Veteran NJ sportswriter JP Pelzman dies at 57

Veteran sportswriter JP Pelzman has died aged 57.

In his more than 35 years as a journalist, he has worked for Newsday, The Record, Asbury Park Press, Forbes and Rivals. He covered many beats, including the Jets, Mets, Rutgers, Seton Hall and his alma mater Hofstra.

Pelzman, a resident of Lynbrook, NY, graduated from Hofstra in 1986. He worked for the Ocean County Observer after college before joining Newsday and then The Record in Hackensack.

Dan Sforza, Editor of The Record, said: “JP was a staple in The Record newsroom. He was dedicated and passionate about his job and a great colleague. His loss will be felt by many.

Local Record sportswriter Greg Mattura, who went to school with Pelzman, recalled how a group from the college newspaper all went on to work for The Record: “I got such a thrill that five of we from Hofstra all continued to work together. He was the first of five after graduation to get a job as a sportswriter. It hurts that someone you worked with on the college paper and then had the pleasure of working with as a professional died too young.

Art Stapleton, journalist for The Record’s Giants, said: “He was a longtime teammate here at The Record. Covered my first two NFL playoff games as part of our team with JP when the Jets made their 2010 run through New England to Pittsburgh. He was one of those characters you never forget, and a presence in the press whose impressions of Mike Francesa would never fail to bring laughs and smiles. I’ll never forget the first time I used #BackAfterDis in a tweet to JP, and it was like I gave him a million dollars.

“More than anything, he loved his college hoops and let nothing get in the way of his cover of Seton Hall. It was his passion. Rest assured my friend. You left a great impression and you will be missed.

Dave Rivera, regional sports editor for USA Today Network’s Atlantic Group, worked with Pelzman for many years at The Record.

“From an editor’s perspective, JP was everything you’d expect from a journalist. He worked so hard every day to find the most interesting stories to tell, and he wrote with such passion, often with a charming wit, that reading his stories was so enjoyable. He was always willing and eager to cover anything we asked of him,” Rivera said.

“But from a personal perspective, JP was so much more. He was friendly – all the staff loved him. He was genuine, always asking me about my family. And he was true to his word. I respected everything about him throughout our many years together. I will truly miss him.

As former Record sports editor John Balkun noted, Pelzman’s life away from work and his job are intertwined.

“JP was the real deal, the same in person as he was on paper. Sport was his life and on his days off he would often show up to events as there was nowhere he would rather be. A top reporter, whether he was covering baseball, football or Seton Hall basketball, JP was an authority on all sports who wrote with an expert touch while always finding a way to entertain, often in a hilarious way. .

“When JP stopped by the office, it was more or less the same,” Balkun said. “We talked endlessly about all things sports and the laughs never failed. I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a great colleague and friend.”

Sportswriters who worked alongside Pelzman have taken to social media to remember him, especially how helpful he was to young journalists.

Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post tweeted, “Sometimes sportswriters forget, but JP had a way of reminding us all that we’re lucky to have the jobs we wanted when we were kids. Constant laughter. Encyclopedic knowledge. High integrity. And the first to blur the lines of competition and help a young journalist or compliment a rival.

Record sportswriter Chris Iseman tweeted: “I had the good fortune to work with JP for several years at The Record, and he was always very willing to help and offer advice or encouragement. A journalist and a wonderful person.

“JP was such a great guy and a pro of a sportswriter. It was a privilege to spend many nights with him on the court and in the press room covering Seton Hall basketball,” tweeted Asbury Park sportswriter Jerry Carino.

An “incredible storyteller and class act,” tweeted broadcaster John Fanta of Pelzman. “JP had a great passion for college basketball. He gave me invaluable advice when I was in college, and I’m grateful to call him a friend.

Sportswriter Tyler Calvaruso tweeted: “One of the nicest journalists I’ve ever worked with. He always made me feel welcome when I got on the Seton Hall beat. May he rest in peace.”

Newsday’s Neil Best tweeted: “One of the most memorable characters I’ve met in my sportswriting journey, JP was a colleague decades ago and a friend until the end.”

Pelzman even left a lasting impression on the teams he covered.

Seton Hall Men’s Basketball tweeted: “Our hearts go out to the loved ones of JP Pelzman who covered our program for 20 years. He will be greatly missed. New Seton Hall men’s basketball coach and former star player Shaheen Holloway tweeted “RIP JP”

The New York Jets communications department tweeted, “Throughout his years covering the Jets for The Record, he has been kind and caring in his interactions. JP was a good man, passionate about journalism and local sports. We will miss him.”

Carino recalls Pelzman being one of the first to cover for legendary Villanova coach Jay Wright when he was on Hofstra’s men’s basketball team.

“At Newsday, JP was one of the first to cover Jay Wright. Later, before every SHU-Nova game ended, Jay walked over to the press table to say hi,” Carino tweeted. “When Nova won the 2016 NCAA, Jay called him days later for an interview – 15 years after JP left Hofstra’s beat. Respect.”

Pelzman’s death was confirmed by the Lynbrook Police Department, however, no information was available on the cause of death. There will be a memorial service on Saturday, July 23 beginning at 10:30 a.m. at St. Raymond’s Church, 263 Atlantic Ave., East Rockaway, NY

Bob Jordan of Asbury Park Press contributed to this article.