Joseph Cyr of the Houlton Pioneer Times has been selected as the Maine winner of the National Sports Media Association Sportswriter of the Year award.

Cyr, who serves as a news and sports reporter for the Pioneer Times, was recognized through a vote of the state’s NSMA members in December 2017.

“I am truly honored to received this prestigious award from the National Sports Media Association,” said Cyr, a first-time winner. “It is very humbling to be recognized in this manner. Covering local sports is a privilege that I do not take lightly.

“Over the past 25 years in the business, I have had a chance to work with some pretty amazing sportswriters. I have always tried to learn from them and pass along that knowledge to those just starting out,” he added.

Ernie Clark of the Bangor Daily News was the other finalist for the Maine sportswriter award. Rich Kimball of Black Bear Sports Properties/Learfield in Orono won the state’s sportscaster honor for the seventh time. Rene Cloukey of WAGM-TV in Presque Isle was the other broadcast finalist.

Cyr, a Houlton native, began his newspaper career at The Star-Herald in Presque Isle. After four years there, he worked for Courier Publications in Rockland for nearly 11 years and then for VillageNet Media, also based in Rockland, for another year. He then returned to Aroostook County and has been back with the Houlton Pioneer Times since 2009.

“Joe is a class act and is very deserving. He is very respectful and professional, and a great communicator,” said Shawn Graham, coach of the Houlton girls basketball team.

“He puts a tremendous amount of time into our local sports teams as he is around the facilities days, nights and weekends.”

“What makes this so special is that Joe is a general assignment reporter who covers everything from school board and council meetings to accidents and fires for Houlton and the surrounding communities,” said Senior Editor Rick Levasseur of Northeast Publishing, which produces the Houlton Pioneer Times. “Then he goes out of his way to photograph and write about sporting events, even when he has to do it on his own time because, he says, ‘That’s what our readers care about.’ Joe definitely deserves this honor.”

Northeast Publishing General Manager Andrew Birden said, “Joe has an astonishing drive to tell the story of the communities he serves in compelling style. When it comes to sports especially, Joe leads the way for journalists across the state.

“He makes capturing amazing images and telling the essence of sports stories look easy, when those of us with experience in the same field know that sports coverage is one of the most challenging branches of journalism,” Birden added.

Cyr and his wife, Charity, have two daughters — Isabel, 14, and Olivia, 11.

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.

This story was corrected on Jan. 18, 2018, to reflect that Kevin Sjoberg of the Star-Herald was the writer.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...