Hammel, Bob 1937(?)-
HAMMEL, Bob 1937(?)-
PERSONAL: Born c. 1937, in Huntington, IN; married Julie Sowerwine, 1958; children: Richard, Jane. Education: Attended Indiana University.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Journalist. Sports writer with Huntington Herald-Press, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Peru Tribune, Kokomo Morning Times, and Indianapolis News, all IN, 1954–66; Herald-Telephone (then Bloomington Herald-Times), Bloomington, IN, sports editor, 1966–96.
MEMBER: U.S. Basketball Writers Association (former president), Football Writers Association (former president), National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (former president).
AWARDS, HONORS: Sixteen-time Indiana Sportswriter of the Year, National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; four-time winner of Corky Lamm Award, Indiana Sportswriters; Virgil Sweet Award, 1984; named to U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame, 1990; Curt Gowdy award, National Basketball Hall of Fame, 1995; Silver Medal, Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, 1996; inducted into Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, 1998; Bert McGrane Award, College Football Hall of Fame; Jake Wade Award, College Sports Information Directors of America.
Beyond the Brink with Indiana, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1987.
(With Jim Russo) Super Scout: Thirty-five Years of Major League Scouting, Bonus Books (Chicago, IL), 1992.
A Banner Year at Indiana, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1993.
Hoosiers—Classified: Indiana's Love Affair with One-Class Basketball, Masters Press (Indianapolis, IN), 1997.
(With Kit Klingelhoffer) Glory of Old IU, Indiana University, Sports Pub. (Champaign, IL), 1999.
(With Bob Knight) Knight: My Story, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Editor of Bob Hammel Indiana Basketball (magazine).
ADAPTATIONS: Knight: My Story was adapted as an audiobook, read by Robert Silver, Audio Renaissance, 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Journalist Bob Hammel enjoyed a long career as a sportswriter, much of which was spent informing fans of University of Indiana basketball. Hammel was seventeen years old when he began his career, and he worked for a number of newspapers before settling at the Bloomington Herald-Times (then known as the Herald-Telephone) in 1966, where he remained until his retirement thirty years later.
Hammel has received many awards for his writing and was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1998. On that organization's Web site, a contributor explained that "Hammel, to all who watched him on press row and read his work the next morning in the paper, proved to be an uncommonly gifted wordsmith. He wrote long and he wrote fast. And he wrote awfully well." Hammel covered the Indiana football team's only Rose Bowl appearance in 1968, and was in Munich, Germany for the 1972 Olympic Games, during which Indiana native Mark Spitz won seven gold medals in the swimming events. Hammel's last assignment was the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Georgia.
Hammel's first book-length tribute to Indiana University basketball, Beyond the Brink with Indiana, chronicles the team's 1987 championship season. He also joined coauthor Jim Russo for Super Scout: Thirty-five Years of Major League Scouting, an account of Russo's years with the St. Louis Browns and the Baltimore Orioles, and his discovery of Boog Powell, Dave Johnson, Jim Palmer, and other players who went on to become legends in their own right.
In 1976 Hammel was assigned to cover the then thirty-five-year-old Bob Knight's leadership of the Indiana basketball team as the team rose to the national championship. Although Knight would repeat this performance in 1981 and 1987, he proved himself to be a controversial coach, and due to anger-management issues he moved to Texas Tech after being fired from Indiana in 2000 over an alleged "choking" incident. Over the three decades they worked in college sports, Hammel and Knight developed a good relationship, and Hammel was allowed access to Knight when other sportswriters were not. As Dave Kindred noted in Sporting News Online, "the men have been newsmaker and journalist, coauthors, friends. That's a balancing act beyond the reach of most ink-stained wretches. Hammel has done it with such skill, grace and common decency that their friendship profits the coach more than the sportswriter."
Because of their long friendship, when Knight was ready to write his memoir, he called on Hammel, and the result is Knight: My Story. Despite his volatility, Knight, whose players had a high graduation rate, has remained a hero to fans as well as to many of the young athletes whose lives and careers he touched. In his book he discusses his childhood, his own years of playing basketball in high school and college, and the years he coached Army. Knight contends that his firing was the result of the personal agenda of Myles Brand, president of the school, and the complicity of the media. Reviewing Knight: My Story, Library Journal contributor John Maxymuk wrote that "the text is a lively read flavored with scores of anecdotes," while a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that "college hoops fans can learn more about the game from this book than from most instructional guides."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 1987, Wes Lukowsky, review of Beyond the Brink with Indiana, p. 20; April 15, 1992, Wes Lukowsky, review of Super Scout: Thirty-five Years of Major League Scouting, p. 1495.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2002, review of Knight: My Story, p. 87.
Library Journal, February 15, 2002, John Maxymuk, review of Knight, p. 152.
Publishers Weekly, February 18, 2002, review of Knight, p. 22.
Sports Illustrated, April 1, 2002, Charles Hirshberg, review of Knight, p. R6.
USA Today, March 13, 2002, Carol Herwig, review of Knight, p. C3.
Wall Street Journal, Erich Eichman, review of Knight, p. A18.
Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame Web site, http://www.depauw.edu/library/archives/ijhof/ (June 7, 2005), "Bob Hammel."
Sporting News Online, http://tsn.com/ (March 11, 2002), Dave Kindred, "The Brighter Side of Knight."