How a Brooklyn-born sportswriter became an icon of Ohio sports
He was one of us. Jerry Nardiello was Brooklyn through-and-through.
But he’ll be remembered as an icon of Ohio sports.
He worked as a sportswriter, then as an editor at the Middletown (Ohio) Journal for 61 years.
And he recently passed at the age of 97.
Nardiello served in the Air Force during World War II and graduated from New York University. He sent letters seeking a position in journalism to papers around the country and was hired at the Journal on August 10, 1947. According to published reports, he planned to get experience for six months and then find another job.
It didn’t happen — those six months evolved into 61 years.
Nardiello was the “voice” of Ohio sports, covering the Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Bengals, and Ohio State football and basketball.
And perhaps his first love: Middletown High School — The Middies.
That’s where he joined forces with Jerry Lucas, the former New York Knicks basketball player.
Nardiello covered every game Lucas played in high school and later at The Ohio State University.
That includes Lucas’ 76-game winning streak and back-to-back state high school championships.
As the story gets passed on from year-to-year, it was Nardiello who drove both Lucas — and another Ohio high school standout — John Havlicek — to a high school tournament in Indiana.
This is something almost unheard of today — a sportswriter driving players to an event!
During the ride from Middletown to Indiana, it has been said, both Lucas and Havlicek decided that they would attend The Ohio State University.
“He’s an icon in Middletown,” Lucas told the newspaper.
Lucas promised Nardiello will be mentioned prominently in his soon-to-be-released book, “Middie Magic and Mind Magic.”
Nardiello, a co-founder of the Butler County (Ohio) Sports Hall of Fame, was inducted into the Hall in 1997.
Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host, previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle.
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