First Reformed Church of Lincoln Park
60 Chapel Hill Road
Lincoln Park, NJ 07035
Fax: 973.694.7654 Contact Via Email
Memorial Service for Ike Kuhns
Ike Kuhns, a member of FRCLP since 1991 passed away this week. He served on various committees and the Consisory as both deacon and elder from 2003 to 2008. There will be a memorial service on Saturday, May 12th at 1:00 pm.
Ike Kuhns covered every sport with passion
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012, 2:26 AM Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012, 2:28 AM
Years ago, as its circulation boomed, The Star-Ledger boasted encyclopedic sports coverage — a nationally recognized section as thick as a phone book, with unequaled daily coverage of every pro and college team within driving distance, and more.
You name ’em, The Star-Ledger covered ’em, home and away — the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Devils, plus every New Jersey college, big and small, and hundreds of high schools.
Olympic Games? Title bouts? Pro soccer? The newspaper covered those, too. Horse racing at its zenith? You bet. Major golf and tennis tournaments? Of course. Wrestlemania? Oh, yeah. Star-Ledger reporters traveled the world to bring the biggest stories to the world’s smartest sports fans.
And that list of teams and events has this in common: Ivan “Ike” Kuhns covered nearly all of them.
For more than 30 years, Kuhns was one of the most versatile and prolific reporters in the busiest and most competitive sports reporting market in the world.
The man known to colleagues as “UP-Ike” — a tribute to the sports knowledge and versatility that rivaled United Press International, a major wire service of his day — died yesterday after a short illness, taking an era with him. Kuhns, who joined the newspaper in 1965 and retired in 2001, was 76.
“He did everything,” said Moss Klein, a longtime Yankees beat writer and editor for The Star-Ledger. “He was knowledgeable about every beat, and that wasn’t easy in an area with so many teams. We covered them all, and Ike covered them all.
“You could send him to any event and he’d deliver the story.”
How did Kuhns know so much? That’s simple. For him, sportswriting was more than a paycheck, because sports were his passion.
He often attended games when he wasn’t working, diligently keeping scores and statistics in the press box, and he cherished a vast memorabilia collection that included highly coveted Super Bowl programs, and World Series programs (for both teams) stretching back into the 1920s.
Kuhns’ collection included a cardboard scorecard from the first World Series game — Oct. 1, 1903, between the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates.
As a fan, Kuhns attended at least one Yankees home game every year since 1947 (except for a year he served in Korea) — a streak he continued in retirement. Until his death, he remained a fixture at Red Bulls soccer games.
Born in Narberth, Pa., in 1935, and raised in Shrewsbury, Kuhns graduated from Red Bank High School. After graduating from Syracuse University, he started on his path to sportswriting in 1958 when, while serving in the U.S. Army, he became sports director for the American Force Korea Network. His love for soccer blossomed when he wrote about international matches for the network.
He covered the 1966 World Cup, later becoming the beat writer for the glamorous Cosmos when soccer reached its American peak in the 1970s. Like he was Norm entering “Cheers,” legends Pele and Giorgio Chinaglia would shout his name when they saw him in the locker room.
In 2008, he was the recipient of the Colin Jose Media Award, given to journalists whose soccer coverage is deemed “exceptional.”
“Ike’s first love was always soccer,” said Hank Gola, a sports writer for the New York Daily News and a lifelong friend. “When the Cosmos were drawing 80,000, Ike was one of the main beat guys. He probably knew as much about international soccer as anyone.”
Kuhns took European vacations to hopskotch the continent, visiting obscure soccer stadiums and lower-division clubs. (During those trips, he also saw many plays before they reached Broadway, and he’d give his review to friends long before renowned critics could.) He was the founding member of the Professional Soccer Reporters Association, serving as president and vice president.
Kuhns wrote about big events with coolness and clarity. As the Jets beat writer, he covered the most famous football game of all time — the Jets’ historic 16-7 victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in January 1969. That shocking triumph changed American sports by leading to a merger between the AFL and NFL.
During his four decades with The Star-Ledger, Kuhns wrote about legends — from Mickey Mantle to Pele to Jack Nicklaus to Michael Jordan — and all of the mere mortals in between. And when he wasn’t writing, he was working on the copy desk, improving others’ work.
“He got along with everyone,” former Star-Ledger editor Rich Guenther said. “He was one of the most gentle souls in the business — a guy with a love of sports and theater.”
An old-school reporter, Kuhns bemoaned superstars who didn’t run out ground balls, pitchers who couldn’t throw strikes, and wide receivers who would drop passes at critical times, then obnoxiously celebrate a meaningless touchdown.
In an age when many sportswriters blew their own horns, Kuhns was quietly content that he knew as much as the writer sitting next to him in the press box. Or maybe more.
On the day of Super Bowl III, The Star-Ledger published Kuhns’ forecast for the game. While the Colts were seen as unbeatable, he mocked the 18-point spread and predicted a Jets upset.
Kuhns will be remembered at a memorial service May 12 at 1 p.m. at the First Reformed Church on Chapel Hill Road in Lincoln Park.
GOODBYE, IKE Legendary soccer writer passes away
Former Newark Star-Ledger sports writer Ike Kuhns passed away on Thursday. Kuhns was the recipient of the 2008 Colin Jose Media Award from the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Kuhns served the Northern New Jersey region as a soccer writer from the 1960s, and is perhaps best remembered for his coverage of the North American Soccer League’s Cosmos. His reporting on soccer pre-dates the NASL and included coverage of international soccer at a time when it was virtually unreported in American newspapers.
Kuhns began his reporting career in 1958 as the sports director of the American Forces Korea Network while serving in the U.S. Army. On leave he attended the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo, including an exciting soccer final that sparked his interest in a game about which he knew little. Once out of service and in New York City, he attended the international matches at the Polo Grounds promoted by Bill Cox. These continued to build Ike’s growing interest in soccer. While he started with some smaller New Jersey papers, by the time he joined the Star-Ledger in 1965, it was almost World Cup time and Kuhns covered the tournament.
He retired from the Star-Ledger in 2001 and continued to attend Red Bulls games until last year.
Kuhns was a founding member of the Professional Soccer Reporters Association, the organization's first vice president and later president. He was also a life member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
In addition to soccer, Kuhns served as the Star-Ledger beat writer for the Knicks and Jets for part of his 37-year career. He also was the back-up writer for the Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Devils, and Nets at various times. He covered numerous World Series, Super Bowls, two Ali-Frazier championship fights, Stanley Cup finals, and college football bowl games and college basketball games in the NCAA and NIT tournaments and numerous track and field events, including the Millrose Games and AAU outdoor and indoor championships.
Kuhns was an avid collector of sports memorabilia and at one time his collection included programs from every World Series and Super Bowl.