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Alumni 50th Reunion Central

​​Allegheny Class of '66

Interview With Julie Ward, Former Deputy Managing Editor, Sports, for USA Today


Julie Ward was deputy managing editor at USA Today for nearly 2 decades, from 1989 to 2007, after joining them in as a general-assignment reporter in 1984 and also was an assignment editor for the NBA, golf, tennis, motor sports, boxing, colleges, and high schools. USA Today is the top-circulation daily newspaper in the United States. Ward led the USA Today team that won the 2002 Associated Press Sports Editors award for a story that revealed the 302 members of Augusta National Golf Club, which had been embroiled in controversy because of its policy to exclude women from membership. In 2007, Ward also won the Mary Garber Pioneer Award from the Association for Women in Sports Media. In December, she accepted a severance offer (buyout) and retired from working at the paper. Before joining USA Today, she was a reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and the Belleville (IL) News-Democrat, where she covered women’s sports and was a columnist.

Information found about the Mary Garber Pioneer Award that Julie won in 2007:

With its annual Mary Garber Pioneer Award, the Association for Women in Sports Media recognize an individual who serves as a role model and has helped pave the way for women in the sports media industry. When Julie won the award in 2007, in addition to the information about her USA Today career, the following was included in her profile:

Before joining USA TODAY in 1984, she was a reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat where she covered women's sports and was a columnist. One of her fondest memories is covering future Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee and watching her practice running the hurdles set among potholes on the street in the front of Lincoln High School in East St. Louis, Ill. The cinder track was down the street and not in much better condition. 

​In 2009 Julie participated in a "Sports Writing & Reporting" class at George Mason University 

The students were asked to describe what lessons they learned from Julie. 

In the students own words:

  • "Find a vacuum and fill it in any job you’re in"
  • "With being an editor, some have it and some don't. You need to be able to yell at people and be yelled at." 
  • "There will always be a need for sports writers. Sports are something that people need to live happy, normal lives, so there will always be a need for good sports writers."
  • "6-on-6 was a game women used to play. Players were not allowed to shoot past the center point, because officials were afraid excessive running would mess up their reproductive organs. Julie Ward wasn't allowed to go past half-court because she was a women in one of the basketball leagues she played in. So she played field hockey, where she could run anywhere on the field she wanted to." 

Photo from about 2009

Julie DeFrancois Ward

Tried without success to get in touch with Julie to find out what she has done since leaving Allegheny.  How exciting to find information about Julie on the internet!