John Popovich of WCPO elected to Buddy LaRosa's Sports Hall of Fame

Only second honored for lifetime media achievement
Posted at 7:47 AM, Dec 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-24 08:43:14-05

CINCINNATI - WCPO Sports Anchor John Popovich has become just the second journalist elected to Buddy LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Popovich will receive the Lifetime Media Achievement award when he is inducted next summer along with four former outstanding area high school sports stars and one coach:

The other 2016 LaRosa’s Sports Hall of Fame inductees are:

  • Angela Bizzarri (Pflugrath), Mason High School, Class of 2006
  • Irv Goode, Boone County High School, Class of 1958
  • Dominick Goodman, Colerain High School, Class of 2005
  • Robert Hite, Winton Woods High School, Class of 2002
  • Donna Mechley, Mount Notre Dame (Coach)

The annual ceremonies will be held in June.

Now in its 42nd year,  Buddy LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame has honored 263 exceptional athletes, coaches and others who have supported high school sports since its founding in 1975. It is the oldest and one of the only halls of fame of its kind in the country.

Joe Quinn, high school sports editor of the former Cincinnati Post, was among the first inductees in 1975.

In honoring Popovich, the Hall of Fame committee said he may have done more to promote Greater Cincinnati high school sports than any one athlete or coach over the last 40 years.

Popovich launched a Sunday-night feature called “Sports of All Sorts” in 1980. He was told it wouldn’t last more than 13 weeks. Thirty-seven years and hundreds of high school sports’ features later, it is still going strong.

He also produced and hosted “The Sports Rush” for six years -- a Saturday night sports’ show totally dedicated to high school sports.

“Popo” has won six regional Emmy Awards for reporting, as well as numerous recognitions from Sigma Delta Chi, the Radio-TV News Directors Association and the Ohio High School Athletic Association. He was honored for his contributions to amateur football in 2007 by the National Football Foundation’s Greater Cincinnati Chapter. In 2011, he was inducted into the Silver Circle of the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

A native of Struthers, Ohio -- just outside of Youngstown -- Popovich realized at a young age that his athletic talents were best served behind a microphone. At 15, “Popo” joined WKTL, the first student-operated radio station in Ohio, where he read the news and “played polkas.”

He was the Struthers High School play-by-play announcer as a junior and senior and it eventually led him to Ohio University, where he earned a degree in telecommunications.

“Popo” has been the Sports Director at WCPO since 1981 and has been the primary sports’ anchor since 2013. He, and his wife of 43 years, Kathie, live near Aurora, Indiana.

READ about the other newly elected LaRosa's Hall of Famers.