Sports journalists to be honored for contributions to Indiana basketball on April 24
Five decorated sports journalists will be recognized with Virgil Sweet Awards at the 2015 Indiana Basketball Coaches Association annual clinic later this month.
Virgil Sweet Awards are presented to those who have provided meritorious service in the promotion of basketball across Indiana. The award is named in honor of Sweet, the former Valparaiso High School basketball coach and former longtime executive director of the IBCA.
This year's recipients are Tommy Schoegler of 21Alive TV in Fort Wayne, Bob Stambazze of WJOT Radio in Wabash, Mark Morrow of The Noblesville Times, Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star and Bryce Kendrick of SEI Local Sports.
Each will be honored during a program on April 24 at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis. Schoegler and Stambazze are winners from District 1. Morrow and Neddenriep are recipients from District 2. Kendrick is the honoree from District 3.
More information about each of the award winners follows.
Bryce Kendrick knew at age 12 he wanted to call sporting events for a living. He got the bug after filling in to do public address work for a Little League baseball game. Kendrick did his first full year of P.A. at age 14 and, nearly 33 years later, still actively serves the community in that capacity.
While at Lawrenceburg High School, he played various sports but never excelled at any of them. However, Kendrick’s hard work and team-first mind-set earned him the school’s Mental Attitude Award during his senior year. Also as a senior and first-year member of the LHS speech team, Kendrick won the sectional and regional meets then went on to place in the state finals.
At Ball State University, Kendrick studied telecommunications and journalism. He also worked one year at the university’s WCRD Radio. His favorite moment was interviewing the colorful and entertaining the Cardinals-then men’s head basketball coach, the late Rick Majerus.
Upon graduating in 1990, Kendrick worked full time for WSCH in Aurora, Ind., as the station’s sports director and evening 0n-air personality. This is where Kendrick started to make an impact on the high school sports scene by doubling station’s schedule of live sporting events. In application, people quickly connected with his positive approach and quirky sense of humor.
Kendrick left his full-time position with WSCH in 1995 to pursue more lucrative interests in marketing and advertising but remained as the station’s lead announcer for live sports broadcasts. The event he remembers most fondly was the 1992 IHSAA Boys Basketball Regional at Columbus North, where Lawrenceburg upset the host Bull Dogs on a deep, three-point bank shot at the buzzer to win its first regional since 1949.
Following a change in station ownership, Kendrick stepped away from sportscasting for a few years but continued his public address work. However, it wasn’t long before his passion for high school sports brought him back into the role he enjoys today.
On Aug. 15, 2010, Kendrick launched SEILocalSports.com, a free website dedicated exclusively to the positive promotion of high school athletics at 16 southeast Indiana high schools. The “Daily and Dependable Local Sports Source” published its 10,000th story on Dec. 31, 2014. That’s 10,000 stories, all local, in just more than 52 months of operation. Kendrick has written more than 95 percent of them with the generous assistance of coaches, their designees and athletic directors who send him information to put into story form.
In less than 4.5 years, SEI Local Sports also has provided more than 550 live (and later archived) webcasts. Much to the delight and praise of its followers, the website switched from audio to video in November 2014.
Kendrick received his first state award for his website work in 2014 from the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association.
The Rising Sun resident and his wife, Jodi, have three children – Ryan (Ball State University), Jenna (Butler University) and Emily (Rising Sun High School).
Mark Morrow has spent 47 years in the newspaper business. He took early retirement from Indianapolis Newspapers in 2008 after 25 years. He created, owned and operated Hamilton County Sports Daily, an all-sports website, serving as president and publisher for five years.
The Noblesville Times newspaper partnered with Morrow’s website and later purchased it in 2014. Morrow has since served as sports editor and The Times’ columnist, and recently was named Executive Sports Editor of The Times.
A Kokomo native, Morrow got his start in the newspaper business at the age of 16 at The Kokomo Tribune. He served four years as assistant sports editor of The Tribune, followed by seven years as sports editor of the Michigan City News-Dispatch. He is in his 52nd year as a member of the Indiana media.
He served as high school sports coordinator for both The Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Star. He also served both newspapers as a sports copy editor. He was The News’ beat writer for the NBA Indiana Pacers for four seasons. He also wrote an online column exclusively for VYPE.com/centralindiana and edited VYPE Magazine from 2008 to 2010.
An award-winning sportswriter and headline writer, Morrow authored a book in 2008: “Have Laptop, Did Travel,’’ a newspaper journalist’s memoirs on sports’ grandest stage.
Morrow is a past president of the Indiana Sportswriters & Sportscasters Association, and he also has served as president of The Associated Press Sports Editors. He is a three-time Indiana finalist for Sportswriter of the Year in the National Sportswriters-Sportscasters Association, and he has served as an associate director of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame since 2011.
Morrow was inducted into to the Indiana Sportswriters & Sportscasters Hall of Fame on April 12. Other professional honors he has received include Media Award from the Indiana Baseball Coaches Association (2012), Distinguished Media Service Award from the IHSAA (2013) and the Rex Kirts Media Award from the Indiana Football Coaches Association (2014).
Kyle Neddenriep is a 2000 graduate of Missouri State University, where he was a junior when the Bears advanced to the Sweet 16 under Steve Alford. He worked at the time at the school paper, where one of his primary responsibilities was covering the women’s basketball team led by Jackie Stiles, who would become the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer.
Neddenriep started working at the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader while in college, taking phone calls, compiling roundups and the agate page as a part-timer. He was hired full-time in 2001 and covered high school sports for four years and college sports for three before moving to The Indianapolis Star in June 2008.
Neddenriep has covered high school sports for The Star since 2008. He considers it an honor and thrill to cover high school basketball in Indiana and particularly enjoys pieces that can weave the storied history of the game into his prose.
Neddenriep grew up in Nebraska as the son of a high school coach and has fond memories of attending games as a youngster in a band-box gym. One of his projects for The Star developed into a book called “Historic Hoosier Gyms” on 100 gyms around the state that are no longer used as high school gyms.
As the times change and more importance is placed on the online product, Neddenriep has played a bigger role in covering recruiting for The Star. He particularly enjoys diving into deeper features on players. One of his favorite recent projects involved going behind the scenes with the Crispus Attucks boys’ basketball team.
Neddenriep lives in Brownsburg with his wife, Jennifer, and sons Kyson (8) and Jace (6). He enjoys helping to coach their various sports teams and still plays mediocre basketball regularly. He is lucky to have such an understanding wife who knows weekend nights in the winter are generally reserved for basketball.
Tommy Schoegler came to Fort Wayne's 21Alive in July 2002 and took the job of Sports Director at the beginning of 2012 after serving as the weekend sports anchor and weekday sports reporter for nine years. He is also the host of the weekly call-in sports shows (Sound Off, Sound Off With The Komets, Sound Off With The TinCaps, USF Football Show) and executive producer of 21Alive's Friday night high school highlight shows, The Score and More of The Score. Most recently, Schoegler has also become the play-by-play voice for the Komets’ away-game telecasts on MyTV Fort Wayne.
Schoegler was born in Dayton, Ohio, but grew up in northern Virginia. Upon graduating West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and broadcast news, he served as the Sports Director at WHIZ in Zanesville, Ohio, until moving to Fort Wayne.
Not only has Schoegler worked in front of the camera, but he has also done play-by-play announcing for radio broadcasts of college and high school sports in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana. Schoegler has also enjoyed covering some of the region's top sporting events, such as the Indianapolis 500, Indianapolis Colts games and Notre Dame football.
Schoegler’s career highlights include a one-on-one interview with Tony Dungy just months after the Colts won the Super Bowl, covering the Super Bowl in Miami when the Colts fell to the Saints and covering the 2013 BCS title game when Notre Dame played Alabama.
In 2004, Schoegler became a full-fledged member of the Fort Wayne community when he married Heather Whitacre. The couple welcomed their first child, Grace, into the world in September 2006. Their son, Carter, was born in June 2010.
When Schoegler is not spending time with family, he can be found golfing, listening to the Dave Matthews Band, or cheering on his Mountaineers and Washington Capitals.
It has been said that if Bob Stambazze does not know something about a sport, he will know everything before the subject is done.
A three-sport athlete and 1971 graduate of Huntington North, Stambazze has devoted much of his entire life to sports. Being drafted into the United States Army as one of the last draftees in 1972, Stambazze served in Germany for more than 18 months where he played basketball, managed the AYA ion base in Mannheim, Germany, and coached swimming. Stambazze also played on the Germany/American Baseball team playing in the 1973 World Tournament in Nicaragua and in 1974 coached the European 14-16 Baseball All Stars in the Little League World Series in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
After his military service, Stambazze returned to the United States to play in three World Fast-Pitch Softball Tournaments . He served as coach and league president for Huntington County Baseball from 1988-99. Bazz is a licensed high school and college official in football, basketball and softball and has worked contests for more than 40 years. Highlights in officiating include working two high school softball State Finals and 7-on-7 National Tournaments in football.
For the past seven years, Stambazze has been the color commentary for football and boys and girls basketball broadcasts for WJOT 105.9 in Wabash. This year, he became the play-by-play announcer for the station. His is also the Sports Director for WJOT 105.9, where he does all the play-by-play for football , volleyball, boys and girls basketball, softball and baseball. He also hosts a weekly Coaches’ Show for coaches in football and boys and girls basketball.
Stambazze and his wife, Marla, are the proud parents of two sons, Jake and Bobby. Bazz is the die-hard fan of the New York Yankees, Green Bay Packers and the Indiana Hoosiers. Currently he is the co-anchor on the Morning Express for WARU-Sparkle 101.9 in Peru.