Howie Schwab, ESPN producer, star of ‘Stump the Schwab’ trivia show, dead at 63

Howie Schwab

Howie Schwab, a longtime producer at ESPN who was the star of the network’s trivia show “Stump the Schwab,” died Saturday, his family said. He was 63.

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“SportsCenter” aired a tribute to Schwab during its Saturday morning show, USA Today reported. ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale also shared the news on social media. He said Schwab battled “various health issues.” No cause of death was immediately given.

According to ESPN, Schwab joined the cable sports network in 1987 and worked for the company until 2013. He was best known as the final challenge on “Stump the Schwab,” a show hosted by Stuart Scott that aired on the network from 2004 to 2006.

Contestants would attempt to outduel Schwab in a trivia contest for cash prizes, ESPN reported.

“Howie played a vital role in my career -- his incredible research was so valuable for decades,” Vitale said in a statement. “Howie’s loyalty & dedication was so special. His passion & love for sports was off the charts. Most recently he was ecstatic with the UConn Huskies going back to back and was also thrilled to see Rick Pitino bring back his beloved St. John’s to prominence.”

Schwab also appeared on the early days of “First Take,” USA Today reported. He would rank his anticipation of sporting events for the upcoming weekend on a 1 to 5 “Bags of Chips” scale, according to the newspaper.

After leaving ESPN in 2012, Schwab worked at Fox Sports, where he was a writer and consultant for the show, “Sports Jeopardy!” according to Deadline.

Several of Schwab’s colleagues at ESPN, including Linda Cohn, Keith Olbermann and Doug Gottlieb went on social media to express their condolences.

“Howie Schwab was one of the most unselfish, caring and intelligent person I ever worked with at ESPN,” Cohn tweeted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “He made all of us smarter. We’d always talk about family, friends and of course Rangers hockey. You will be missed.”

Olbermann tweeted that there was a “chorus of grief” after learning about Schwab’s death.

“Howie Schwab was an unlikely on-air cult figure but long before then he was one of those who truly built the place: diligent, professional, and more importantly endlessly friendly and supportive to everybody,” Olbermann wrote. “Simply, ESPN never rises to the heights it did, nor exists today, without him. He died this morning and the memorials and “#RIPs” are insufficient -- but they’ll have to do.”

Gottlieb remembered Schwab as someone with a “brilliant memory” along with being “kind man.”

“My second day at ESPN, fall of 2003, I met Howie Schwab. I was walking into building 4 and a fairly frumpy man stopped me -- ‘Doug Gottlieb, 943 assists 7th all-time -- played at Notre Dame and Oklahoma State, lost to Duke in ‘98, Auburn in ‘99 & Florida in ‘00,’” Gottlieb tweeted. “‘Great passer who couldn’t shoot … Howie Schwab,nice to meet you.’”


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