Gary Corsair

Indiana Forensic Association 

  • 1st place, Outstanding Publicity, 1990


North Carolina Press Association 

  • 1st place, Government Reporting, 2018

  • 1st place, Best Specialty Publication, 2018

  • 1st place, Outstanding News Coverage, 2017


Society of Professional Journalists 

  • 1st place, Green Eyeshade Awards, Investigative Reporting, 2005

  • 1st place, South Florida Chapter, Investigative Reporting, 2005

  • 1st place, South Florida Chapter, Sports Reporting, 2005

  • 1st place, South Florida Chapter, Feature Writing, 2004

  • 1st place, South Florida Chapter, Sports Reporting, 2004.

BIOGRAPHY

Florida Associated Press Broadcasters 
  • 1st place, Best Feature, 2002
  • 1st place, Best News Feature, 2002

 Florida Press Association 
  • 1st place, In-Depth Reporting, 2003

Florida Press Club 
  • 1st place, Serious Feature, 2008
  • 1st place, In-Depth News Writing, 2004

Florida Magazine Association 
  • 1st place, Best Overall Consumer Magazine, 2015
  • 1st place, Best In-Depth Reporting, 2015
  • 1st place, Best Feature, 2015

Florida Society of Newspaper Editors 
  • 1st place, Sports Reporting, 2013
  • 1st place, Sports Feature, 2011
  • 1st place, Arts Writing, 2010
  • 1st place, In-Depth Reporting, 2010
  • 1st place, Feature Writing, 2004

Gary’s job description – and world – soon changed considerably at his “real job” when Dr. Dan Bates became superintendent of the Plymouth Community School Corporation. Gary gave up driving bus and became the school system’s first public relations director, writing press releases, designing brochures and calendars, overseeing a Key Communicators network, and conceiving and producing a cable-access TV show called Plymouth Perspective.

After 10 wonderful years, Gary relunctantly left Plymouth Schools to launch Corsair’s Sports Authority, which faltered and died due to poor planning and lack of research on Gary’s part despite Hurculean efforts by office manager Sandy May and by Gary’s older brother Brian, who funded the operation and proved to be a darn good writer himself.

​Stung by failure and several bad personal decisions, Gary moved Gwen and their four children to San Antonio, Florida, where Gary hoped to jump-start his writing career as editor of the Zephyrhills News.

After two years, Gary was hired as editor of the Tri-County News, a free weekly newspaper that became the paid The Villages Daily Sun in just a few years. Gary enjoyed numerous challenges and successes during nearly 20 years working for The Villages Media Group, distinguishing himself as an editor, television reporter, news director, columnist, TV host and anchor, newsroom coach, assistant managing editor, magazine editor – doing whatever was needed.

Gary Corsair has earned 70 state, regional and national awards for excellence in Journalism, written two acclaimed books, birthed two newspapers, served as publisher of two publications and managing editor of two papers and two magazines, survived a stint as TV news director, and played public address announcer in two baseball parks during a 45-year career that began when he was 16.


He’s also worked as a basketball color commentator, shoe salesman, pizza maker, window cleaner, janitor, school bus driver, delivery man, baseball card shop owner, manager of a rock band, and public relations director. And yet his “to-do” list remains full!


Type yourBorn on July 29, 1959 in Irvington, New Jersey to an electronics designer and a homemaker, Gary fell in love with reading and writing at Eastern High School in Greentown, Indiana, where he was fortunate to have Greg Benninghoff as his English teacher and yearbook advisor.

​Gary began his journalism career at The Kokomo Tribune in Kokomo, Indiana in 1976, writing game summaries phoned in  from the hinterlands. The following year, Gary became one of the Trib’s famed “Men In Motion,” stringers who actually covered games in person. He also became the sports editor at the Trib’s sister paper in Greentown, The Howard County News, where Jim Bannon and CooKie Walter taught him well, but only paid $15 for each page Gary filled with articles, photos, headlines, and captions. paragraph here.

In 1978, Gary met the love of his life while vacationing in Hawaii. After a long-distance courtship, he married Gwendolyn Nani Oh in Honolulu in November 1979. Gary’s father performed his first and only wedding ceremony.

The Corsairs moved into a three-room apartment in Greentown, but had trouble making ends meet. After nearly three years of working for two newspapers simultaneously – a demanding schedule that had him laboring from Sunday night through Tuesday afternoon without sleep (thank goodness for Mountain Dew!), a burned-out Gary relocated to Plymouth, Indiana and went to work in a school bus garage, where he drove the Special Education bus, swept the shop, washed buses, repaired seats, shoveled snow and changed oil and tires.

Gary and Gwen welcomed their first child, Stuart, shortly after Gary changed jobs.

Gary enjoyed the change of pace but missed newspapering. Fortunately, Jan Garrison, editor of the local paper, the Plymouth Pilot-News, hired Gary as a stringer to cover Friday night games.  

PARTIAL LIST OF HONORS​

After being replaced as an editor, Gary won numerous awards for in-depth reporting. His award-winning exclusives included:

  • The true story of the sinking of the USS Eagle-56, a tragedy the U.S. Navy initially attributed to a boiler explosion. Corsair found irrefutable evidence that the ship was torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat. The Navy changed its ruling;
  • A profile of Reggie Colton, a poor, fatherless boy who had his legs severed by a train at age 12 and became an International wheelchair basketball star;
  • The story of James "Killer" Miller, a high school football star who traded fame and possible fortune for the crack pipe;
  • An expose on secret chemical weapons testing during World War II in which American soldiers were used as guinea pigs. Gary’s editor nominated the five-day series for a Pulitzer Prize, but it did not win.


Gary also stumbled upon the tragic story of the Groveland Four, four African-Americans accused of raping a young white woman in 1949. For four years, Gary spent evenings and weekends researching the infamous case, which led him to author The Groveland Four: The Sad Saga of a Legal Lynching, which he later revised, updated and released as Legal Lynching: The Sad Saga of The Groveland Four.

Two documentaries have been based on Gary’s expose, which made a strong case that the accused were, in fact, innocent. After Gary petitioned Governor Rick Scott to exonerate Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, and Samuel Shepherd, a movement began to implore the State of Florida to right the terrible wrongs perpetrated in the Groveland Rape Case. Late in 2019, Scott’s successor Gov. Rick DeSantis did just that, signing a bill exonerating the men whose stories Gary told. Today, Gary and his book are recognized on a monument in front of the courthouse when the case was tried in the summer of 1949.

In 2014, disappointed with the direction The Villages Daily Sun was heading, Gary left to become editor of Style magazine in nearby Leesburg. Publisher Kendra Akers confirmed that he’d made the correct decision when she courageously published Gary’s expose on ‘Mean Marie’ Arrington, a convicted killer Gary interviewed.

His next challenge was in western North Carolina, where he served as publisher and editor of The Graham Star for four years. After a brief stint at a sister paper, the Clay County Progress, in Hayesville, North Carolina, Gary took a leave to finish Cats With 12 Lives, although he couldn’t pass up an offer to return to Akers Media and Style magazine on a part-time basis.

Corsair and Gwen lived just outside Wildwood for 19 years. They now reside in Andrews, North Carolina.

When he’s not writing, editing, or researching, Gary enjoys reading, travel, collecting rare 78 rpm records, hitting baseballs, playing basketball, flea marketing, studying The Bible and Witnessing to others, and spending time with his wife of 42 years and wonderdog Boo Radley.