Bob Frisk may have retired from the Daily Herald after more than 50 years of reporting on and writing about high school sports, but his legacy lives on.
Frisk, the former assistant managing editor/sports for the Daily Herald has been selected as one of the inaugural recipients of the Illinois High School Association's Distinguished Media Service Award.
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The 2013 honorees include sports writer Tony Baranek of the SouthtownStar in Tinley Park, the iconic voice of high school sports in West Frankfort Bruce Fasol, and recently retired radio announcer Lanny Slevin of WLPO in LaSalle.
In announcing the award winners Tuesday morning, the IHSA noted that Frisk's junior high yearbook lists his life ambition as becoming a sports writer. He made the first step toward achieving that dream when he became the sports editor for the high school newspaper and yearbook while at Arlington High School in Arlington Heights.
As a high school student, he was also hired by the local newspaper, the Daily Herald, which started a 56-year career at the paper that was interrupted only to attend the University of Illinois, where he covered high school sports for the Daily Illini and Champaign-Urbana Courier during his four years on campus.
Frisk's efforts have produced a litany of awards and honors, including IBCA Hall of Fame induction, as well as Hall of Fame enshrinement from three local high schools. It was his idea in a column that helped create the IHSA's Pack the Place nights around the state.
Frisk, who still enjoys roaming the sidelines or grabbing a seat in the stands at a local football or basketball game, retired in 2008 and surmises his love of high school sports with simplicity by saying, "sports at this level are still refreshing. I love watching kids compete."
"There's nothing that could mean more to me than being recognized for my passion for high school sports and a longtime commitment to helping make the Herald a respected leader in local sports coverage," Frisk said Tuesday morning. "Even at age 77, I'd much rather watch a high school event than college or professional. The kids and coaches and high school atmosphere help keep me young."
The presentation of Frisk's award is tentatively set for halftime of the Hersey-Prospect boys basketball game at Prospect Feb. 1, 2014.
The Distinguished Media Service Award was created based on a recommendation from the IHSA Media Advisory Committee and seeks to recognize media members who have covered high school sports and activities in Illinois for a significant period of time, while maintaining perspective on the amateur events they report on.
" These are four legendary figures in their areas of the state," said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. "I have been privileged to work with or know all four during my career at the IHSA and have seen firsthand how much they mean to the schools and communities they serve. I am not sure there could have been a more exemplary inaugural class for this award."
IHSA member schools submitted nominations for the award. The IHSA's media advisory committee, and a veteran's committee of retired media members that included former IHSA administrator Jim Flynn, then voted on each nominee. Those who received the required percentage of votes were named honorees. Each winner will be honored at a high school event of their choosing during the 2013-14 school year.
"One of the important parts of this award is the recognition within the community," said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha. "We believe it will be very rewarding to have the award presentation occur in front of the students, coaches and communities they have impacted through their exceptional work."