Retired Wheeling sportswriter Bedway dies at 81 | News, Sports, Jobs

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about Nick Bedway as a husband, father, sportswriter, Ohio Valley youth promoter, or just a man, he’s a hall of famer in every category.

He left a lasting impact on sports fans and athletes throughout the Ohio Valley, on both sides of the Ohio River, through a 45-year career with The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register.

Bedway, 81, died Saturday at Wheeling Hospital.

He joined the Wheeling News-Register staff in 1960 as a copyist and joined The Intelligencer staff as a sportswriter later that year.

In 1967 Bedway joined the News-Register staff and was promoted to Associate Sports Editor in 1971. He became News-Register Sports Editor in 1995 and eventually took over as Executive Sports Editor, overseeing both newspapers in 2000.

G. Ogden Nutting, publisher of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, worked with Bedway throughout his newspaper career. He said Bedway prides itself on covering local events and local athletes in both its sports stories and its “Nick’s Notebook” column, and that he has shown the utmost respect to everyone he has written about over the decades.

“The main focus of Nick Bedway and the newspapers when he oversaw them was local athletes, local coaches, local officials”, Nutting said. “From elementary school football to athletes at our local colleges, Nick felt it was important to recognize their accomplishments. Regardless of playing level, they were his local kids and he loved writing and telling the local community about all the special things they were doing.

Nutting said Bedway, who followed Bill Van Horne as head of the Wheeling Newspapers sports staff, earned and retained the trust of the community through his reporting and knowledge of local athletes. Bedway’s focus on showcasing local athletes in all sports has been hard to replace.

“We all read and enjoyed Nick’s stories, interviews and columns until one day the scores were in, and your team won or lost, but something else was missing…the special touch and relevance. It was Nick, and he will be missed. Nutting said.

Don Clegg, who is currently director of sports information at West Liberty University, took over as sports editor of Bedway’s retired newspapers. The two worked together for 22 years and formed a relationship that went far beyond just being colleagues.

“With the passing of Nick Bedway, our valley has lost one of the last true giants in the field and I have lost one of my oldest and dearest friends,” said Clegg. “Nick has spent nearly half a century covering the sports world of the Ohio Valley. No one has loved their work more than Nick and no one has done it better. Working together for decades at NR , we shared many great memories on the sidelines, but it was the personal moments, inside and outside the newsroom, that touched me and my family on those saddest days. Nick was a brave and loyal friend to all.

When Bedway joined the News-Register team, the position was opened up to Doug Huff. Huff, who retired from full-time work in 2011 and for decades served as sports editor for The Intelligencer, said Bedway had touched nearly every athlete in the Ohio Valley and every sport over the course of his long career.

“Nick’s fingerprints were on a lot of different things because he was such a versatile writer,” Huff said.

The number of coaches and athletes Bedway has met and/or touched during his tenure is far too countless to attempt to name, Huff said.

During his career, Bedway wrote the weekly “Nick’s Notebook” column, which was awaited by readers on both sides of the river.

Bedway wasn’t just a sportswriter who wrote about football or basketball. He was passionate and a supporter of all sports, male and female.

“He has written columns on many different topics, including high school sports, an area college column, golf, bowling, and other specialty areas that Bill (Van Horne) and myself did. ‘have not done’, Huff said. “Nick’s name will not be forgotten by people in the sports fraternity here for a long, long time.”

Bubba Kapral, also a retired executive sportswriter for newspapers, grew up reading Bedway’s work, and then the two had the opportunity to work together.

“Nick has been an invaluable mentor to me while becoming a cherished friend,” Kapral said. “Nick is the author of a career as a Hall of Fame sportswriter. His passionate, insightful and in-depth coverage of local sports was legendary.

“Nick was also a people person. I never heard anyone say a negative word about him. It’s safe to say Nick is on Mount Rushmore Sports Editors of the Ohio Valley with Cal Pokas, Bill Van Horne and Doug Huff.

Bedway graduated in 1958 from Wheeling Central Catholic High School. He received the Maroon Knights Distinguished Service Award in 2020 from the Wheeling Central Hall of Fame.

“I had the greatest respect for Nick, not just as a writer, but as a person,” Mike Young, Wheeling Central’s current football coach. “His honesty, integrity and respect for coaches will forever be etched in my memory. He is a true member of the CCHS Hall of Fame.

Bedway was inducted into the prestigious Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 2007. His work with OVAC essentially began when he was hired at the newspaper.

He was co-director of publicity for the OVAC All-Star Football Game from 1972 to 1990 and served as a conference ranking statistician in football, boys’ and girls’ basketball and baseball for more than 25 years. In 1999, OVAC dedicated its media guide to Bedway.

“During my tenure with OVAC, you could always count on Nick being there at events,” said former OVAC chief executive Tom Rataiczak. “He didn’t always agree with you, but he always listened and was always fair. His legacy as one of the Ohio Valley’s top sportswriters is sure, but it won’t be the same not seeing him at events.

No matter what level the region’s athletes or coaches were at during their careers, Bedway made it a point to follow them even after they left the Ohio Valley.

Doug Wojcik, who is currently an assistant basketball coach at Michigan State University, met Bedway when he was a standout athlete at Wheeling Central, but their relationship extended far beyond his time with the Maroon Knights.

“I practically remember Nick throughout my high school career and then through the Naval Academy in my coaching career,” said Wojcik. “Whether it was the 1979 state championship football game or the first CCHS basketball team to beat Park in the 1982 state championship, I feel like Nick was part of it all. Nick continued to cover me as my Navy career progressed, always including updates in the newspaper and interviewing me when I was home for vacation. When I think of Nick, I think of our dad and the relationship he and Nick had back in high school.

Dave Wojcik, a former standout Wheeling Central player who went on to a highly successful coaching career with the Knights and then at the college level before returning to the Ohio Valley to coach at the Linsly School, said he was always grateful for the coverage Bedway gave. him and his brother.

“Nick was a good man and he really took my brother and me under his wing at the time,” said Dave Wojcik. “He always followed our careers and wanted to know what we were doing. He really cared. Nick wrote in a firm but also positive manner. He was straight to the point and said things the way they were meant to be said. I really enjoyed when we saw each other at games and in different places when we didn’t expect to see each other because we would have the opportunity to learn about what was happening in our worlds.

Bedway’s passion for Ohio Valley sports extended far beyond the prep scene. Whether it’s the Wheeling Thunderbirds and Nailers, American Legion baseball, the Ohio Valley Golf Association, the Wheeling Area Soccer Association or even the Allegheny Mountain District US Tennis Association, Bedway has done its best to draw attention to the organizations and people involved.

Former Wheeling Recreation Department Director Tom Bechtel recalled times when he would stop by the newspaper office with information about activities and events around town and end up staying much longer than intended.

“Nick was one of the last of a dying breed”, said Bechtel. “He’s one of the Cal Pokas and Bill Van Horne types in the newspaper industry who have written great stories about athletes who have played football. These gentlemen had such (memories) of the history of the sport in the valley that they border on unbelievable. I was always entertained by Nick and these guys when I visited their office. Nick will be truly missed.

Bedway is a member of the Wheeling Hockey Hall of Fame and also the Ogden Newspapers 20K Classic Hall of Fame in 2006. He was twice an honorary referee for the West Virginia Super Six Class AA State Championship football game at Wheeling Island Stadium.

According to WesBanco Arena executive director Denny Magruder, Bedway didn’t just report on sports. He played them too. Magruder and Bedway were teammates on a newspaper-sponsored softball team in which Bedway was the pitcher.

“Nick was a very dear friend” said Magruder. “I worked with him at the newspaper over 50 years ago and our friendship has continued over the years. He was always ready and willing to cover the arena’s many sporting events – everything from Nailers to indoor football to monster trucks, high school sports, the Globetrotters or the Toughman. I will miss him a lot!”

Nick is survived by his wife of 60 years, Judy, and his children Rachel, Becky and Trey. He was predeceased by a daughter, Michelle. He was the grandfather of five children and great-grandfather of one.

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