Frank Deford, NPR's Longtime Philosopher Of Sports, Dies At 78

Posted May 30, 2017

Award-winning sports writer and commentator Frank Deford has died.

Deford retired from NPR earlier in May, after 32 years with "Morning Edition".

The Baltimore native spent 50 years writing for Sports Illustrated, but some might be more acquainted with his booming voice delivering his unique takes on sports on National Public Radio.

In 2013, Deford was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama "for transforming how we think about sports".

Reporters banded together on Twitter to reflect on Deford's career and share their condolences. And for two decades, he served as a senior correspondent for HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel".

Benjamin Franklin "Frank" Deford III was born on December 16, 1938, in Baltimore, MD, and graduated from Princeton University in 1962. His last commentary for NPR was on May 3. "Nothing has pleased me so much as when someone - usually a woman - writes me or tells me that she's appreciated sports more because NPR allowed me to treat sports seriously, as another branch on the tree of culture". In addition to his legendary sports coverage, Deford was an accomplished novelist, penning 18 books, including "Everybody's All-American", his 1981 novel that Sports Illustrated rated as one of the "Top 25 Sports Books of All Time".

Deford was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters. "We all owe him a debt".

Deford's wife Carol, confirmed news of his passing to the Washington Post.