votes

Josh Pastner Confidential, Part 1: The art of scheduling

Josh Pastner Confidential, Part 2: The craft of coaching

Josh Pastner Confidential, Part 3: The challenge of reclassification

Josh Pastner Confidential, Part 4: The secret of recruiting

Josh Pastner Confidential, Part 5: The act of discipline


  1. Aaron Brenner, David Caraviello, Jeff Hartsell, Andrew Miller and Gene Sapakoff, The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.) 55 points, 2 first-place votes

The Price to Play: Fees fuel athletics at smaller colleges

Recruiting arms race: Costs soar for college football teams

Citadel, College of Charleston wrestle with cost of attendance stipends

The Rich Get Richer: College endowments mean big money, but Palmetto State schools rank low nationally

New NCAA cash ‘a big deal’ for College of Charleston, Citadel and Charleston Southern

Cost of attendance payment amounts spark latest college football recruiting debate

What’s in a number? In a litigious climate, plenty of risk for colleges selling football jerseys

Is football in Cougars’ future? College of Charleston considers costs, benefits, interest


  1. MJ Slaby and Dustin Dopirak, Knoxville News Sentinel 45 points, 2 first-place votes

‘No winners … only losers’: Anatomy of a UT sexual assault report


  1. Mario Aguirre, Jon R. LaFollette, Greg Luca, Peter Rasmussen, Dennis Silva II, The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) 44 points

RECRUITING IN THE VALLEY: Local athletes face numerous blockades in search for college scholarships

RECRUITING IN THE VALLEY: Summer football camps offer exposure, improvement

RECRUITING IN THE VALLEY: Travel teams help impact recruiting, perception of Valley

RECRUITING IN THE VALLEY: Valley Athletes Specializing In Sports To Improve College Chances

RECRUITING IN THE VALLEY: Valley Coaches, Parents Share In Getting Kids Recruited

RECRUITING IN THE VALLEY: Valley Athletes Recall The Hurdles Of College Recruiting

RECRUITING IN THE VALLEY: Valley faces uphill battle in recruiting, but process is manageable


  1. Marty Myers, Shane Hennigan and Carmine Gerrity-­Gemei, The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.) 41 points

Steamtown Marathon helped forge local running culture


  1. Frank Bodani, York (Pa.) Daily Record 34 points

Cardinals’ surge driven by York’s Arians, Keim

After career with Oakland Raiders, ex-Yorker Lincoln Kennedy turns to radio in Phoenix

Former William Penn football coach Eric Lauer still searches for who he truly is in Arizona

From York to Arizona: Following football and faith into the desert

Penn State grads A.Q. Shipley, Glenn Carson tackle scorpions in Arizona


  1. Bob Asmussen, The News-Gazette (Champaign, Ill.) 31 points, 1 first-place vote

Big Ten’s best radio moments


  1. Keith Pearlman and staff, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun 26 points

Senior athletics produces winners in longevity quest


  1. Riley Blevins, Michael Bonner, Hugh Kellenberger, Jerry Mitchell, Daniel Paulling and Royce Swayze, The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.) 25 points

Mississippi the lone state under NCAA’s postseason ban

MSU’s Dan Mullen talks Mississippi’s state flag

‘Swagged’ Mullen not leading on flag issue

Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze advocates changing of state flag

Kellenberger: Freeze says what he needed to say on flag

OLE MISS Bjork, Freeze happy with flag being lowered

Ole Miss, flag: How it came down


  1. Paula Pasche, The Oakland Press (Pontiac, Mich.) 24 points

Detroit Lions at Silverdome: The glory days

Lions at the Silverdome: Players loved the home-field advantage

Detroit Lions at Silverdome: By the numbers

Lions at the Silverdome: Barry Sanders always a highlight

Lions at the Silverdome: Four biggest games

When Silverdome hosted Super Bowl XVI reviews mixed