Ed Mailliard receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Category:  Sports
Friday, October 4th, 2019 at 11:00 AM

On Friday, Edinboro welcomed sportswriter and photojournalist Ed Mailliard into the athletic department’s hall-of-fame, class of 2019. Mailliard was recognized in prestigious fashion, being honored with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

At EU, Mailliard was a manager for the university basketball team, while also working on his eventual craft by writing for The Spectator. He also helped past sports information director Paul Newman while at the university.

Mailliard never originally planned on becoming a sportswriter when his schooling began at Edinboro, but once he made the switch into the journalism program, he never looked back.

We caught up with him after the inductees had been acknowledged.

Mailliard shared an interesting piece of insight passed down to him by a sports editor he was particularly fond of during his time at The Meadville Tribune, the place he began his career and where he’s now logged over 40 years of experience.

“If you want to read about the failures of man, grab a newspaper and check out page one. If you want to read about the successes of man, turn to the sports page.”

Mailliard then described what he perceived of his editor’s wisdom. “I thought that statement was entirely accurate. The sports page is so full of life, so full of goodness and happiness. It’s packed full of championships and individual achievements.”

A week into his job as a sportswriter at The Meadville Tribune, Mailliard was tasked with the coverage of the 1972 AFC divisional playoff game. This game featured the Oakland Raiders heading to Pittsburgh to face off against the Steelers. On a cold, clear day in late December, Mailliard found himself in the press box at Three Rivers Stadium, sitting next to a writer for The New York Times.

Mailliard, his neighboring writer, nor the 50,000 in attendance would have ever guessed how the game would end that day. A game better now known as “The Immaculate Reception.”

“We were located right near the end zone when Franco Harris ran that ball past the goal line,” said Mailliard. “We had absolutely no idea of what we had just witnessed. Boy, what a moment that was. It took the referees about 20 minutes to decide what happened. Once they said it’s a touchdown, Pittsburgh wins the game [and] the crowd got so loud you couldn’t hear a thing.”

Induction night was a colossal moment for Mailliard, not only for him, but also for his family and friends. They sat around him at the table, gleaming with pride, soaking in the moment alongside him.

“It was really special,” Mailliard said. “When I heard about the nomination over the summer, I went into retrospect mode. I began to think: what did Edinboro mean to me, what are some of my best memories? It allowed me to really step back and to be a kid again.”

Mailliard added: “When I started at Edinboro, I was just a dumb kid. In a matter of three years I went from throwing rocks at telephone poles to being someone who would go on to hold value in a newsroom. A moment like this is just really special.”

How do you excite a man who is inducted into major league baseball’s Cactus League Hall-of-Fame? A man who won an award for news photography from The Associated Press, alongside other photo contributors at The Meadville Tribune? A man who has produced an estimated 15,000 photos for baseball and football cards?

You honor him at his alma mater.

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