World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Dick Schaap

Richard Jay Schaap [1] (September 27, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York – December 21, 2001, in New York City, New York) was an American sportswriter, broadcaster, and author.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • Death 2.1
  • Bobby Fischer 3
  • Honors 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and education

Born to a Jewish family and raised in Freeport, New York, on Long Island, Schaap began writing a sports column at age 14 for the weekly newspaper Freeport Leader, but the next year he obtained a job with the daily newspaper The Nassau Daily Review-Star working for 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 newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun, during which time he defended a professor before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He obtained a letter in varsity lacrosse playing goaltender. During his last year at Cornell, Schaap was elected to the Sphinx Head Society. After graduating during 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.

Schaap was the father of 6 children, Renee, Michelle, Jeremy, Joanna, Kari and David, and had five grandchildren[2][3] His children included sports/news journalist Jeremy Schaap.[4]


Schaap began work as assistant sports editor of Newsweek. During 1964, he began a thrice-weekly column concerning current events. He became editor of SPORT magazine during 1973. It was then that he provided some of the inspiration for the eccentricities of Media Day at the Super Bowl. Opposing 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) questioned players and coaches from both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings with questions that ranged from clichéd to downright absurd.[5][6] Schaap was also a theatre critic, causing 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 people 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. During 1988 he began hosting The Sports Reporters on ESPN cable television, which in later years often featured his son Jeremy as a correspondent. He also hosted Schaap One on One on ESPN Classic and a syndicated ESPN Radio program called The Sporting Life with Dick Schaap, in which he discussed the week's developments in sports with Jeremy. He also occasionally served as a substitute anchor for ABC's late night newscast, World News Now.

He wrote the 1968 best-seller 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."


Schaap died on December 21, 2001 at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City of complications from hip replacement surgery that September. Schaap's final regular television appearance was on the September 16, 2001 broadcast of The Sports Reporters on the Sunday after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. That weekend all major American college and professional sporting events had been cancelled, and Schaap and his panelists discussed the diminished role of sports since the tragedy.

After Schaap's death, his estate and members of his family filed a lawsuit against three physicians and Lenox Hill Hospital, alleging that his death had been caused by medical malpractice. Specifically, they alleged that, for two years before his surgery, Schaap had been given a powerful medication called amiodarone to treat an irregular heartbeat. Amiodarone can cause lung damage (known as "amiodarone pulmonary toxicity") and, according to the plaintiffs, an X-ray of Schaap's chest that had been taken before the surgery indicated that he had lung damage. Three days after the surgery, Schaap began having difficulty breathing, and he was subsequently diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome. He died three months after the operation, never having left the hospital. Among other claims, the plaintiffs contended that Schaap's surgery should have been postponed, that he should have been taken off the amiodarone, and that his lungs should have been given time to heal before the performance of the surgery.

The court dismissed the claim against the hospital on the ground that the physicians were not employees of the hospital. The plaintiffs' claims against the three physicians went to trial in 2005 in Manhattan. On July 1, 2005, after nine days of deliberations, a jury found that all three physicians had been negligent, but also found that the negligence of only one of the physicians had caused Schaap's death. That physician was a cardiologist whom the plaintiffs had contended was negligent by not looking at the pre-operative chest X-ray. The jury awarded the plaintiffs a total of $1.95 million in damages.[7][8][9]

Bobby Fischer

Around 1955, Schaap befriended Bobby Fischer, who was at the time a twelve-year-old chess prodigy, and would later become a world chess champion. During 2005, prompted by questions posed by Schaap's son, Jeremy Schaap, Fischer acknowledged that the relationship was significant and that the elder Schaap had been a "father figure" to him.[10] Fischer was still resentful that Dick Schaap had later written, among many other comments, that Fischer "did not have a sane bone left in his body".[11]


The Sports Emmy division of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences renamed their writing category "The Dick Schaap Outstanding Writing Award." [12] The 2005 Emmy Awards in this category was won by Jeremy for a SportsCenter piece called “Finding Bobby Fischer.”

During 2002, Schaap was honored posthumously by the Associated Press Sports Editors with the Red Smith Award. Also during 2002, he was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame, which created a Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism.

On June 8, 2015, Schaap was inducted posthumously in the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association's Hall of Fame.


  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica"Richard Jay Schaap" 10 August 2010
  2. ^ "Deaths SCHAAP, DICK". Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Obituary: Dick Schaap". Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  4. ^ SANDOMIR, Richard. "Out of the Shadow and Into the Spotlight - New York Times".  
  5. ^ , Saturday, December 22, 2001.Los Angeles TimesPenner, Mike. "Dick Schaap, 67; Sports Journalist" (obituary),
  6. ^ , Sunday, January 1, 2006.The Detroit NewsGreen, Jerry. "New Orleans Provides Wild Super Bowl Weeks,"
  7. ^ Family of Dick Schaap Awarded $1.95 Million, Washington Post (July 2, 2005). Retrieved on October 27, 2013.
  8. ^ Andrew Jacobs, Jury Awards Family $1.95 Million in Dick Schaap's Death, New York Times (July 2, 2005). Retrieved on October 27, 2013.
  9. ^ Andrew Jacobs, Jury Deliberates Lawsuit Over Death of Dick Schaap, New York Times (June 23, 2005). Retrieved on October 27, 2013.
  10. ^ Bobby and me | Sport | The Guardian
  11. ^ "Chess legend still intrigues people". Archived from the original on March 8, 2015.  May 9, 2005
  12. ^ "35th Annual Sports Emmy Awards" (PDF). The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.