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Richard J. Schaap (September 27, 1931–December 21, 2001) was an American sportswriter, broadcaster, and author.

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Early life and education

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Freeport, New York on Long Island, Schaap began writing as a high school student. At age fourteen he began writing a sports column for the weekly Freeport Leader, but the following year moved to the Nassau Daily Review-Star daily under future Pulitzer Prize-winner Jimmy Breslin. He would later follow Breslin to the Long Island Press and New York Herald Tribune.

He attended Cornell University and was editor-in-chief of the student paper, the Cornell Daily Sun, during which time he defended a professor before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). He lettered in varsity lacrosse playing goaltender, where one of his proudest moments came while playing against Syracuse great Jim Brown. Dick Schaap believed that Jim Brown was the greatest lacrosse player that ever lived. During his last year at Cornell, Dick was elected to the Sphinx Head Society. After graduating in 1955 he received a Grantland Rice fellowship at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and authored his thesis on the recruitment of basketball players.

Career

Schaap began work as assistant sports editor of Newsweek. In 1964, he began a thrice-weekly column covering current events. He became editor of SPORT magazine in 1973. It was there that he masterminded the inspiration for the eccentricities that surround Media Day at the Super Bowl. Fed up with the grandiose and self-important nature of the National Football League's championship match, he hired two Los Angeles Rams players, Fred Dryer and Lance Rentzel, to cover Super Bowl IX. Donning costumes inspired by The Front Page, "Scoops Brannigan" (Dryer) and "Cubby O'Switzer" (Rentzel) peppered players and coaches from both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings with questions that ranged from clichéd to downright absurd.[1][2] Schaap was also a theatre critic, leading him to quip that he was the only person ever to vote for both the Tony Awards and the Heisman Trophy. He interviewed non-sports figures such as Matthew Broderick and produced cultural features for ABC's overnight news program, World News Now.

After spending the 1970s with NBC as an NBC Nightly News and Today Show correspondent, he moved to ABC World News Tonight and 20/20 at ABC in the 1980s. He earned five Emmy Awards, for profiles of Sid Caesar and Tom Waddell, two for reporting, and for writing. In 1988 he began hosting The Sports Reporters on ESPN cable television, which in later years often featured son Jeremy as a correspondent. He also hosted Schaap One on One on ESPN Classic and a syndicated ESPN Radio show called The Sporting Life with Dick Schaap, in which he discussed the week's developments in sports with Jeremy.

He wrote the 1968 best-seller Instant Replay co-authored with Jerry Kramer of the Green Bay Packers, and I Can't Wait Until Tomorrow... 'Cause I Get Better-Looking Every Day, the 1969 autobiography of New York Jet Joe Namath. These led to a stint as co-host of The Joe Namath Show, which in turn led to his hiring as sports anchor for WNBC-TV. Other books included a biography of Robert F. Kennedy, .44 (with Jimmy Breslin), a fictionalized account of the hunt for Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz, Turned On, about upper middle-class drug abuse, An Illustrated History of the Olympics, a coffee-table book on the history of the modern Olympic Games, The Perfect Jump, on the world record-breaking long jump by Bob Beamon in the 1968 Summer Olympics, My Aces, My Faults with Nick Bollettieri, Steinbrenner!, a biography of mercurial New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, and Bo Knows Bo with Bo Jackson. His autobiography, Flashing Before My Eyes: 50 Years of Headlines, Deadlines & Punchlines , was reissued under Schaap's original title "Dick Schaap as Told to Dick Schaap: 50 years of Headlines, Deadlines and Punchlines."

On the overnight news program World News Now, Schaap interviewed non-sports figures, including [[Matthew Broderick

In 2002, he was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame, which created the Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism.

Bobby Fischer

Around 1955, Schaap befriended Bobby Fischer, who later became world chess champion. In 2005, prompted by questions from Schaap's son Jeremy, Fischer acknowledged that the relationship was significant. Fischer was still pointedly resentful that Dick Schaap had later written, among many other comments, that Fischer "did not have a sane bone left in his body".[3]

The Sports Emmy division of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences renamed their writing category "The Dick Schaap Outstanding Writing Award." The 2005 Emmy in this category was won by Jeremy for a SportsCenter piece called “Finding Bobby Fischer.”

References

External links








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