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FSWA Hall of Fame welcomes six

The FSWA welcomed six members to its Hall of Fame at the 2012 FSTA Winter Conference: David Dodds, Brandon Funston, Emil Kadlec, Nate Ravitz, Peter Schoenke and Ron Shandler. The group joins Greg Ambrosius, Matthew Berry, Scott Engel, Eric Karabell and Greg Kellogg, who made up last year's inaugural class.

A few highlights from the January 17 awards banquet:

  • Rob Phythian of Sports Data began the ceremony by honoring Schoenke, pointing out Schoenke was also inducted into the FSTA Hall of Fame last summer
  • Jason Grey, now a scout for the Tampa Bay Rays, spoke of how Ravitz has helped to advance the careers of so many writers
  • World-class fantasy football player Ian Ritchie called Kadlec a fantasy pioneer, and referenced the number of writers Kadlec has given opportunities to
  • Ambrosius spoke of Shandler's longevity and of how the fantasy baseball pioneer helped to advance the industry
  • Dodds' Football Guys partner, Joe Bryant, spoke of how the two men were complete opposites, yet found a way to build one of the industry's strongest online content sites
  • Andy Behrens described Funston's easy-going managerial style, and offered highlights of one of the industry's most impressive careers


All of the inductees were presented with a plaque from FSWA President and Chairman Mike Beacom.

To gain entrance to the Hall of Fame, finalists needed to appear on two-thirds of the 21 ballots cast. The selection process for the 2012 class of the FSWA Hall of Fame will begin this summer.

Here is a brief bio for each of this year's six inductees (in alphabetical order):

David Dodds, FootballGuys.com
Dodds was the founder of mr.football.com, and his website was featured by Yahoo! as one of the top three fantasy football sites on the internet. After selling mr.football.com to Fanball.com in 1999, Dodds created Footballguys.com with Joe Bryant. Currently, Footballguys.com generates $1.2M in sales, and has just under 40,000 subscribers, boasting a free list of 140,000 names. Dodds has been instrumental in creating some of the industry’s best web-based fantasy tools (draft calculator, schedule maker, QB rating calculator, Draft Dominator, and Rate My Team).

Brandon Funston, Yahoo!
Since 2004, Funston has been Yahoo!'s managing editor of fantasy content. Funston also writes several popular online features, including the Big Board and the Skinny. He has also been a primary editor and contributor to the FSWA award-winning Yahoo! draft guides, and Funston has been a featured analyst on Fantasy Football Live since the show's inception. Prior to Yahoo!, Funston worked as a columnist for ESPN the Magazine, managing the fantasy content group, and he was one of the featured writers for their website. Funston began his career on the NFL.com staff as an editor/writer in 1997, covering Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego.

Emil Kadlec, Fantasy Sports Publications/FootballDiehards.com
Kadlec began publishing the Fantasy Football Pro Forecast magazine in 1990 under the publishing company Fantasy Sports Publications (FSP). Later they added The DraftBook (1996), the CheatSheets (1998), Football Diehards (2001) and WCOFF (2005) magazines to become the country's largest fantasy football publisher. The Pro Forecast was the first magazine to provide readers with actual forecasting of potential player performance and it was also the first magazine to introduce value-based drafting. Kadlec also founded FootballDiehards.com (2004), FSPnet.com (1996) and FantasyNation.com (2010). He is also the co-founder of the World Championship of Fantasy Football. Kadlec is also the vice-president and co-founder of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and serves as a board member for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Nate Ravitz, ESPN
Ravitz’s is the co-founder of Rototimes.com and the Fantasy Hot Sheet. Following the merger between TQStats/Rototimes and CDM Fantasy sports, Ravitz served as Executive Director for all content/editorial operations for a company with more than $14 million in annual revenue. One year after arriving at ESPN.com as a writer/editor/talent, Ravitz was named Deputy Editor, responsible for fantasy sports content across all ESPN platforms. Ravitz is also responsible for the writing/career development of such stars as Matthew Berry, Eric Karabell, Stephania Bell, Christopher Harris, Jason Grey and Tristan Cockcroft. Ravitz was also one of the original board members for the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Peter Schoenke, RotoWire.com
Schoenke co-founded RotoNews.com (now known as Rotowire.com) in 1997. Rotowire has emerged as a pioneer in the fantasy world introducing a plethora of “firsts” including the first real-time customized cheat sheet in 1998, the first free online commissioner service in 1998, the first website to offer a fantasy magazine in print in 2000 and the first website to offer wireless player updates in 2004. Schoenke has written over 50,000 of the player notes used for RotoNews.com and RotoWire.com. Many of them have been used on almost every major media site throughout the years (ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS, NFL.com, AOL and many more). RotoWire has won 18 FSWA awards the last three years (1/3 of all awarded). RotoWire has also won multiple awards from the FSTA for content as well. The RotoWire brand is seen as one of the industry leaders with partnerships from ESPN to Yahoo! Sports to XM Radio to the leagues themselves (NBA.com, NFL.com, NASCAR.com) based largely on the strength and quality of the content.

Ron Shandler, Baseball Forecaster
Shandler began publishing his unique brand of statistical information under the Shandler Enterprises, LLC name in 1986. Shandler was the first author to develop sabermetric applications for fantasy league play. He is the author of the Baseball Forecaster annual, now in its 26th year of publication, and the founder of BaseballHQ.com, and First Pitch Forum conference series. His "Fanalytics" column has been appearing weekly during the baseball season in USA TODAY since 2008. In fall 2009, he began a periodic blog in the Sports section of the Huffington Post. In 2007, he was a regular columnist for ESPN Magazine and ESPN.com. He has been quoted and cited by many other sources, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week and Money magazine. Shandler was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the FSTA in 2005.


photo credit for 2011 Hall of Fame: JAC Productions