By: E&P Staff
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times sports columnist Gary Shelton has been named the top newspaper sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE).
Shelton was recognized for his body of work in 2009, including a column after the sudden firing of Tampa Bay Bucs coach Jon Gruden, Bobby Bowden’s final game as coach at Florida State, and an open letter to Delaney Cooper, the then-3-year-old daughter of former Bucs linebacker Marquis Cooper — one of three men who died when their fishing boat capsized in the Gulf of Mexico.
This marks the second time he has received this honor. In 1995, Shelton was named the No. 1 columnist among major newspapers with circulation higher than 250,000. This is the sixth time he has been ranked in the top 10 by the APSE judges, and the fourth time he has been recognized in the top five.
Shelton worked as a sportswriter at the Columbus (Ga.) Enquirer and The Miami Herald before joining the Times in 1990 as a sportswriter covering the NFL. He became a columnist two years later.