A sports journalism scholarship in the name of the late former Los Angeles Times sports reporter Chris Dufresne has been established at his alma mater, Cal State Fullerton.
“He may have had a reputation for not driving to L.A. for a television segment but he never turned down an opportunity to speak to a college class or talk to a curious student who had the initiative to reach out to him,” his widow Sheila Young Dufresne wrote on her Facebook page Friday to announce the scholarship.
Dufresne was a sports reporter from The Times from 1981 until accepting a buyout in 2015. He was best known for his college football coverage.
“The most-read writer on our staff,” Times columnist Bill Plaschke tweeted after learning of the 62-year-old’s death on May 25. “The most beloved colleague in the press box.”
Dufresne initially covered high school sports and UC Irvine basketball for The Times’ Orange County edition. He covered the Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League from 1983-85 and later covered the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders.
After the Rams and Raiders left the Los Angeles area in 1995, he was switched to college football, including writing a weekly column on the sport. He also covered college basketball, golf and multiple Olympics.
Dufresne was selected as California Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 2011. He is an inductee to the CSUF Department of Communications Alumni Wall of Fame.
In 2016, Dufresne co-founded TMGCollegeSports.com, teaming with former newspaper sports reporters Tony Barnhart, Mark Blaudschun and Herb Gould on the subscription website dedicated to college football.
The site’s content recently began appearing on Sports Illustrated’s website, SI.com.
In his final column, published May 7, Dufresne wrote, “It hit me this week that I may never attend or cover another sporting event in my lifetime” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Venturing out for a football game at the Coliseum this fall seems wrought with peril — a chapter ripped straight out of Conrad’s `Heart of Darkness,”’ Dufresne wrote.
Dufresne died of undetermined causes while dining with his family at their home in Chino Hills, according to The Times. He had been awaiting the results for what appeared to be a late-stage melanoma recurrence.
To donate or for more information about the Chris Dufresne Sports Journalism Scholarship, visit give.fullerton.edu/dufresnescholarship.
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