Dick Schaap is one of sports journalism’s enduring personalities.
Born September 27, 1934, in Brooklyn to a Jewish family, Schaap showed a thirst for sports reporting from an early age.
At 14 he was already penning a sports column for his local weekly, the Freeport Leader. At 15 he started at the Nassau Daily Review-Star.
As a student at Cornell, Schaap was editor-in-chief at the Cornell Daily Sun, then went on to the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His thesis was on recruitment practices in basketball.
Schaap’s first full time gig was as assistant sports editor at Newsweek. In the 70s he appeared on NBC on the “Nightly News” and “Today Show,” then moved to “ABC World News Tonight” and “20/20.” In 1988 he began at ESPN, where he would have a prolific career.
Schaap wrote and co-wrote several books in his life, and was a five-time Emmy award winner. He died December 21, 2001, in New York City after complications from a hip surgery.
He was posthumously honored by the Associated Press with the Red Smith Award, and he was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame, which also named a journalism award in his honor.
Schaap’s son, Jeremy Schaap, is also an Emmy-winning ESPN sports reporter.