Bill Kipouras, a North Shore sportswriting legend who worked at The Salem News for 36 years and spent more than a half-century in the business, passed away yesterday morning at age 74.
Known far and wide as ‘The Kipper’, he took immense pride in his aggressive reporting and bulldog approach to getting the news before anyone else. He prided himself on knowing literally thousands of people and was recognizable almost everywhere he went. For many years his local notes columns in The Salem News were must-reads, and he covered everything from pro hockey to fencing on the North Shore.
He liked to say that he was never “off the clock”; in the office or not, he was always looking for the next story. And when he found one, Kipouras pounced on it.
“He was the quintessential sportswriter and newsman to the nth degree. Kipper ate, drank and breathed his job,” said long-time colleague Gary Larrabee, who worked alongside Kipouras for 21 years. “He was a giant in Boston sports journalism.”
Kipouras was hired as sports editor by the then-Salem Evening News in February of 1974 to succeed the late Frank Murphy after working at The Boston Herald Traveler for 17 years. For the next 21 years he patrolled the North Shore sports scene with ferocity, making sure no story, no matter how small, was left unreported by he or his staff, becoming a sportswriter and columnist for the last 15 years of his career.
He was also one of the first sports editors to champion women’s sports, writing about and covering the local high school scene and Salem State College women’s athletics from the time he was first hired at The News.
“I’d venture to say we were one of the first suburban papers nationally to cover the girls sports the same way we covered the boys, and that was because of Kipper,” said Mike Grenier, another long-time Salem News sportswriter who worked with Kipouras for more than three decades.