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Thursday, December 31, 2009
Hoover wins Tom Berry Good Guy Award

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

I’ve got some good news to share. I’ve been working with the writers who cover the Carolina Panthers on a regular basis on something that means a lot to us.

Hoover
Hoover
We collectively have decided that Carolina fullback Brad Hoover is the inaugural winner of the Professional Football Writers of America Tom Berry Good Guy Award. Hoover will be presented with the award Sunday.

Like I said, this one was deeply personal for the Carolina media corps and myself.

Tom Berry was one of us. He was the longtime columnist for the High Point Enterprise. He passed away in September and we wanted to do something to help carry on his memory. Creating this award was the one positive we could make out of this tragedy.

As the NFC South representative for the PFWA, I just sent out a press release to all the members of the Carolina media and, hopefully, you’ll see this mentioned in multiple places.

Tom deserves it and so does Hoover. I had the privilege of sitting about eight feet from Tom in the media room during the nine seasons I covered the Panthers for The Charlotte Observer and I can’t say I’ve met a finer man or journalist. Tom was the strong, silent type and carried himself with dignity and pride, especially through his illness.

Selecting Hoover was easy. Defensive tackle Damione Lewis and quarterback Jake Delhomme were mentioned when we first started discussing candidates for this award and either of them would have been a fine choice. But, as soon as Hoover’s name came up, we had a winner.

First of all, Hoover embodies what we were looking for -- the player who is most cooperative with the media. He’s always been very courteous and a total pro. But there’s more than that on this one.

Hoover also is from Thomasville, N.C., which is part of The Enterprise’s coverage area. Tom covered Hoover throughout his high school, college and professional career. We used to joke that Tom was Hoover’s personal beat writer because he chronicled just about everything Hoover ever did.

That’s why I’m so proud that we’re able to put Hoover’s name on a plaque that says “Tom Berry Good Guy Award’’. It’s a perfect fit and a perfect way to carry on Tom’s memory.