Longtime sports journalist dies at 63

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Cammille Kammerer
SPORTS EDITOR

The city of Omaha lost a member of the media family Aug. 10, one who was described by his colleagues as a dedicated “work-horse,” a trustworthy professional and an all-around family man, Steve “Piv” Pivovar, 63, lost a hard-fought battle with kidney cancer late in the night Aug. 9. The 45-year veteran of the Omaha World Herald chronicled the Omaha metro sports scene unlike anyone else for over the past four decades and will be remembered for his time dedicated to covering the Men’s College World Series, Creighton University athletics and just about anything else thrown his way.

Pivovar grew up in South Omaha where he was surrounded by the lights and sounds on top of the hill where Rosenblatt Stadium once stood proud.

He went on to cover around 1,700 baseball games at Rosenblatt, between the Omaha Royals and the College World Series. He wrote the book “Diamond on the Hill,” which covered the complete history of Omaha’s historic Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.

In June, the veteran sportswriter would’ve called his 500th CWS game, but was unable to do so. Instead of sitting in the press box at TD Ameritrade Park, Pivovar was in an Omaha hospital watching the games on TV. In honor of the sports-writing professional, the grounds crew wrote “PIV” in the left and right field foul dirt and behind home plate.

Pivovar was the beat writer for Nebraska football in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, where he then began a storied career covering Creighton athletics.

Former Bluejay men’s basketball coach Dana Altman noted in an article with the Omaha World-Herald “In my 36 years of coaching, he by far attended the most practices and spent the most time covering the team. That’s just a tribute to the quality of work he wanted to do.”

Obtaining interviews and putting together stories for the next day’s edition is required by every reporter, but the amount of passion Piv put into his work is what most of his colleagues at the Omaha World-Herald will remember him for.

“He was faster on deadline than any reporter we have,” said Marjie Ducey, Omaha World-Herald copy
editor. “Then in an hour he’d file game notes, too.”

Omaha World-Herald sports editor Thad Livingston mentioned a few stories about Pivovar on a recent edition of the “The Bottom Line” with Mike’l Severe. Livingston talked about Pivovar and how he was known for putting in the extra hours and staying late into the night after already putting in a day’s worth of work just to help see the finished product and assist with the morning paper.

Pivovar’s colleagues mentioned how he was notorious for spending long hours on the road after covering a game, driving into the early morning just to make it back to Omaha, even pulling over one time to sleep in his car, instead of a hotel to “save the company some money.”

Ducey refers to Pivovar as “a great guy with a big personality, sarcastic wit and probably wrote more stories in his time than anyone else in the sports department.”

Pivovar’s storied journalism career blossomed into what it became after he was a writer for the Gateway back in the 1970’s. A lot of positives and all-around good work habits can be learned from Pivovar and passed on to any young journalist who wants to carry those traits on, in his or her own legacy.

Pivovar was a man who loved to work, and he worked hard efficiently. He was always reliable, on deadline and willing to put in the extra hours and see the finished product through. He will be missed not only at the The World Herald and Omaha, but also by sports media members, coaches, and players all across the country.

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