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Jim O'brien

About the Author


Pittsburgh sports author Jim O'Brien has written 31 books in his “Pittsburgh Proud” series. He is on the advisory board for the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, and has been inducted into the Western Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He was given the Bob Prince Award for his journalism efforts and the David L. Lawrence Award for "promoting Pittsburgh in a positive manner on a national level" from Vectors. He was cited as a "Legend" by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.

He teaches a class in “Pittsburgh’s Rich Sports History” in the Osher Institute Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh and was invited to teach the same course at Carnegie Mellon University. He has previously taught undergrad students at Point Park University and Robert Morris University, and mentored many student interns during his four-year stay in the mid-80s as assistant athletic director for public relations at the University of Pittsburgh. A half dozen of his protégé’s went on to big-time positions in television and radio, and pro and college and non-profit public relations.

He was the first Pittsburgher to be inducted into the U. S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame at ceremonies at the Regency Hyatt in New Orleans on Monday, April 7, 2003. The event was held in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four men's basketball championship. During a three-year span, O'Brien also served on the nomination board for the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, and was responsible for promoting induction of Connie Hawkins of Brooklyn and Zigmund “Red” Mihalik of Ford City, Pennsylvania, a great referee. In 2012, he was given a “lifetime achievement” award and inducted into the Pittsburgh Basketball Hall of Fame. He voted for 40 years for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and is an honorary member of the U.S. Baseball Writers Assn.

He writes a column for The Valley Mirror in the Steel Valley, and he wrote a column for 18 years in The Almanac in South Hills, and is a contributing writer for magazines in Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair. O'Brien was the founding editor (1970) for 23 years for Street & Smith’s Basketball Yearbook and a contributing writer and editor emeritus for an additional 14 years, and authored The Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball for three years. He wrote a column on pro basketball for The Sporting News for nine years. He was a staff writer for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, The Miami News, The New York Post and The Pittsburgh Press. He wrote stories for SPORT magazine, Newsweek, Basketball Times, The Football News and The Washington Post.

He has a degree in English from Pitt, and completed graduate-level courses in English Literature when he was working at his alma mater in the mid-1980s.

He has been married for 54 years to Kathleen Churchman O'Brien and they live in Waterdam Farms, McMurray, Pennsylvania a suburb of Pittsburgh. They are the parents of Dr. Sarah O'Brien of Columbus, Ohio and Rebecca O'Brien of Woodland Hills, California. They are the grandparents of Margaret, Susannah, Jeffrey and Madeline of Columbus, Ohio.