J.P. Pelzman, the sports writer who worked for Newsday, The Record, Asbury Park Press, Forbes and Rivals, has died. He was 57.
The Lynbrook police department confirmed Pelzman's death Thursday. There was no information available about a cause of death.
Pelzman covered many beats, including the Jets, Mets, Rutgers, Seton Hall and his alma mater, Hofstra.
A Lynbrook resident, Pelzman graduated from Hofstra in 1986. He worked for the Ocean County Observer after college before spending nearly a decade at Newsday, where he covered mostly high school and college sports, including the Hofstra football beat from 1992 to 1996.
Dave Rivera, USA Today Network’s Atlantic Group regional sports editor, worked with Pelzman for many years at The Record.
“From an editor’s standpoint, J.P. was everything you wanted in a reporter," Rivera said. "He worked so hard every day to find the most interesting stories to tell, and he wrote with such passion, often with a charming wit, that made reading his stories so enjoyable. He was always willing and eager to cover everything we asked of him.”
Pelzman loved covering college basketball. Early in his career, he handled the Hofstra beat for Newsday and got to know its young coach, Jay Wright, before he went to Villanova. When the Wildcats played Seton Hall in Big East games, Wright always stopped by to say hello to him.
"JP was a pro's pro," Wright tweeted Friday morning. "Good man, great passion for his craft. He will be missed. RIP JP!"
Newsday's Steve Popper worked with Pelzman at The Bergen Record.
"When I was a columnist at The Bergen Record I would drop into events — NFL practices, college basketball games, Yankees or Mets games. And when I was sharing the press box with J.P. I knew I would always get all of the background and inside information that I needed," Popper said. "He wasn't just there for the hours of the game. He lived and breathed sports, absorbing it in every way — reading everything, listening to sports talk radio, watching games — and, at heart, was a sports fan. That came through in everything he wrote and everything he did."
Newsday's Neil Best tweeted: “One of the most memorable characters I have encountered in my sports writing journey, J.P. was a colleague many decades ago and a friend to the end.”
A memorial service will be held Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Raymond’s Church in East Rockaway.
"J.P. was such a good guy and a pro’s pro of a sports writer. It was a privilege to spend many nights with him courtside and in the press room covering Seton Hall basketball,” Asbury Park sports writer Jerry Carino tweeted.
Added Newsday's Bob Glauber: “As a journalist, J.P. always demanded the truth. As a friend and colleague, he was a kind soul who cared. An unforgettable personality who always made the press box more interesting and more accountable."
“J.P. was a good man. I enjoyed our time working together at The Record," Newsday's Al Iannazzone said. "We spent many nights talking in the office long after our day ended. He always impersonated radio talk show hosts and had an interesting laugh. J.P. also was very helpful when I was asked to cover Seton Hall basketball when the NBA was on lockout in 2011. J.P. loved covering Seton Hall. He would spend the day covering the Jets and then come to Prudential Center for a Seton Hall game at night, and give me any help I needed. J.P. will be missed.”