Like most high school kids, Dave Krider wasn't a visionary concerning his future.
Back in the 1950s, he rather liked stocking shelves at the local grocery store in his hometown of Elkhart, Ind.
“I wasn’t planning on going to college,” he said. “I was just going to stock shelves for a living.”
But then he stumbled into a writing lab as a senior at Elkhart High and with the help of instructor Dorothy Kelly, Krider found he had a gift.
Combined with his love for sports — particularly basketball and high school sports — and new-found passion for writing, Krider knew for certain, “That I wanted to be a sports writer.”
He pulled a Kurt Warner, ditched the stocking trade, and a half-century later hasn’t looked back.
The now 70-year-old Senior Writer for MaxPreps.com will today be named a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame for his contribution in journalism.
It is the seventh Hall of Fame honor the legendary high school sports writer will be inducted to.
Others include being the first newspaper writer to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame in 1997, the same year he was the first and still only high school writer to be inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame.
Like Warner, a devout Christian, Krider said his life path and vocation was already carved. He just needed to pay attention to the signs — like the ones that led him to lab class and Ms. Kelly.
“Literally, God has handed me every job I’ve ever had and he’s placed me in seven worldly halls of fame,” Krider said. “I never dreamed this would ever happen to me as a person and a writer. It’s very humbling.”
Touched by a basketball
What makes today’s announcement particularly noteworthy is that he is the first writer to earn a Silver Medal – someone other than a player or coach – from the entire northern half of the state.
This award has been presented annually since 1962.
Among the countless player and coaching legends in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame are John Wooden, Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, Bobby Knight and Bobby Plump, who made the game-winning shot for Milan against Muncie Central in the famed “Hoosiers” game.
Being a native Hoosier makes this current induction particularly meaningful to Krider.
“I realized long ago that you can’t grow up in Indiana and not be touched by a basketball,” he said.
Krider remembers watching that Milan-Muncie Central game on television with his family. It’s a big reason his love for the high school game never wavered.
Even after 49 years.
“I always liked being in the trenches of sports and that’s what high school sports is,” Krider said. “I’m still in the trenches.”
While other scribes aspired to climb the college and professional ranks, Krider said “I always wanted to know who the next Oscar Robertson was going to be.”
He is considered a pioneer and trailblazer for national high school sports coverage. Even while writing for local papers, the Elkhart Truth and LaPorte (Ind.) Herald-Argus, he pursued the broader high school stories and personalities.
He was the first outside of New York to write about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) and later wrote breaking pieces on future Hall of Famers like Magic Johnson, Moses Malone and Patrick Ewing, to name just a few.
Hook shots and scoops
Krider was called the “Walter Cronkite of high school basketball,” in a Birmingham (Ala.) Post-Herald story in 1982, which is the same year he was asked to do football and boys basketball rankings for the USA Today, where he eventually caught on full-time in 1994.
By then his name was synonymous with national prep sports and written in stories he penned for The Basketball Times, Street and Smith’s magazine and most recently Sports Illustrated. He was an original member of the advisory committee for the McDonald’s All-American Game.
In all, the author of three books has won or shared 31 awards related to high school sports writing, including the Ray Meyer Award for contributions to Indiana high school basketball in 1980.
Still a resident of LaPorte, Krider said his competitive edge, meticulous nature and love for sports is what have made him a successful journalist. He still plays pickup basketball regularly at the local YMCA and boasts about a “mean hook shot,” and playing tenacious defense on par with Dennis Rodman.
On his 70th birthday in June he played two hours of pick-up ball.
“With the best players in LaPorte,” he boasts. “Then I mowed my lawn.”
He's also paved the way for all high school sports writers who have followed. After almost five decades, those writers are many.
“If I wasn’t a sports writer, sports would have definitely been my hobby,” he said. “If you love to do something you’re going to do a pretty good job.
“As a reporter, I’m pretty aggressive. I’m always looking to get the story and beat the competition. I still want to get the scoop.”
That’s just one of the reasons MaxPreps Founder and President Andy Beal scooped up Krider in 2007. Krider still breaks national news constantly for the national CBS-owned high school website, writes an extensive weekly column and is a major contributor to partner Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” feature.
“Dave has brought MaxPreps so much but particularly experience and knowledge,” MaxPreps Managing Producer and Director of Editorial Content Steve Montoya said. “Having a well-established writer like Dave really helps put a spotlight on the deserving coaches, schools and young men and women who play high school sports.
“We all congratulate Dave on this great honor.”
Here, here. Congratulations Dave. Thanks for paving the way. E-mail Mitch Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org.