Sportswriter Dave Scheiber leaves the Times
He was wrangling pop culture coverage back then as the entertainment editor and we bonded quickly over our families and love for playing music. The announcement last week that Dave was leaving the newspaper after his job as a sportswriter was eliminated came after I had already produced a blog post on many departures around the building.
So to give a little more attention to a good friend, I figured I'd share the note Dave's last editor, Jack Sheppard, posted for display in the newsroom to announce Scheiber's departure:
"How do you summarize a 31-year journalism career in a couple of pages? How do you measure the impact Dave Scheiber’s work, as a writer and an editor, has had on the readers of the St. Petersburg Times? How do you capture the respect and admiration for him shared by his colleagues, who universally consider him one of the nicest guys they know?
It’s not easy, but let me try.
Dave has established himself as one of the premier sports feature writers in the country, with more than 40 national and state writing awards to his credit. Among his most prestigious honors:
• becoming the first Times writer to win first place in the Sports category of the National Headliner Awards, in 2008 for a collection of five features and issue pieces.
• winning first place in the highly competitive 2008 national Associated Press Sports Editors feature category (as well as first place in the Green Eyeshade Excellence in Journalism Sports category) for a story about World War II vets from the Kids & Kubs softball team playing their Japanese counterparts in a symbolic game near Pearl Harbor.
• winning second place in the 2009 Green Eyeshade Awards for electronic medium, for a collection of the top 25 Super Bowl Greatest Moments that Dave researched and wrote, then flew to Dallas and convinced legendary NFL broadcaster Pat Summerall to narrate (for free).
• writing revealing, in-depth pieces on a wide range of sports notables such as Nick Bollettieri, Hank Steinbrenner, B.J. Upton, Byron Leftwich, Mary Carillo, Don Zimmer and Cooper Manning – a 2004 story about the little-known older Manning brother that elicited more than 10,000 tampabay.com Web hits when Peyton reached the Super Bowl in 2007 and again with Eli in 2008.
•.writing compelling tales about unknowns, like the football dad who lost his ability to read after brain surgery but relearned with the help of his young son (a future Northeast High star). Or the St. Petersburg grandmother of No. 1 NFL pick Matthew Stafford and her excitement on draft day.
• delving into controversial issues like the international epidemic of racism in soccer, concussions in pro sports and a four-part series explaining the drought of Triple Crown winners.
• turning his two-part series about NBA referee Bob Delaney's life as an undercover agent infiltrating the New Jersey Mafia into the 2008 book Covert, which he co-authored with Delaney. The book (recently re-released as a paperback after the hardcover success) reached No. 1 on Amazon's sports biography rankings and was named by USA Today as one of the best books of 2008. The movie rights to Covert have been purchased by Appledown Films/Scott-Burns Productions in Los Angeles, and Ron Shelton (screenwriter/director for Bull Durham, White Men Can't Jump and Tin Cup) has signed on to direct and has begun work on the screen adaptation.
In his first stint in Sports, where he joined the Times as prep editor in 1978 after working as a copy aide and prep writer for the Washington Post, Dave also served as the Rowdies beat writer (’79-’82), the Bucs beat writer (’83-’84), covered the NFL at large (’85-’87) and was part of a two-year, heralded investigation of violations by coach Charley Pell at the University of Florida that was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
In between his Sports assignments, Dave also made his mark during 17 years in the Floridian department, as an award-winning writer and as the founding editor of the Weekend section.
As a general assignment writer for Floridian, he wrote human interest features on such names as Bo Diddley and his life on the the farm in Archer, Fla.; Clarence "Big Man" Clemons helping the underprivileged in his home near Singer Island, Fla.; a two-part series on a local Holocaust survivor in "The Voyage of Hilda Stern;" his first-person romp through Fargo, N.D., tracking down the Rolling Stones at a bowling alley; "The Baby Bunch" piece about life as the dad of six kids; and "Music Lights a Fire," a look at the mysterious genetic condition of Williams Syndrome, which produces mild retardation and a deep passion for music – a condition with which his brother was born.
For his writing, Dave won three awards in the prestigious American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors contest in six years.
During his 11 years as Weekend and Entertainment Editor (1987-1999), Dave developed Weekend into a nationally respected publication. For the cover of the 10-year anniversary Weekend section, he convinced the inaugural cover subject, Jay Leno, to pose on the Tonight Show set in 1997 while holding a copy of the first issue.
Dave’s work also regularly appeared outside the Times, most notably as a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated for five years. His portfolio included profiles of athletes such as Chris Evert, Jerome Brown, Deion Sanders, Andre Agassi, Mary Pierce, Mike Veeck and Laura Davies, with cover stories on Vinny Testaverde and Jennifer Capriati.
While Dave’s journalistic accomplishments are impressive, anyone who knows Dave knows of his devotion to his large family – wife Janie, five daughters Valerie 24; Laura 22; Mollie 19; Julia 13 and Emma 11; and son Davey, 8. And they know Dave and Janie from their two decades together on the local music scene, sharing the stage in an array of groups, for the past 10 in one of Tampa Bay's busiest party bands, Ocean Road.
Please join me in congratulating Dave on his immeasurable contributions to the St. Petersburg Times, and on wishing Dave and his wonderful family the best as they embark on the road ahead. We’ll find a time and place in the coming weeks to celebrate Dave’s accomplishments, so stay tuned."