By Heather Dinich, ESPN.com
2020 FWAA First Vice-President
DALLAS — Edward Aschoff was always easy to spot in a press box — not just because of his dapper suit, his unique socks or trademark lapel pin — but also because of his infectious smile, his laugh and his pure love for whatever assignment he was working on.
Aschoff, a beloved ESPN college football reporter, died on Christmas Eve — his 34th birthday — from previously undetected Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his lungs. He was a bright light in our industry, one the FWAA hopes to honor through an annual Edward Aschoff Rising Star Award.
Each year, the FWAA will recognize one promising journalist no older than 34, who has not only the talent and work ethic it takes to succeed in this business, but also the passion to make it better. Aschoff, a 2008 graduate of the University of Florida, loved people, and even as his career at ESPN escalated, he still guided and befriended younger journalists along the way.
“He was someone I always looked forward to seeing when our paths crossed in a random SEC press box or elsewhere, someone who always encouraged me as a younger journalist trying to navigate my way through this business and life, someone I always admired — both for his work and his zest for life — and someone I could always count on for a laugh,” said Tom Green, who was a student at Florida when he met Aschoff in 2010 and is now the Auburn beat reporter for AL.com/Alabama Media Group. “I’ll always be grateful for his friendship, his advice and his respect, because I know I’m better for having known Ed. We all are.”
Aschoff moved to Los Angeles in 2017 to begin a more expanded national role that included television coverage. Over the past three seasons, he reported from campuses across the country for ESPN.com, SportsCenter, SEC Network and ESPN Radio, and he worked as a television and radio sideline reporter during college football games.
Jordan McPherson, a student reporter at Florida from 2013 to 2017 who is now covering the Miami Marlins for the Miami Herald, said Aschoff helped him on several occasions.
“He was a pro’s pro and touched my life with just a few brief interactions that he didn’t have to make,” McPherson said. “His positivity was infectious, his ability to mentor through simple conversation was second to none. He will be missed, but always be remembered.”
Ted Spiker, chair of the department of journalism at the University of Florida who taught Aschoff in several classes, said Aschoff “was one of our stars — not just because he was so talented as a journalist and storyteller, but also because of everything he did to help people around him. He always had a good word of advice for young journalists, he was always willing to give back, and he always made people smile.”
Last month, the university’s College of Journalism and Communications established the Edward Aschoff Memorial Fund, which will provide support for students involved in sports journalism.
Aschoff inspired us through his storytelling, brightened our lives with his gregarious personality and uplifted our spirits with his energy. The FWAA hopes to honor his memory and his commitment to aspiring journalists with this award.
“Edward epitomized everything you want in a sports journalist: He knew how to build relationships, to gain trust, to break stories but also to tell stories,” said ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson. “And he did it all with a flair that made you want to watch his television pieces or read his written stories right away. His dogged determination and relentless work ethic allowed him to rise to the top at ESPN, and all his exemplary qualities serve as a model for young journalists everywhere about what truly can be achieved if you go after what you want.”
To submit nominations for this award, please send a paragraph or two about the nominee, including why you are nominating him or her, and three links to samples of work to Heather Dinich at email@example.com . Please include your name, job title, and a phone number. A panel of FWAA members will choose the winner. Entries should be submitted by June 1.