By  Mike Miller   December 5, 2021

Shelby Strother was an award winning sports writer, columnist, and journalist.  He was born in Coral Gables, Florida in 1946 and died in 1991.

Shelby StrotherShelby Strother

He grew up in Satellite Beach, Florida after his late father moved the family to the area in 1953 to serve in the Air Force at Patrick Air Force Base.

Shelby attended Patrick Elementary School and was a 1964 graduate of Satellite Beach High School and attended Florida Southern College in Lakeland on a baseball scholarship. 

After serving 13 months in the Air Force in Vietnam as a Chinese linguist, he earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando in 1973.

Mr. Strother worked as a journalist for the Orlando Sentinel, Melbourne Times, St. Petersburg Times, Denver Post, and Florida Today.

In 1985 he became a sports writer for the Detroit News.  While at the news he covered the world's major sporting events, from the World Series and Super Bowl to the Olympics.

His versatility as a writer was on display as he covered the dismantling of the Berlin Wall after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

While writing for the St. Petersburg Times he contributed to the 1983 newspaper series investigating irregularities in the University of Florida's football program.

The investigative series won the Associated Press Sports Editors contest for best investigative series in 1984.

During his brief life Mr. Strother won more than 100 journalism awards, including being named Michigan's top sports columnist by the Associated Press three consecutive years and winning Best of Gannett Sports Columnist three years running.

He also won second place in general excellence in the 1983 Florida Sportswriters Association contest and was nominated four times for the Pulitzer Prize.

Shelby Strothers books at include:

  • Saddlebags:   Collection of Columns and Stories
  • NFL Top 40: The Greatest Pro Football Games of All Time

Shelby Strother died of cancer in 1991.  For the remainder of that basketball season, the Detroit Pistons wore black armbands to honor his memory.

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