Dan Fleser Chris Dortch
A man whose basketball directory is an annual guide to the sport, a man who has chronicled six of Pat Summitt’s eight National Championships and helped spread the news of his career-ending illness and a man who has written for a variety of Tennessee outlets over his long career are the new members of the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame with Chris Dortch, Dan Fleser and Mark McGee elected to the 2022 class.
Dortch is a native of Illinois who grew up watching Missouri Valley and Big Ten basketball games and reading the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He started college at George Mason before graduating from East Tennessee State. Dortch was sports editor for the Kingsport Times-News from 1978 to 1982 and sports editor of Johnson City Press from 1982 to 1986. He was Tennessee basketball and golf columnist and writer for the Chattanooga Times from 1987 to 1999.
He became ededitor of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook since 1996 before becoming editor.
Dortch has also written for Sports Illustrated, NBA.com, SECdigitalnetwork.com, contributing editor for the Tennessee Golf Quarterly, and has written six books, including “String Music: Inside the Rise of SEC Basketball.” He has also been a commentator on the NBA Draft for NBA TV and Fox Sports South and has worked on BTN, Big Ten Basketball and Beyond. Dortch has also taught at ETSU and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Fleser worked at the newspaper in Columbia, Missouri, while still in college. He also worked in his hometown paper in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He joined the San Jose Mercury-News, covering the San Francisco Giants beat with San Jose State and the Mountain West Conference. Dan arrived at the Knoxville News Sentinel in 1988 and remained there until he was laid off during a downsizing in 2019.
Fleser’s primary responsibility was Lady Vols’ basketball most of the time, a pace he possessed. In short, no print journalist in the country was more connected to women’s college basketball than Dan. He covered six of Summitt’s eight NCAA Championships. He was present wherever Pat took the team to promote women’s football, from Storrs, Connecticut, Vermont, Montana, Spokane or Chicago. He has been in contact with Lady Vols for 30 years, who appreciates her contributions. When Summitt revealed her diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, two reporters were invited to her home for the announcement: Washington Post biographer Sally Jenkins and Fleser.
He also covered UT baseball, helped with UT football, and was an indispensable office cog when preparing for football on Friday nights. He was also an infantryman at many Spring Flings. In 1992 Dan joined the Scripps Howard team at the Barcelona Olympics. He was honored by the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and, in 2021, by the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame.
Fleser is currently a columnist for The Chattanoogan.com.
McGee graduated from then-David Lipscomb College in 1979 and went to work for the Nashville Banner in November 1981 as a sports writer. He has covered Vanderbilt, Tennessee, the State of Tennessee, the Nashville Sounds and the city colleges. McGee was a member of the Knight Center for Sports Affairs in 1992 at the University of Maryland. He was editor-in-chief when he left the banner in June 1994. McGee has covered the Nashville Predators, Nashville Kats and Tennessee Titans in his work for the Nashville City Paper, Sports Nashville, Nashville Sports Weekly and Titans Exclusive. He also worked on a law degree at Nashville School of Law where he graduated in 1988.
He is a three-time presenter at the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture. In June 1994, he became Editor-in-Chief of the Shelbyville Times-Gazette, a position he held until February 2003. He became Director of Media Relations for Lipscomb University in August 2002, a position he held. held until May 2017. McGee also obtained a master’s degree in conflict management in 2017.
McGee has received numerous writing awards, including a National First Place and a National Second Place for CoSIDA. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Communication at Lipscomb and Executive Director of United Way of Bedford County since April 2018.