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March 23 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Award-winning author and noted Pittsburgh historian Jim O’Brien will be the keynote speaker at the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Banquet on Thursday, April 29, according to Tim Weaver, Director of Athletics and Recreation.

The banquet, which will be at Benedum Commons on the Bethany campus at 7:30 p.m., is an annual event hosted by SAAC in appreciation of the student-athlete. Every member of Bethany’s 20 varsity sports is invited, as well as coaches, athletic staff and administration.

Among the awards and honors that O’Brien has collected through his career includes being the only Pittsburgher ever named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, induction to the Western Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and receiving the Bob Prince Award for his contributions to journalism and the Vectors’ David L. Lawrence Award for promoting Pittsburgh through his books. He wrote for numerous publications, including Street & Smith’s Basketball Yearbook, for which he was a founding editor, and The Sporting News, among others, and was a sportswriter for The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, The Miami News, The New York Post and The Pittsburgh Press.

O’Brien’s works as an author are mostly based upon Pittsburgh and the city’s sports history. He recently completed his 18th book in 18 years, 20th about Pittsburgh and 23rd overall. Among the books he has written includes The Chief: Art Rooney and his Pittsburgh Steelers; Fantasy Camp: Living the Dream With Maz and the ’60 Bucs; Pittsburgh Proud: Celebrating the City’s Rich Sports History.

Every institution is mandated to have a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee by the NCAA. The mission of Bethany’s SAAC, which is congruent with the mission statement of the NCAA’s SAAC is “To enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete welfare, and fostering a positive student-athlete image at Bethany College."

All 20 sports at Bethany are represented on the committee and over the years, the group has helped out in the community in a variety of ways. Their efforts include an annual campus clean-up in the fall and helping out with a Sportsmanship Seminar held in Pittsburgh in November.

In addition to O’Brien speaking at the banquet on the 29th, the evening will feature a buffet dinner, short speeches from every team representative recapping their season and a slide show with highlights throughout this past year.