If you had asked Ed Ingles 10 or 15 years ago whether he took more satisfaction from his own long career in sports broadcasting or from those he has mentored, he likely would have said the former.
“But that’s changed,’’ he said Wednesday. “I’m one person, but when you can make a difference with I don’t know how many people that’s bigger.
“I’m going to leave here and probably no one is going to remember, but these little seeds I dropped along the way, these people are going to be carrying on with some of the traditions that I taught them.’’
Ingles, who turns 82 on April 25, isn’t ready to leave quite yet, but Tuesday his contributions will be honored with the “Mike Cohen Good Guy Award’’ from the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association at its 81st annual awards dinner.
Ingles’ career speaks for itself, including 24 years as WCBS’ sports director and covering dozens of major events. But he also has mentored many future sports media stars, Mike Breen of ESPN and MSG prominently among them, and in recent years has served as Professional-in-Residence for WRHU-FM at Hofstra.
CBS Sports reporter Tracy Wolfson studied with him at a long-ago workshop at NYU. Ingles considers her “probably the best success story of anybody, starting from ground zero.’’
Working at Hofstra has kept Ingles young at heart.
“When you get old you don’t want to go to a retirement community and hang out with old people,’’ he said. “The students, they energize you. I have a great time over there. They’re wonderful students.
"They need a lot of work. Today, as you know, the English language is taking a beating. But once in a while you get a diamond in the rough and find a kid who does really well.’’
Ingles, who grew up in Baldwin and now lives in Freeport, has endured health setbacks both personally and within his immediate family, without any noticeable dent in his habitually sunny outlook.
“You have to be upbeat,’’ he said. “You can’t mope.’’
That nature has endeared him to co-workers and students, and earned him the award he will receive Tuesday.
“The most important thing when you leave this life is your reputation, because what else do you have?’’ he said he tells young people. “If you want to make a difference you have to take the extra step. You have to help people. You have to do unto others more than they do unto you to make a difference.
“When you get to the end you realize, what is this all about? Why am I here? To just write a story or report on a ballgame, or help people and leave a legacy?"