Regarded by many as a “community treasure” and known for more than four decades of sports coverage, Stu Swartz was honored Tuesday as the recipient of the 2011-12 IHSAA Distinguished Media Service Award for District I.
Swartz’s contributions to Indiana high school sports were recognized during the South Bend St. Joseph’s-Goshen boys basketball game with IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox and Sports Information Director Jason Wille making the presentation.
Swartz retired last summer after 45 years with The Goshen News, including the last 12 as sports editor, having covered several state championship teams among thousands of area high school football, basketball, softball and baseball games.
He was a junior at Goshen High School when he got his start with the local newspaper which was looking for someone to cover area high school baseball games. Swartz had impressed as the official scorekeeper for the Goshen Redskins baseball team at the time and took the opportunity. After graduation, Swartz attended Iowa State University before joining the United States Army and serving our country in Vietnam.
Upon returning home, he rejoined The Goshen News as a full-time staffer in April of 1971 and always tried to follow the advice of the editor that hired him to “report the news, don’t make it”. His family ties to the newspaper began before he was even born as his grandfather, Herb, also was a sports writer and editor for The Goshen News from 1923-51.
Area high school athletic directors who worked with Swartz appreciated the extensive coverage he gave their student-athletes and how he always displayed integrity, class and professionalism.
“Stu never focused on a student-athlete’s poor play, but always on the positive play,” said Goshen athletic director Larry Kissinger. “He never talked about who made the turnover, but focused on the student-athlete who made the great interception or steal.”
Concord athletic director David Preheim, commented: “Stu worked hard to earn the trust of local coaches, who knew that he would treat them fairly. He also possesses a keen ability to remember statistics, stories and people from years gone by. I always enjoyed striking up a conversation with him about the history of a particular rivalry or about a long-ago graduated athlete. There have been several times where I have called on him to help fill in some missing pieces in our own department history.”
Swartz has been the recipient of numerous awards over the years for his writing and sports coverage and is a member of the Elkhart County Sports Hall of Fame. He’s been honored by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association with its Service Award (1984) and its Virgil Sweet Award (2010), the Indiana Athletic Administrators presented him with its Distinguished Service Award in 1996 and the Indiana Football Coaches Association recognized him with its Media Award in 2000.
Besides his professional responsibilities, Swartz also served as director of the Goshen men’s fast-pitch softball league from 1974-1985.
This is the 27th year the IHSAA has recognized outstanding members of the Indiana news media from each of its three legislative districts for excellence in the coverage of high school sports. Swartz is the third individual to be honored this school year joining Mark Brochin of WWBL in Washington and Ray Cooney of The Commercial Review in Portland.