Lafayette woman honored for career as sports reporter

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A Lafayette native will be the first woman inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.

For more than three decades Tracy Dodds devoted her career to sports journalism at a number of newspapers across the country.

“You’re covering news, you’re covering celebrities, you’re covering action and you’re covering all of it at the same time,” Dodds said about sportswriting. “It’s always feature writing in there. It’s all together, so sports to me was the ultimate. It’s wonderful to write and wonderful to be a part of.”

Dodds graduated from Jeff High School in 1970 before going to Indiana University. After graduating from IU Dodds entered the male-dominated field of sports writing at a newspaper in Bloomington and then eventually moved to Milwaukee.

“I was by myself when I covered the Big Ten. Everywhere I went it was just me and the guys,” Dodds said.

Being the first female sportswriter in the Midwest Dodds said it wasn’t without its challenges.

“It was just a battle. Just to make sure I do a good job, be credible, don’t do anything to embarrass me or the newspaper, [and] make sure we’re setting a good example for women to come along. Because you didn’t want to give anyone an excuse to say, ‘that’s not going to work,’” Dodds said.

For her work as a sportswriter and eventually a sports editor Dodds will be the first woman ever inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame. Bob Hammel, the first person to hire her as a sports journalist, will induct her at the ceremony on Saturday in Indianapolis.

“I’m kind of used to being the first woman in this stuff, but I’m glad we’re getting it done and I’m sure there will be many more to follow,” Dodds said.

After a long and successful career Dodds moved back to Lafayette and now works at the YWCA.

“I followed her career when she was in Los Angeles, when she moved to Texas,” YWCA executive director Debbie DeBruyn said. “Just always so inspired by what she was doing and motivated by what she was doing.”

She’s still writing. Not about sports, but for grant money.

“To have Tracy’s expertise to help us put what we do magically into words to retrieve grant dollars is amazing.” DeBruyn said.

“So many things I needed to go and do, and see, and accomplish. And towards the end, as I said, I was ready to come back,” Dodds said about her return to Lafayette.

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