The Salem News
---- — Longtime Salem News sports editor Phil Stacey has been honored by the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association, receiving the organization’s annual Media Award.
Awarded at the MSHCFA’s annual Hall of Fame Banquet since 1978, the Media Award singles out a member of the press for outstanding commitment to and coverage of high school football.
“Phil, throughout his tenure, has always been a positive, supportive guy who wants to see high school sports given respect,” said Masconomet Regional football coach Jim Pugh, the President of the MHSFCA. “He knows it’s a game and he always keeps things in the right perspective.”
This year’s MHSFCA Hall of Fame Banquet will be held on April 28 at Lantana’s Restaurant in Randolph. This year’s Hall of Fame Class, including former Peabody High coach Ed Nizwantowski, will be honored along with the honorees for the Media Award, Assistant Coach of the Year Award, Courageous Player Award and Distinguished Service Award.
Stacey covered his first football game, Ipswich’s home opener, while still a student at Salem State in 1990. The 1987 Beverly High grad finished at Salem State in 1991, joined the News full-time in 1994 and was elevated to sports editor in 1997.
“I feel high school football is as much a part of the North Shore sporting fabric as laces are to the football itself: essential for it’s very existence. I’m proud that my staff and I are able to play a very small part each fall in helping to tell the stories and keep our readers connected to the sport that so many of them love and follow,” he said.
Karen Andreas, regional publisher of The Salem News and North of Boston Media Group, said Stacey is the epitome of the outstanding local sports editor.
“Phil is truly deserving of this prestigious award,” Andreas said. “He is a walking encyclopedia of North Shore sports. Ask him any name, any stat, and he can tell you. And along with his impressive knowledge of the game of sports, Phil understands how to cover local sports. He understands community journalism at its core — and that he is covering student athletes, from Little League, to youth soccer, to high school baseball and everything in between.
“This award is a great honor for Phil,” Andreas continued, “and I am very pleased for him personally and for The Salem News.”
The coaches singled out the outstanding work Stacey has helped lead in The Salem News’ summer series counting down the top coaches and quarterbacks in modern North Shore history in recent years.
“We felt that’s gone a long way to helping promote the games and getting people pumped up about the season and excited to attend games. We really appreciate that,” Pugh said.
Under Stacey’s stewardship, the News has been a fixture at North Shore football games, regardless of the type of season a team is having. If a school is local, it always has a place in the newspaper.
“He’s not just about the top players and the top teams,” Pugh said. “No matter what your record is, the News is always supportive and promoting your players. Phil’s a family man and someone loyal to the North Shore.”
Stacey, who co-hosts “North Shore Sports Desk” on North Shore 104.9 FM Saturday mornings, lives in Rockport with his wife Harmony and three children.
“Phil does things the right way,” Pugh added. “It’s never about him; it’s about promoting high school athletes in a positive way. The football coaches have always appreciated that.”