A Storied Career, Down to the Final Buzzer
Alum, Dubbed Dean of Maryland Sportswriters, Retiring After 37 Years With AP
Dave Ginsburg ’75 has covered the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup playoffs and Olympics, but a UMD moment still shines brightest on the personal highlight reel for the Associated Press’ longtime Maryland sports editor.
“The second half of (the 2002 NCAA men’s basketball championship), I see Maryland’s going to win, and I just stopped writing for just a little bit to soak it all in,” he said, “because to be at that event and to write (the story) for an international news organization was really the thrill of my writing career.”
Fittingly, after 37 years with AP, he’ll add one final career milestone amid the backdrop of another Terps basketball contest. After he files his story on Sunday’s UMD-Minnesota game, Ginsburg, revered as the dean of Maryland sportswriters, will retire from full-time work.
“(My career) fulfilled a lifetime wish,” he said. “I always wanted to be a sportswriter from a very young age, combining my two loves: writing and sports.”
Before he was chronicling Terps’ athletic performances on deadline, Ginsburg, who grew up in Silver Spring, Md., was cheering them on as a young fan during football, basketball and lacrosse games. That helped motivate him to become a Terp himself, and when the journalism major wasn’t covering bowling or tennis for The Diamondback or working at Giant Food, he was claiming the seat right under the basket to take in UMD hoops.
After graduation, Ginsburg secured gigs covering high school sports for the Washington Evening Star and Prince George’s Sentinel. He worked his way up to become sports editor at the latter, but when a six-month internship at AP opened up in 1983, he jumped at the chance to get his foot in the door at the influential news organization.
He started covering the then-Washington Redskins, leading to other opportunities. Before long, major Maryland and D.C. sporting events rarely kicked off without Ginsburg in the press box. All those games taught him how to thrive under pressure, requiring him to file fast, frills-free copy for the wire right at the final whistle.
“It’s sort of an adrenaline rush,” he said. “The unfortunate thing is I rarely saw—and I still, to this day, rarely see—the fourth quarter of a football game because I’m writing while it’s happening. But nevertheless, it’s exciting to know that when the game’s over, I’d put together a story that includes everything that a reader needs to know.”
Whether that story involved a Terps title game, a Baltimore Ravens practice or even the Orioles’ Cal Ripken Jr. breaking the MLB record for consecutive games played, his expertise earned the esteem of his peers, who considered him a leader in the press box.
“He’s one of those seasoned reporters who always goes out of his way to make everyone feel welcome,” said Baltimore Sun Sports Content Editor Gerry Jackson, who has crossed paths with Ginsburg at hundreds of sporting events since meeting him in 1981. “He has such a great style, and there’s not a writer out there that can stuff numerous and varied storylines into a 600-word story as well as Dave can, especially on a tight deadline.”
After Minnesota-Maryland this weekend, Ginsburg is looking forward to taking vacations with his wife, Cyndy—when COVID-19 allows, of course—without having to check team schedules first. But he’s not tossing his reporter’s notebook, and he plans to keep writing part-time.
“I love the pressure of getting a game story out after the final pitch.” Ginsburg said. “And I hope to continue to do that when I want to, instead of when I have to.”