Oct. 9, 2006
Vista, CA ---The legendary Owen W. "Bud" Nangle---known as the patriarch of the award-winning Northern Illinois University Office of Sports Information and one of the institution's pioneers instrumental in the Huskies' elevation to major-college status in football and the program's initial affiliation with the Mid-American Conference---has died.
The 87-year-old Nangle passed away Monday afternoon (October 9) at a nursing home in suburban San Diego after suffering a massive stroke on September 13. A memorial service will be held at the St. Francis of Assissi Church in Vista, CA on Thursday (October 12) at 1 p.m. (PT). Intermet will take place at Hillside Cemetery in his Palatine, IL, hometown at a later date.
Nangle is survived by his wife Joyce. The couple had no children.
"This certainly is a sad day for our institution," said Northern Illinois Athletics Director Jim Phillips. "We have lost a true Northern Illinois original and one of our Division I founding fathers. In the short time I have been here, I have heard about Bud Nangle's legacy and his numerous contributions to our intercollegiate athletics program. My thoughts are twofold. We will always be indebted for his invaluable service to the university and our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with his wife Joyce, his family, and his many Huskie friends."
Nangle spent 19 years in two tenures as the sports publicist at Northern Illinois---the first as an undergraduate (1947-49)---and later returned to his alma mater during its formative years as a Division I institution (1967-84). During his five-decade career, Nangle was known as a consummate journalist, who parlayed those skills and national contacts, and developed into one of the most prominent sports information directors in the country.
His acumen with the local, regional, and national media was well-known. Another Huskie legend---former NIU Athletics Director George "Chick" Evans (1929-68)---convinced Nangle to return home in 1967 as the burgeoning Northern Illinois program made its first steps into the major-college ranks. At the time, National Collegiate Athletic Association University Division status (now called Division 1-A) was determined by a national sanctioning committee of the Football Writers Association of America which was chaired by Furman Bisher, the sports editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Nangle knew Bisher and the majority of the media on the committee. On the second presentation with new Athletics Director Bob Brigham in 1969, the Huskie gridiron program was granted the promotion to the University Division.
Earlier in the mid-1960s, Evans had Nangle---then the executive sports editor of the Toledo Blade and Toledo Times---canvass various administrators in the Mid-American Conference about league expansion and the possible inclusion of the Northern Illinois athletics program. Primarily due to the efforts of Brigham and Nangle, NIU gained admittance into the MAC in 1973.
Nangle did, indeed, pioneer many aspects of sports information at Northern Illinois. Not only did he serve as the school's first SID, he produced the the Huskies' first football media guide in 1948. He won the program's first College Sports Information Directors of America national award (best major-college football poster) in 1970, expanded the NIU's Office of Sports Information to include coverage of women's athletics in 1978-79, and edited the program's initial women's recruiting book in 1979. Nangle and Brigham were also involved in establishing the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1978.
In 1974, Nangle authored the CoSIDA Code of Ethics, which is the standard for the profession to this day. He also chaired the prestigious CoSIDA Committee on Committees in 1978-79. Over the years, Nangle has been installed into five Halls of Fame---the media wing of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame (1975), the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame (1991), the CoSIDA Hall of Fame (1993), The Northern Star Alumni Hall of Fame "as a friend to The Star" (2002), and the Palatine High School Athletics Hall of Fame (2003). In addition, he was the recipient of the Scoop Hudgins Lifetime Sports Information Directors Award (1997) and the Jim Murray Outstanding Sports Writer Award (2001) by the All-America Football Foundation.
As a journalist, Nangle worked at the DeKalb Daily Chronicle as sports editor (1948-50), at the Chicago Daily News as a prep sports and major-league baseball beat man (1950-57), plus at the Toledo Blade and Toledo Times (1957-67). During his tenure as a sportswriter, he covered The Masters, the World Series, heavyweight boxing (Muhammad Ali), the NCAA Tournament, the College All-Star Game, the Rose Bowl, Major League Baseball, and the Illinois High School Association Boys' Basketball championships.
His professional affiliations included memberships in CoSIDA, the Baseball Writers Association of America, the FWAA, the U. S. Basketball Writers Association, and the Chicago Press Veterans Association. On the Northern Illinois campus, he mentored a generation of future sportswriters and public relations types that included Gary Watson (USA Today), Ray Gibson (Chicago Tribune), Gene Mustain (Chicago Sun-Times, New York Daily News), Mark Brown (Chicago Sun-Times), Gary Stein (Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel), Rick Cerrone (New York Yankees), Tim Sassone (Daily Herald), Joe Hart (Capital Times), Vince Butler (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), and countless others.
Nangle played basketball (1940-41) and baseball (1941) at Northern Illinois prior to enlisting in the U. S. Navy during World War II (1942-46). A 1949 NIU graduate, he also lettered in basketball, track, and softball at Palatine High School in the late 1930s. Nangle was also a registered IHSA basketball official.
He was married to the former Joyce Walbaum of Arlington Heights, IL, since 1947. He retired from Northern Illinois on August 31, 1984 and moved to Vista in 1986.
(For further information, please contact Mike Korcek, SID Emeritus, at 815-753-9559) -NIU-
Tributes to Hall of Fame Northern Illinois University Sports Information Director Bud Nangle (January 7, 1919-October 9, 2006)
"Bud Nangle was an inspiration to all of us. I cannot think of anyone in college that I learned more from. Bud taught you how to be a professional from day one."
---RICK CERRONE, New York Yankees Director of Public Relations
"In every sense of the word, Bud was a true professional. I was fortunate to know him from his days at the Toledo Blade. As a long-time friend, I was honored to present him for induction into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame. Perhaps the greatest tribute to Bud are the number of highly successful people in the field that he mentored over the years."
---DAVE YOUNG, Miami (OH) University SID Emeritus
"Bud Nangle was the best. As far as SIDs go, I've been fortunate to work with so many great ones in my time. We had a great friendship. Prior to Northern Illinois, I had a few problems with the media at Colorado. We sat down and talked about it. Bud had a great understanding of what was going on. Nobody had a better pulse on the media than he did. For our program, it was imperative that we had positive relationships with the media. And thanks to Bud, we did. The other thing was our Championship Season and going to the bowl in 1983. Bud was so excited---as we all were. It certainly was the appropriate finish for his great Northern Illinois career."
---BILL MALLORY, ex-Northern Illinois Head Football Coach (1980-83)
"Bud Nangle was the consummate SID. I had nothing but the highest regard for him as an SID and as a person. He was a tremendous source of encouragement and professional counsel for me. There's no question that had it not been for Bud, Matt Hicks would have never had the opportunity to participate in the Pizza Hut Classic. Thanks to Bud and the campus community, Matt garnered the largest amount of write-in votes (a record 389,394 in 1977) in the history of the game. It was a great campaign for a deserving player and Bud Nangle pulled it off."
---JOHN McDOUGAL, ex-Northern Illinois Head Men's Basketball Coach (1976-86)
"In any era, Bud would be a true Northern Illinois icon. Few people have stood up and fought for Northern as Bud did. He was instrumental in lifting our football program into University Division status---now called Division 1-A---and elevating our institution into our first affiliation with the Mid-American Conference. In those days, the Football Writers Association of America---as a subcommittee of the NCAA---determined major status. Thanks to his media contacts, Bud knew (chair) Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and all the others. Before coming back to Northern in 1967 and as sports editor of the Toledo Blade, `Chick' (Evans) had Bud put out the initial feelers to the presidents and athletic directors in the Mid-American Conference in regards to the admission of Northern Illinois. Bud was a go-getter and would never take `no' for an answer. I'm proud to say that he was a great long-life friend of mine and NIU."
---BOB BRIGHAM, ex-Northern Illinois Athletics Director / Special Assistant to the President
"Bud brought great professionalism to our institution and set a high standard for sports information. He mentored some of the best sports journalists in the country. Bud loved Northern Illinois and cared deeply about the people associated with the university. It was always so good to see him and to listen to him reminisce about his experienes and the wonderful people that he associated with. He will be missed by all that had the pleasure to know, or know of, him."
---CARY GROTH, ex-Northern Illinois Athletics Director / Nevada Athletics Director
"Bud was a wonderful friend and---I didn't know about this for years---was the guy who convinced `Chick' Evans to hire me. When he was with the Chicago Daily News, Bud covered me in high school. My first high school job was in Maumee, OH, and the head coach had to call in our box scores. Who answers the phone at the Toledo Blade but Bud Nangle? He followed my playing and coaching career at Michigan and thought the Northern Illinois job and I would be a perfect match. Those great years at Northern were extremely rewarding. Bud Nangle's always been my guy."
---TOM JORGENSEN, ex-Northern Illinois Head Men's Basketball Coach (1966-73)
"Bud was the first great SID I worked with after joining the Chicago Sun-Times in 1969. In a way, he was a pioneer in a transitional time when the school was moving up the ranks and the profession was changing. Bud was the ultimate professional, but put the personal touch on everything he did. He was a great friend and a great SID."
---LEN ZIEHM, Chicago Sun-Times sportswriter
"When I broke in at the Chicago Daily News, Bud was covering major-league baseball with Edgar Munzel and Ed Prell. Before that, he was a giant as a prep writer---which is why he is in the media wing of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. As an SID, Bud was perfect for Northern Illinois because he knew our (media) game. He was fair. He played no favorites. He had a different story idea for everyone. One for Jauss, one for Roy Damer, and one for Bob Pille."
---BILL JAUSS, retired Chicago Tribune sportswriter
"Every time I think of Bud, I have a smile on my face. Bud meant so much to all of us. He trained us. He was what we all wanted to be. To him, there were no shortcuts whether you were a college writer or a professional writer. He taught us. `You are a reporter, act like a professional, ask the right questions, and be accurate.' That was the old-school newspaper training. That was Bud."
---GARY STEIN, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel editor
"Bud was always a life lesson type of guy. One night during baseball season, I stayed up all night trying to balance the baseball statistics and file them to the NCAA. I couldn't do it. He came in at 9 a.m. and found me in the office. He was not a happy camper. I thought he was mad because I hadn't gotten the stats done, but Bud was mad because I stayed up all night. He said `don't ever do this again. You are not going to be at your best by staying up all night and that's how errors are made.' Bud believed in the work ethic, but also loved to have fun."
---RAY GIBSON, Chicago Tribune investigative reporter
"I only worked for Bud in the (football) press box for one year and I learned an important lesson: No cheering in the press box. Thank God, I learned it at someone else's expense. For a young sportswriter that's lesson No. 1."
---MARK BROWN, Chicago Sun-Times columnist
All of us who worked for Bud when we were young were so lucky. We learned early on, sometimes having it drummed into us in that gruff tone of his, that accuracy, credibility, fairness and hard work are the foundation of journalism. He could be an intimidating presence, but he deeply cared about us and the profession we had chosen. He taught us to be accountable. He taught us to respect and love the written word. He was the best teacher I ever had. Having Bud's respect and admiration was something I'll always cherish. He didn't have any sons of his own, but there are many of us who consider him a father-like figure in our lives. He was, and always will be, my hero.
---JOE HART, Associate Editor, The Capital Times