NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A former president of the Tennessee Sports Writers Association and a man once honored by this association as a sports writer of the year join a one-time writer for the Memphis Press-Scimitar in the TSWA’s 2018 Hall of Fame class, announced this week by the organization. The 2018 Hall of Fame induction is set for Thursday, July 12 in Baird Chapel on the campus of Cumberland University.
MIKE HUTCHENS, Union City Daily Messenger
A native of South Fulton and graduate of South Fulton High School, Hutchens attended Motlow State College in Tullahoma. He is a 34-year newspaper veteran with the Union City Daily Messenger with more than 165 individual writing, photography and design awards for the UCDM and its sister publication, the Weakley County Press.
He's won awards in the Tennessee Sports Writers Association, Tennessee Press Association and Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors contests. He is a four-time Tennessee Sports Writers Association Writer of the Year (2006, 2010, 2013, 2016) and former two-time TSWA president. Hutchens' preseason football tabloid has been named best in state 18 times in a 20-year period by either the Tennessee Press Association or TSWA.
He worked in dual roles, also serving as sports coordinator for The Messenger’s sister publication, The Weakley County Press in Martin, for five years. Hutchens has chaired or been a member of numerous high school all-state committees as well as a number of TSSAA committees. He also was inducted into the Union City High School Hall of Honors in 2013, the only non-Union City athlete, coach or administrator to ever have been included in that group.
Hutchens has covered 12 high school state team championships in Obion County while also covering area and state college athletics throughout his career. He has also covered the NFL’s Tennessee Titans since the team moved to Nashville. A noted motivational speaker to a number of West Tennessee and Western Kentucky high schools, Hutchens has co-hosted a local high school radio pregame football show on WENK for more than 20 years.
MIKE STRANGE, Knoxville News-Sentinel
Strange got his start with the Kentucky Kernel while in journalism school at the University of Kentucky. Following stints at the Middlesboro Daily News and Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer in his home state, he joined the Knoxville News-Sentinel in 1983. After a year on the Lady Vols basketball beat, he moved to Tennessee football and men’s basketball for the 1984 season. Strange covered both sports through his retirement in 2017.
He followed the Vols to 23 bowl games, including the 1998 national championship, and covered the basketball Vols in 12 NCAA tournaments and witnessed two of Pat Summitt’s national titles. Strange wrote the Sunday “game story” for Tennessee football from 1985 through 2016. Beginning in 2004, he added columnist to his duties.
Strange also covered 19 Kentucky Derbies and numerous NCAA championship events in track and field, tennis and softball and put in several appearances at the TSSAA Spring Fling. He was named Tennessee Sportswriter of the Year twice (1999, 2005) by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and once by the TSWA.
PHIL STUKENBORG, The Commercial Appeal
Stukenborg is a Memphis native who graduated from the University of Memphis and first worked for the Memphis Rogues as public relations director between January-May 1980. He then went to work in April 1982 for the Press-Scimitar as a sports writer covering high school athletics, the PGA and ATP events and college football. He directed the Press-Scimitar’s coverage of the 1983 U.S. Davis Cup in St. Louis.
In October 1983, he went to work for The Commercial Appeal covering Memphis’ minor league baseball team between 1986 and 1992. He covered Memphis football between 1993 and 2014 along with the ATP event at The Racquet Club between 1990 and 2017 and the annual PGA stop in Memphis.
Stukenborg also covered the 1987 World Series, the 1990 Final Four, broke the story on Memphis joining Louisville as founding members of Conference USA and was part of the award-winning series on the 30-year anniversary of Memphis football coach Rex Dockery’s death in a plane crash. Since 1981, Stukenborg has worked as a freelancer for The Associated Press. He recently went to work for his alma mater, the University of Memphis.