Emmy Award-winning essayist Jim Huber died Jan. 2, of acute leukemia. He was 67. Among many achievements in his career, Huber was the signature host in support of PGA of America programs. For eight consecutive years, Huber hosted The PGA of America Awards, conducted annually during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla. Since the mid-1990s he alternated between commentator/reporter and master of ceremonies at the season-ending PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
"Anyone who knew Jim Huber beyond his wonderful words in front of a camera or in print understood that he had a special gift. Jim made us all pause and feel a bit better about ourselves," said PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. "He applied his passion for the game of golf to support The PGA of America at our National Awards program, creating an Oscar night for us all. At the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Jim added a Midas touch to the season-ending reward for golf's major champions. We will long remember and cherish his fireside chats, and the twinkle in his eye as he met with the game's finest players. Golf lost a wonderful friend, and The PGA of America extends its deepest sympathy and prayers to his wife, Carol, and son, Matt."
The PGA's Chief Executive Officer Joe Steranka has known Huber since the mid 1980s.
"Jim's passing is particularly difficult to us at The PGA who called him a friend," said Steranka. "Few people have the ability to relate the passion and drama of sports to the masses; Jim was such a person. We will miss him greatly."
Huber spent a year at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., in the early 1960s, and then returned home to Ocala, Fla., where he became a stringer for the Ocala Star-Banner. He graduated from Central Florida Community College in 1964. For the first decade of his career, Huber was a newspaper reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat and Lakeland Ledger before covering team beats at the Miami News and Atlanta Journal.
Huber joined CNN and TBS in 1984 after six years at the Atlanta NBC (WXIA-TV) affiliate, produced award-winning documentaries, and co-anchored CNN's flagship sports program, "Sports Tonight." He also hosted the network's "Pro Golf Weekly" and "The Sporting Life with Jim Huber." During that time, he also worked for CNN's sister network, TBS Superstation, as the writer of two documentaries chronicling the Atlanta Braves' pennant stretches: "It's a Long Way to October" and "A Tale of Two Seasons," the latter winning a CableACE.
Huber spent the first 10 years of his career in print journalism, first with the Miami News, where he was the Miami Dolphins beat writer, and then with the Atlanta Journal, where he wrote features and profiles on the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Falcons.
He moved to Turner Sports full-time in 2000, splitting his assignments between golf and the NBA. Huber's distinctive writing style entered television as an essayist for Turner's golf coverage. Huber also served as a guest contributor to PGA.com, The PGA of America's website, with a column "A Sense of Huber."
Huber emerged as a national star journalist while at Turner Sports -- TNT and TBS -- covering Wimbledon, NASCAR, the NBA, golf and figure-skating competitions. Huber was with CNN for sixteen years, during which time he won a national Emmy for his essay, "An Olympic Park Bombing," two Cable ACE awards, and an Edward R. Murrow award. He has been in the media through newspapers, radio, and television since 1964.
The veteran sports reporter has won two Georgia Emmys, six Sportscaster of the Year awards from the Associated Press, five United Press International awards, a Unity Award in Media, two Sigma Delta Chi awards, a Gold award from both the New York and Houston Film Festivals and two CableACEs. While co-anchoring "CNN Sports Tonight" with Nick Charles, the show was awarded two CableACEs for best sports information program.
In 2008, Huber was inducted into the Atlanta Athletic Club Hall of Fame for his excellence in journalism.
Huber wrote "The Babes of Winter" in 1975, a history of the Atlanta Flames NHL hockey team. In 2001, he authored the highly acclaimed, "A Thousand Goodbyes," a memoir on the death of his father. Huber's final book, "Four Days in July," was published in 2011, chronicling Tom Watson's performance in the 2009 Open Championship.
Huber is survived by his wife, Carol, and a son, Matthew. Funeral arrangements are pending.