Washington Historical Society

Washington Illinois

Chicago Sportswriter Dave van Dyck named 
2014 Washington Roots Award recipient

It’s a homerun! The Washington Historical Society is pleased to name Dave van Dyck, a long-time Chicago sports reporter and specialist, as its 2014 Washington Roots Award recipient. In being named, van Dyck becomes the second to receive this award which honors current and former Washingtonians who are contributing to society around them. The son of Cuy & Marguerite, van Dyck has written for prestigious sports magazines such as The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, and Baseball Digest, and is a retired reporter/specialist from the Chicago Tribune. In September, van Dyck will be traveling to his beloved hometown to partake in the WCHS Homecoming Parade, followed by a reception at the Dement-Zinser Home on September 27.

“I believe Dave van Dyck has made a significant contribution to society in the combined areas of sports and journalism,” said WHS Board President, Bev Riggins, of the announcement. The Washington Roots Award is presented annually to a person who spent at least part of their youth in Washington and has made a significant contribution to the areas of business, arts, science, government, sports or charitable work. Last year saw Dr. David R. Hunt of the Smithsonian Museum named and now van Dyck is being added to the ranks.

As a student of Washington Community High School, van Dyck got his start in sports writing through Washington’s legendary basketball coach, Dick Van Scyoc. A member of Van Scyoc’s team, van Dyck was encouraged by his coach to pursue writing sports articles for the local newspaper, telling him “I think you could be good at it”. And he was!

As a high school student, van Dyck got his writing career going as a sports reporter for the Tazewell Reporter. After graduating from WCHS, van Dyck went on to get his Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Illinois and by the young age of 22, he was working as the Sports Editor for the Champaign News-Gazette. Throughout his career, he’d work for the Rockford Register and the Peoria Journal Star before beginning a thirty-year sports writing career in Chicago working for both the Chicago Sun-Times and later the Chicago Tribune, where he later retired. While in the windy city, van Dyck covered such teams as the White Sox, Cubs, and the Chicago Bulls.

All that work paid off for van Dyck who was twice nominated by the Baseball Writers Association of America for the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the top award in the nation for a sportswriter as recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2008, he was named Sports Writer of the Year by the Pitch and Hit Club, an organization that honors achievement in the baseball. Aside from his honors, he also served ten years as the president of the Chicago Branch of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Dave van Dyck, the 2014 Washington Roots Award recipient, will be honored in September by the Washington Historical Society and can be seen riding in the WCHS Homecoming Parade followed by a reception at the Dement Zinser Home on September 27. The reception is free and open to the general public.
Content by Elyse Nicholson