The Walter Camp Sports Communicator award is named in memory of Bill Keish, who was a longtime Foundation member and chairman of the public relations committee. The award originated as the Foundation’s “Media Appreciation” award. It was awarded to local sports media professionals in recognition of their contributions on behalf of the WCFF. It has recently been expanded to a broader scope, recognizing contributions to sports communications.
Bill served as the public spokesman for the Connecticut State Department of Transportation, DOT, for many, many years. He retired in 1997 having served under ten DOT Commissioners and six governors, responding to thousands of crises: including bridge collapses, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, ice storms and train crashes. He was a former city reporter in New Haven and the state bureau in Hartford for the New Haven Register from 1954
through 1967. He was also a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War. Bill passed away at age 69 on September 21, 2001.
This year, the Keish award goes to Tim Tessalore, the recently-retired University of Southern California sports information director. Tessalone was recognized by Foundation President Tony Mortali at the Walter Camp Alumni Brunch in New Haven.
Tim spent 43 years at USC. Tim began his USC career as a journalism student who was passionate about writing and sports, and that passion translated into propelling the USC athletic department to the front page of the sports section with other highly successful Los Angeles teams that intensely compete for news coverage. The other teams? They included the Lakers, Dodgers, Rams and USC’s bitter-rival UCLA.
During his time at USC, the school produced 54 national championship teams, 305 Olympians, and 26 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. For the Trojans’ football program, Tessalone helped promote 225 NFL draft picks, 40 Walter Camp All-America selections and two Walter Camp Players of Year (quarterback Matt Leinart, 2004 and running back Reggie Bush, 2005). More impressively, Tim worked 517 USC football games over 43 years. He is a member of the CoSIDA Hall of Fame.
In 2018, Tessalone was named to the USC Athletics Hall of Fame which includes many of the great names in college and Olympic sports.