Meet our Grand Marshal: JOHN SHERMAN
In the past 50 years, Edina High School has claimed over 150 state championship titles in more than a dozen different sports. Local sportswriter John Sherman may be the only Hornets fan who can boast of witnessing the majority of these championship wins firsthand. Sherman has been covering the local sports scene in Edina for nearly 43 years – his entire sports journalism career.
Sherman began work as a reporter and editor for the Edina Sun-Current fresh out of college in 1972. Coincidentally, that same year saw the passage of what became known as “Title IX,” federal legislation aimed at ensuring girls receive equal opportunities in school sports. At that time, however, hardly any news outlets followed suit by devoting an equal share of their local coverage to girls’ sports. Sherman and the Sun-Current were a conspicuous exception.
“We were in on the ground floor with Title IX you could say… beginning with girls’ swimming and gymnastics, and expanding our coverage out from there,” Sherman remembered. At the time, it did not strike him as a trailblazing move. “It just seemed like the right thing to do.”
Last year, in recognition of that early, equitable treatment of girls’ athletics in Edina, the National Girls and Women in Sports Coalition named Sherman a recipient of its prestigious Media Award. Sherman says that this honors ceremony, held at the Capitol in St. Paul on National Girls and Women in Sports Day 2014, is a favorite memory from a long and distinguished career full of them.
A fan first and foremost, Sherman is also quick to point out several of the standout athletic achievements he has covered over the past four decades. “I feel like I have seen and documented some real sports history,” he said, including the 1974 hockey season when the Edina East High team topped off an undefeated (24-0) year with a resounding win at the state championship.
Similarly, more recently, “I had the privilege of watching an extremely talented young tennis player named Whitney Taney go undefeated through her whole high school career (166-0). I was there for her first match, and I was there during the last. … School sports being competitive like they are, I don’t think I’m likely to see such records again.”
Sherman wears many hats at Sun Newspapers. In addition to covering Edina, he reports on sporting events in Hopkins, Minnetonka and Wayzata, too. Moreover, “I play at least some role in everything it takes to produce our four sports sections every week … not just writing, but editing, photography, and supervising page production.”
While the routine is a comfortable one, it does not feel repetitive. “There is always another sport to cover,” Sherman said. “My favorites would have to be the four major team sports – baseball, basketball, football and hockey. But more than anything, I just love [the variety] … everything from Nordic ski meets to swim tournaments.”
An accomplished coach in his own right, Sherman also enjoys working hands on with teams in different sports and at varying skill levels. “I’ve been coaching basketball and baseball for almost 40 years each,” he said. “I started while still in high school, volunteering time with a team of 8- and 9-year-olds in Apple Valley. Much later, I had the privilege to coach baseball at my own alma mater, Augsburg College.” Over the years, Sherman has also tried his hand at coaching soccer and softball.
In short, few in Minnesota know the state’s varied sports landscape as well as John Sherman. Even so, Edina remains his area of special interest. “I love my job at the paper. Not every team from Edina is going to win a state title, but every team from Edina is going to give their all and do an excellent job of representing their community through sport. [It is] just a joy to report on.” (courtesy City of Edina)