Dunnavant, Keith 1965(?)-

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Dunnavant, Keith 1965(?)-

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1965; son of Bob, Sr. (a radio broadcaster) and Marjorie Dunnavant. Education: University of Alabama, graduated, 1988.

ADDRESSES:

Agent—David Black Literary Agency, 156 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Former sports editor for the Journal of Athens, Athens, AL, and a sports correspondent for the Decatur Daily and Huntsville News; sports writer for newspapers, including the Birmingham Post-Herald, Dallas Times Herald, Los Angeles Times, and the National Sports Daily; also wrote for Sports, Inc. (magazine); Solovox Publishing, Atlanta, GA, founder and president; founder of Dunnavant's Paydirt Illustrated magazine, 1993.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Recipient of awards for writing and editing from various organizations, including the Football Writer's Association of America, the Society of Professional Journalists, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Magazine Association of the Southeast, the Florida Magazine Association, and the Alabama Sportswriters' Association.

WRITINGS:

Coach: The Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996, revised edition, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Edgar Welden) Time Out! A Sports Fan's Dream Year, Will Publishing (Birmingham, AL), 1999.

The Fifty-Year Seduction: How Television Manipulated College Football, from the Birth of the Modern NCAA to the Creation of the BCS, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2004.

The Missing Ring: How Bear Bryant and the 1966 Alabama Crimson Tide Were Denied College Football's Most Elusive Prize, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Editor, Adweek Magazine's Special Report; executive editor, Atlanta; managing editor, Mediaweek.

SIDELIGHTS:

A former sports journalist who now heads his own publishing business, Keith Dunnavant is well known for his sports books. In two books, he writes about the late college coach Paul Bryant, who led the football team at Dunnavant's alma mater, the University of Alabama. Known as the Crimson Tide, the team is legendary in college football circles. Dunnavant began his sports journalism career at the young age of fourteen, when he convinced the editor of his local paper, the Journal of Athens, to create a sports section, which it lacked at the time. While still a high school student, he wrote for other newspapers, as well, and also was a sports announcer on cable television. While at the University of Alabama, he naturally reported on his college's teams and became a big admirer of Bryant, though the coach had retired and passed away some years earlier. Bryant would be the subject of Dunnavant's first book, Coach: The Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant.

With 523 wins under his belt when he retired in 1982, Bryant has been called the winningest coach in college football history. Dunnavant, while showing some bias, strives to portray the coach objectively, including his faults. For example, Bryant had a reputation for being brutally strict with his players, and was considered by many to be more skilled as a motivator than as a strategist. Yet Dunnavant admires Bryant as "the embodiment of the coach as father figure," as Wes Lukowsky noted in a Booklist review of this "thought-provoking" portrait. Sporting News contributor Steve Gietschier praised the author because he "does not shy from the view that Bryant was always the toughest man in the room and, in some ways, a brutal coach," while still doing the coach "both honor and justice" in the biography.

Dunnavant returns to the story of Bryant in The Missing Ring: How Bear Bryant and the 1966 Alabama Crimson Tide Were Denied College Football's Most Elusive Prize. While ostensibly about events that led up to the notorious game against Notre Dame in which the Crimson Tide's opponents deliberately let the clock run out with the game tied, thus denying Alabama a win and a chance at the championship, the book actually is a "broader portrait of the celebrated but flawed University of Alabama football teams coached by Bear Bryant," according to Alan Moores in Booklist. Calling the work a "solid if somewhat overlong study," a Publishers Weekly reviewer observed that Dunnavant addresses a wide spectrum of influences on the team. While offering "insightful profiles" of the football players, the author also delves into the racial climate of 1960s Alabama.

In addition to his books about the University of Alabama football team, Dunnavant has written on other subjects as well. For example, he helped Edgar Welden write Time Out! A Sports Fan's Dream Year, which is about the year Welden took a year away from work to travel the country, watching all kinds of sports and talking to players whenever he could. Also noted as an expert on the business of college sports, Dunnavant wrote The Fifty-Year Seduction: How Television Manipulated College Football, from the Birth of the Modern NCAA to the Creation of the BCS, a critique of the negative influence of the media on sports in America. While describing the research as "impressive," Sports Illustrated writer Charles Hirshberg regrettably called the result "not very entertaining because, alas, it's mostly about lawsuits and meetings."

On a completely different topic, Dunnavant also worked on a book about rocket scientist Werner von Braun. He had to drop the project, however, when coworkers accidentally threw out three years of his research. Continuing to work on nonfiction book projects, Dunnavant has made a name for himself in publishing, notably founding Dunnavant's Paydirt Illustrated in 1993, a college football magazine with over one hundred thousand subscribers.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 1996, Wes Lukowsky, review of Coach: The Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant, p. 202; September 1, 2006, Alan Moores, review of The Missing Ring: How Bear Bryant and the 1966 Alabama Crimson Tide Were Denied College Football's Most Elusive Prize, p. 46.

Decatur Daily, September 19, 2006, review of "South toward Home": The Missing Ring Brings Athens High Graduate Back to His Roots in Alabama," profile of Keith Dunnavant.

Insight on the News, May 31, 1999, Dick Heller, "The Ultimate Sports Fan," review of Time Out! A Sports Fan's Dream Year, p. 43.

Publishers Weekly, August 12, 1996, review of Coach, p. 74; July 31, 2006, review of The Missing Ring, p. 73.

Sporting News, March 17, 1997, Steve Gietschier, review of Coach, p. 9.

Sports Illustrated, November 1, 2004, Charles Hirshberg, "Shark Tales: Lawsuits, Boardroom Jukes, Negotiating Jive: Who Knew There Was So Much Predatory Behavior behind College Football Telecasts?," review of The Fifty-Year Seduction: How Television Manipulated College Football, from the Birth of the Modern NCAA to the Creation of the BCS, p. 12.

ONLINE

Keith Dunnavant Home Page,http://keithdunnavant.com (May 16, 2007).

Missing Ring Web site,http://www.missingring.com (May 16, 2007).