Originally named the Jesse Abramson Award, for excellence in track and field journalism, the award was renamed in 2015 in honor of the  late James O. Dunaway, the famed New York Times and later freelance journalist.

James O. Dunaway Award recipients:

2015 – Steve RICHIE (Steve Richie On Track)

Previous recipients of the Jesse Abramson Award were:

2014 – Ken GOE (The Oregonian)
2013 – David WOODS (Indianapolis Star)
2012 – Jon HENDERSHOTT (Track and Field News)
2011 – Joe BATTAGLIA (Universal Sports)
2010 – Sieg LINDSTRON (Track and Field News)
2009 – Curtis ANDERSON (Eugene Register-Guard)
2008 – John MEYER (Denver Post)
2007 – David WOODS (Indianapolis Star)
2006 – David WOODS (Indianapolis Star)
2005 – Phil HERSH (Chicago Tribune)
2004 – John CRUMPACKER (San Francisco Chronicle)
2003 – Brian CAZENEUVE (Sports Illustrated)
2002 – Marc BLOOM (New York Times)
2001 – John CRUMPACKER (San Francisco Chronicle)
2000 – Phil HERSH (Chicago Tribune)
1999 – Marc BLOOM (New York Times)
1998 – Marc BLOOM (New York Times)
1997 – Jim DUNAWAY (Dunaway Ink)
1996 – Bob BURNS (Sacramento Bee)
1995 – Merrell NODEN (Sports Illustrated)
1994 – Ron BELLAMY (Eugene Register-Guard)
1993 – David WOODS (Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette)
1992 – Elliott ASBURY (Asbury Park Press)
1991 – Rod REID (Philadelphia Inquirer)
1990 – Jon HENDERSHOTT (Track and Field News)
1989 – Bert ROSENTHAL (Associated Press)
1988 – Ron REID (Philadelphia Inquirer)
1987 – Ron REID (Philadelphia Inquirer)
1986 – Kerry EGGERS (Portland Oregonian)
1985 – Don PIERSON (Chicago Tribune)
1984 – Frank LITSKY (New York Times)
1983 – Elliott DENMAN (Ashbury Park Press)
1982 – Don PIERSON (Chicago Tribune)
1981 – Neil AMBER (New York Times)