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April 26, 2012

Legendary soccer writer passes away


Former Newark Star-Ledger sports writer Ike Kuhns passed away on Thursday. Kuhns was the recipient of the 2008 Colin Jose Media Award from the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Kuhns served the Northern New Jersey region as a soccer writer from the 1960s, and is perhaps best remembered for his coverage of the North American Soccer League’s Cosmos. His reporting on soccer pre-dates the NASL and included coverage of international soccer at a time when it was virtually unreported in American newspapers.

Kuhns began his reporting career in 1958 as the sports director of the American Forces Korea Network while serving in the U.S. Army. On leave he attended the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo, including an exciting soccer final that sparked his interest in a game about which he knew little. Once out of service and in New York City, he attended the international matches at the Polo Grounds promoted by Bill Cox. These continued to build Ike’s growing interest in soccer. While he started with some smaller New Jersey papers, by the time he joined the Star-Ledger in 1965, it was almost World Cup time and Kuhns covered the tournament.

He retired from the Star-Ledger in 2001 and continued to attend Red Bulls games until last year.

Kuhns was a founding member of the Professional Soccer Reporters Association, the organization's first vice president and later president. He was also a life member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

In addition to soccer, Kuhns served as the Star-Ledger beat writer for the Knicks and Jets for part of his 37-year career. He also was the back-up writer for the Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Devils, and Nets at various times. He covered numerous World Series, Super Bowls, two Ali-Frazier championship fights, Stanley Cup finals, and college football bowl games and college basketball games in the NCAA and NIT tournaments and numerous track and field events, including the Millrose Games and AAU outdoor and indoor championships.

Kuhns was an avid collector of sports memorabilia and at one time his collection included programs from every World Series and Super Bowl.

Kuhns will be remembered at a memorial service at the First Reformed Church on Chapel Hill Road in Lincoln Park, N.J. on May 12 at 11 a.m.

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