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Sports news, kids, camp, golf tournament share big-hearted Lowell Hickey
By Pam Russo
Sign-up for the Greater Hayward Area and Park District Foundation's annual golf tournament
-- Many sports fans in the East Bay in the late sixties through the early eighties may remember immediately turning to the sports section of their morning paper to see what Lowell Hickey had to say about the world of sports that day. Hickey’s interesting and informative approach to sports news commentary gained him a huge following and made him a local celebrity.
What many may not know is what an interesting life Hickey had before and after his time writing locally.
Hickey knew that if he could not play professional baseball, he would write about it. After earning his journalism degree from UC Berkeley, Hickey served in the Navy touring Vietnam before he accepted his first professional reporting job with the Livermore Herald Daily in 1966. When a position with the Daily Review’s sports department became available, he began his 18-year tenure that ended in 1984.
Lowell describes himself as blessed to have been the paper’s Sports Editor “during the hay-day of sports.” In this dynamic era, the Raiders had two Super Bowls under their belt and the Oakland A’s were in their fifth year of championships. “I mean, how lucky can you get?” laughs Hickey.
Back in the day, his assignments and co-workers were both creative and had lots of autonomy. Lowell loved to write, frequently doubling back to cover a high school game or another professional sporting event. After meeting stringent press deadlines, Hickey and his team would often slip across the street to a local watering hole just to wait and see their “finished product” in print.
“When I wrote, I tried to ask what the reader would be interested in. I was a succinct writer. Space is precious,” shares Hickey. And what writing style he had.
Not only could Hickey recount (in print?) the scores and drama of a game, the personal relationships he established made him a success. One such story resulted not long after Reggie Jackson donned a New York Yankees uniform, after being traded from Oakland A’s. Jackson confided in Lowell that since leaving Oakland, baseball would never be the same for him. He touched Lowell’s arm saying, “I wouldn’t tell that to the national press because they’d blow it out of proportion. You write for a hometown newspaper. You know what it means to feel loyalty to a town.”
At age 41, after his last assignment covering the 1984 Olympics, Hickey left the Daily Review and began a new career in advertising and public relations. Hickey fondly remembers Clyde Schmidt who drew the “Prep of the Week,” including a sketch of Lowell before he left the paper.
On a personal level, Hickey’s favorite things are his family and “anything Cal Berkeley.” In fact when asked whom he would rather interview, Arnold Palmer or Tiger Woods, Lowell quickly selects Palmer. “Come on, Tiger’s a Stanford Guy!”
Living in Castro Valley, Lowell now spends his time giving back to the community and playing a round or two of golf. In fact, for the third year, Lowell is chairing the Greater Hayward Area Recreation & Park Foundation’s Golf Tournament (GHARPF) on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at Skywest Golf Course in Hayward. He is proud that proceeds of the tournament support scholarships for camp for underprivileged children.
In addition to his volunteer work with the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, Lowell also is a member of the Castro Valley Sports Foundation. Lowell also leads weekly sing-alongs and plays the piano at convalescent homes and admits a favorite being “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
It is hard to find anything but good when talking to this humble, accomplished man but when asked if he had any naysayers during his sports editing career, he replies, “Critics? Sure I had some and sometimes they were right! It goes with the territory but, all in all, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
For more information about the GHARPF or to sign up for the Golf Tournament, call (510) 881-6731.