Hartselle native JD Byars has been honored as the 2019 Alabama Sportscaster of the Year.
Byars, who is the voice of athletic program at the University of South Alabama, received the honor Monday from the National Sports Media Association. Byars was a finalist with Eli Gold, the voice of Alabama football.
“To have been a finalist for this award with Eli Gold is humbling in itself and to get the call that I won this year was just a shock,” Byars said.
The NSMA honors a broadcaster and sportswriter in 49 states and the District of Columbia. They will be recognized at the 61st annual NSMA Awards banquet on June 29 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The list of broadcasters honored from Alabama over the years includes Gold, John Forney, Jim Fyffe, Rod Bramblett and Chris Stewart. Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News is the 2019 Alabama Sportswriter of the Year.
Byars is a 1990 graduate of Hartselle High. He was a kicker for the Tigers and later at UNA. While in college he got into broadcasting. He worked for the UNA Athletic Department until making the move to South Alabama in 2014.
“The NSMA stresses that current professionals mentor and encourage the future generation of broadcasters,” Byars said. “Without Eli as a tremendous role model, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He’s been a great example and help along the way.”
Byars and his wife, Beverly, have a son, Jake, and daughter, Stella Beth.
The 2019 National Sportscaster of the Year is Kevin Harlan of CBS, Turner and Westwood One. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is the National Sportswriter of the Year.
The NSMA will also add three new members each to the Sportscasters Hall of Fame and the Sportswriters Hall of Fame. Joining the Sportscasters Hall of Fame are the late Skip Caray of the Atlanta Braves, the late Cawood Ledford of the University of Kentucky and Dan Patrick of ESPN, NBC and the "Dan Patrick Show."
The new members of the Sportswriters Hall of Fame are Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, Mike Wilbon, formerly with the Washington Post, and the late Dick Young of the New York Daily News.