ESPN's corporate layoffs that were reported to be in the hundreds were given a disheartening public face on Wednesday when it was reported by John Koblin that longtime stats guru Howie Schwab was one of the longtime ESPN employees cut loose by the company. Schwab had been with ESPN since 1987 when he started as a freelance researcher. He famously moved in front of the cameras with the trivia show Stump the Schwab and had appeared on air as recently as last month as part of UNITE's Schwab Tournament. Ironically enough, UNITE and its staffers are also reportedly on the ESPN chopping block.
I had a chance to talk to Howie Schwab a couple weeks ago for this profile piece in the lead up to the UNITE final. Schwab was everything you wouldn't expect from his TV persona - soft spoken, genuine, and very complimentary of all the college students that participated and got the chance to visit Bristol. In fact, he noted that his favorite part of the entire experience was the time off the air showing the finalists around the ESPN campus and spending time taking to them about a future career in the business. Most of all, Schwab spoke of his joy of working at ESPN - from stats research, to Stump the Schwab, to his work with Dick Vitale, and even MCing the ESPYs red carpet.
After the news broke, Schwab posted this message to his Facebook page, which received numerous positive comments from in and out of Bristol. If you visit the link, you'll see several recognizable names leaving their condolences and well wishes.no comments