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‘RIP’ – Heartbroken Brother of John McEnroe Mourns ESPN Legend’s Tragic Death Who Last Tweeted About Coco Gauff

Published 04/21/2024, 9:13 AM EDT

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He was Google for sports before Google existed. Howie Schwab, ESPN’s first staff researcher, was a sports nerd whose love for statistics led to a long stint with ESPN. 1987 to 2013, to be precise. You might remember him from his iconic appearance in his show, Stump the Schwab, where teams competed against Schwab for his vast knowledge about sports and even recorded his best score, 64-16. Draped in a red boxing robe, with a woman on each arm, Schwab took off the robe and outshone a Derek Jeter jersey. Throwing a few punches in the air, he declared, “I am ready to rumble.”

In fact, he had some interesting predictions back in the day regarding the men’s draw for the 2012 French Open. He had said that none of the Americans would go beyond round 2 or 3 in the French Open. And that’s what happened. Sam Querrey was out after round 2 and Mardy Fish after round 3. But that’s not all.

Further, he had also opined that despite Rafael Nadal being the second seed, he would win the title. Again, that’s what took place. His prediction was a bold one because Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray were also contesting.

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In Jun 2013, ESPN saw a big wave of mass layoffs. He lost his beloved ESPN job, and this had angered him. In a scathing Facebook post, he wrote, “After 26 years at ESPN, I am extremely disappointed to say farewell. I have been proud of my association and my work during my tenure. I was a loyal employee, displayed respect for others, worked with numerous charities, represented the company well. I always did everything asked of me and more.

“What did I get in return today … word that I should get lost. The only thing that mattered was my salary, which in my view was the lone reason I lost my job.”

Unfortunately, he passed away on Saturday at the age of 63. He is survived by his sister, Elysa Schwab, wife and mother. His father passed away last year while his first wife, Jodi Singer, died in 2014. As per The New York Times, his mother Donna stated that he was in the hospital, getting treated for an infection when he experienced a heart attack. His death was announced by his wife on X.

“Dear family& friends, I wanted to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude for the beautiful messages you sent in memory of my dear husband Howie your words of comfort and support have been a source of immense solace during this challenging time! regards, suzie Schwab.”

Among the sports that Schwab closely followed, brother of tennis veteran Joe McEnroe, Patrick wrote,

On April 18, Schwab tweeted, “Coco Gauff edged SACHIA Vickery in three sets in Germany. Gauff double faulted so many times it was insane but she got by.” It took the World No. 3, 2 hours and 36 minutes to capture a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 win over Vickery. Her triumph was short-lived, though, as Marta Kostyuk defeated her in the following round and went on to the tournament’s championship round. But clearly, Howie Schwab loved watching tennis along with other sports.

 

 

After his ESPN stint from 1987 to 2013, he worked with FOX Sports. Regardless, he made many connections throughout his career. One such person was college basketball analyst Dick Vitale. The two worked closely on several projects. Remembering his colleague, Vitale wrote, “So sad to learn of the passing of my loyal dedicated buddy ⁦@howieschwab – he was recently at my home. Had various health issues but was feeling good when he visited. May he please RIP.” 

 

Back in the day, while he described himself as a ‘mostly unathletic kid’, no one could rival his love for all the emotions that sports stir in a true fan. And with this talent, he was a part of people’s childhood.

Howie Schwab was more than a familiar face; he was a part of fans’ core childhood memories

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“Your husband was a huge part of my childhood and will never be forgotten. God bless you and your family,” wrote a sad fan. Howard Schwab was born on September 17, 1960, in Brooklyn, and grew up in Baldwin, N.Y. A young Schwab was not athletic, but he enjoyed playing. He would be the goalie in street hockey games. And at summer camp, he would announce scores over the loudspeakers. His love for sports and really good memory helped him in his career.

Remembering the media personality, another person wrote, “Much of my childhood consisted of me watching Stump the Schwab which sparked my interest into knowing sports at a deeper level. He will be missed. Thank you Suzie.”

“Howie was an icon to my son at a young age when he aspired to one day “stump the Schwab.” Now, at 26, we still call him “Schwabby” cuz of the impact your husband made on him with his love of sports knowledge. May Howie’s memory be a blessing to u & to all that knew him.”

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Schwab is a core memory for those who grew up in the 2000s. But that came with a lot of hard work on his part. He earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic administration from St. John’s University. Post this, he penned pieces for The Torch- the campus newspaper. He started small but found immense success because of his passion.

But did you know that his show ‘Stump the Schwab’ was so culturally ingrained that once Jerry Capozzalo, whom he knew from a fantasy sports league, invited him to his daughter’s engagement party? They wanted a Stump the Schwab contest. While he couldn’t attend, how could he leave a fan disappointed? He sent a tape with trivia questions for the party. May his soul rest in peace.

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Written by:

Pratishtha Prakash

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Pratishtha Prakash, tennis writer and resident analyst at EssentiallySports isn't just a sports journalist; she's a storyteller who found her true calling in tennis content. It is something she seamlessly integrates into both her professional and personal realms. Having professional certifications in content and digital marketing, Pratishtha has made it a habit to hone her skills as a quality journalist.
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Edited by:

Arunima Bhanot