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Famed Sports Journalist's Collection Tells A Story About Adventures

After 60 years of telling captivating stories around the sports world, reporter Dave Kindred's donation of artifacts and memorabilia to Illinois Wesleyan is taking fans for a ride all over again.<--break->

IWU will be showcasing Kindred’s notes, columns, books, interviews, and other materials from Kindred’s sports writing career. These materials highlight Kindred’s notable moments, including his coverage of PGA golf tournaments, the 1972 and 1976 Olympics, and his relationship with the late Muhammad Ali.

"If you're a young reporter working at a newspaper and a radio station, you have to do it yourself."

Kindred talks about his coverage and relationship with Ali being the highlight of his career. He met Ali in 1966 and spent 50 years covering 17 of his championships. Kindred wrote a book called “Sound and Fury” documenting his moments with fellow sports journalist Howard Cosell and Ali until he retired. 

“The best stories I’ve ever done and people will think of me for is of Muhammad Ali,” Kindred said. “Ali was a controversial character. You had to look at him with a point of view. I thought he was the greatest thing that ever happened. Not only the greatest athlete that I had ever seen, I thought that he said a lot of things that needed to be said. It was a thrill ride with Ali all the time. You didn't know what was going to be controversial. Ali was the greatest thing I ever did for my career.” 

Kindred began his sportswriting career working full time for the Pantagraph while attending IWU on a journalism scholarship and playing Division III baseball. Despite covering the most prestigious sporting events in the world, he found working at the Pantagraph to be the greatest challenge of his career. 

“The hardest thing I ever did was work the Pantagraph desk on Tuesday and Friday nights where you’re in charge of all the stories coming in on basketball games,” Kindred said. “Covering the Super Bowl for instance is a piece of cake compared to that. They give you all the information. If you’re a young reporter working at a newspaper and a radio station, you have to do it yourself.” 

Kindred is a member of the National Sports Media Hall of Fame. He is a winner of sports journalism's highest honor, the Red Smith Award, given by the Associated Press Sports Editors for lifetime achievement. He spoke about the reception he received from readers who have read his work for the past 60 years and how it impacts his passion for storytelling.

“One of my heroes is Red Smith. His writing mantra was always ‘Be there,’” Kindred said. “So when I went to an event, I wanted the reader to feel like he or she had gone with me to that event and could feel the emotion and the spectacle of the event.”

The formal collection opens Friday, Oct. 4, from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. on The Ames Library fourth floor, in conjunction with Homecoming. The event is free and open to the public.

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Darnysha Mitchell is an Illinois State University student and reporting and social media intern at WGLT.