Longtime Lions Reporter Tom Kowalski Passes Away At 51
Longtime Lions reporter TOM KOWALSKI passed away yesterday morning at the age of 51, according to the GRAND RAPIDS PRESS. Kowalski, who had covered the Lions for Booth Newspapers since '97 and more recently contributed to Mlive.com, was "found unresponsive at his home." Kowalski "started his Lions reporting at the Oakland Press." He filed his last story yesterday before his death (MLIVE.com, 8/29). Lions President TOM LEWAND said, "Tom was a true professional, a consummate beat writer, somebody who brought a lot of tremendous information to our fans. Even in times of disagreement, we always had the utmost respect for his professionalism" (FREEP.com, 8/29). YAHOO SPORTS' Doug Farrar noted when Lions coach JIM SCHWARTZ "started his Monday post-practice press conference, he requested that the first question go unasked, and a moment of silence be observed," in memory of Kowalski. Schwartz said, "I'll just say this about Tom -- the one thing he always tried to do was get it right. He knew football and he always wanted to get it right and we had a lot of respect for that. I think what we'll do is let the first question go unasked today and when we're ready we'll go second question" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/29).
REMEMBERING A PROFESSIONAL: In Detroit, Michael Rosenberg writes, "It is impossible to imagine covering the Lions without him. ... He was an overwhelming presence in the media room, news conferences and the locker room" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/30). In Grand Rapids, Greg Johnson writes, "You could work with him, and trust him to do his job. He was like a great teammate from back in my athletic days. You lined up next to him and you knew he would do his part" (GRAND RAPIDS PRESS, 8/30). NFL writers from around the country tweeted their thoughts on Kowalski. SI's Peter King wrote, "Tom Kowalski, one heck of a beat man covering the Lions, dead at 51. He covered the team aggressively, with a conscience. What a loss." Detroit News' Bob Wojnowski: "Tom Kowalski was full of life, a joy to spar with and a helluva reporter. I can't believe Killer is gone. Heartbreaking beyond words." Fox Sports' Jon Morosi: "Heartsick over the death of Tom Kowalski at 51. Terrific reporter, always encouraging to others, a pleasure to be around. Really sad news." ESPN's Kevin Seifert: "Few, if any, sportswriters had such a personal connection with fans/readers." Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Tom Kowalski. He was a wonderful friend and human being. I will miss him immensely." Detroit News' John Niyo: "Pretty sure today's the first time I've cried at work. Tom Kowalski would've never let me hear the end of that. He is already missed."