Benner named to Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame


It’s hard to keep up with how many honors Bill Benner has received through the years.

Benner has been named to the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame and was selected the 2022 Indy PR Legend. He’s also been honored with a Sagamore of the Wabash and received the 2022 Inspiring Sports Storyteller Award from the Indiana Sports Corp.

Benner said he figures he needs to share his latest honor with others as he will be one of the very few sports journalists to be inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame April 27 at Woodland Country Club in Carmel.

“It’s not only a wonderful recognition for me, but a recognition for sports journalists,” said Benner, who lives in Fishers near Geist Reservoir with his wife, Sherry. “If you look over the past inductees for Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, there aren’t too many sportswriters. So, to represent that group of the profession, it’s just an incredible honor. I feel it’s not just for me personally but for all the sports journalists I worked alongside and those I still read and follow on a daily basis. I think this is a recognition for the field of sports journalism.”

Benner, 75, spent 33 years as a sportswriter and sports columnist for The Indianapolis Star before leaving in 2001.

He won numerous writing awards at The Star, including twice being named Indiana Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. That was followed by 12 years as a weekly sports columnist for the Indianapolis Business Journal.

He co-hosted a sports talk radio show on WNDE-1260 and spent 10 years as an adjunct faculty member at Butler University, teaching a sports journalism class. He also hosted a sports segment on Inside Indiana Business for several years.

“I touched a lot of bases. I’m just thrilled my career encompassed all those different areas,” he said. “I’m truly blessed.”

A lifelong Hoosier, Benner graduated from Center Grove High School and Indiana University.

After leaving The Star, Benner became vice president of communications with Indiana Sports Corp, followed by stints as director of communications for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association and senior associate commissioner for external affairs for the Horizon League before concluding his career as senior vice president for corporate, community and public relations for Pacers Sports & Entertainment and executive director of the Pacers Foundation. He retired in 2020.

Former USA Today national sports columnist Mike Lopresti took over Benner’s IBJ column when Benner took the Pacers post in 2013.

“To join Mike, who I have incredible respect for, is another honor to this honor,” said Benner, who added the award is the capstone of his career.