Posted: Oct 2, 2012 at 4:22 PM [Oct 2, 2012]
A2 Footballers: An interesting sidelight to the 1962 State Championship season is the newspaper role of the late Hal "Swami" Schram who covered high schools sports like a blanket for the Detroit Free Press (see below). Unfortunately, during the reign of Henry "Hank" Fonde as head coach at AAHS, Fonde allegedly ordered Schram out of the Pioneer locker room following a game at Hollway Field. Schram never forgot the embarrassment. When Jay Stielstra's team finished 8-0, in 1962, including a Six-A League championship, Schram had little choice but to award the Free Press trophy to Ann Arbor High School. The school also received the United Press International State trophy. Dale
Hal ("Swami") Schram, Detroit Free Press
We all would like to look into a crystal ball and determine who will win tomorrow's big game. Many claim Hal ("Swami") Schram actually did.
Schram graduated from the Michigan School for the Blind in 1937 and, despite his vision impairment, he managed to see into the future of high school athletics for the Detroit Free Press for more than 40 years.
"Swami" was a sports innovator, the first sportswriter in Michigan to publish weekly ratings in football and basketball games. Schram was born in 1918 in St. Johns, Michigan. He graduated in journalism from Michigan State College in 1941 and took his first job as a sportswriter for the Lansing State Journal. Schram inspired many Michigan sportswriters with his ingenuity and creativity, and he defined the playing field for sportswriters opening it up to others.
Detroit Free Press Sports Editor Gene Meyers said: "Hal underscored to big papers the importance of paying attention to the little things, little people and little accomplishments . . .." Schram's high school athletics beat wasn't as glamorous as covering the Tigers or the Lions, but he managed to bring fame and cognition into the lives of Michigan's young athletes.
A fellow sportswriter says, "Swami dealt in memories. His work provided a lifetime of memories for those he wrote about before they learned to drive a car or graduated into adulthood."
Schram was the first sportswriter inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Central Michigan University Hall of Fame. The Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan honors Schram's work by awarding the state's top senior basketball player with the "Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award."