VIDEO: Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame’s Mark DeCotis Is Living Everyone’s Dream
By SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME // May 7, 2016
Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame
ABOVE VIDEO: Mark DeCotis traces his love of sports and journalism to his childhood in upstate New York. It was there that his father was a printer for the afternoon newspaper, and he would bring home a copy fresh off the press for his young son to peruse. “I was hired as a correspondent for the local newspaper and worked my way up to where I was living everyone’s dream: Getting paid to go to ballgames,” he said.
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A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK
Mark DeCotis traces his love of sports and journalism to his childhood in upstate New York. It was there that his father was a printer for the afternoon newspaper, and he would bring home a copy fresh off the press for his young son to peruse.
“I devoured it, especially the sports section, thanks to growing up in a neighborhood that once counted 100 kids in a square block and included a big playground,” DeCotis said.
“There were always games in progress – baseball, basketball, football – and naturally we all participated.”
DeCotis spent the majority of his career – 27 years – with Florida Today, covering sports, the space industry or any subject he was asked. He also helped launch the paper’s online site. But sports remains most memorable to the Melbourne resident.
“Over my time in sports, I covered 26 Daytona 500s – including the death of driver Dale Earnhardt in 2001 for which (co-worker) David Jones and I were recognized and honored by our peers,” DeCotis said.
“I covered a host of other NASCAR races, too numerous to remember…the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, where I joined a special club by staying awake for 36 hours, including all 24 of the race itself; Indy Cars; motorcycles; and drag racing.”
DeCotis also wrote a column about the NASCAR circuit that appeared in newspapers across the country and provided his racing expertise for Terry Bowden’s radio show – based in Orlando – for a year.
“Needless to say, I developed a following of both admirers and devoted detractors,” he said. “(But) that’s racin’ folks.”
LIVING EVERYONE’S DREAM
DeCotis said what first attracted him to sports writing was being paid to attend games.
“I was hired as a correspondent for the local newspaper and worked my way up to where I was living everyone’s dream: Getting paid to go to ballgames,” he said.
“All I had to do was call in the score and a few details. Little did I realize at the time that I was laying the foundation for the rest of my life.”
His first paying job: Keeping scores at Little League games. In 2012, DeCotis became the athletic communications manager at Brevard Community College – now Eastern Florida State College – and provides news about the school’s 11 athletic teams.
For those who know DeCotis, his modesty at being inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame would come as no surprise.
“To say that I am humbled to be recognized by Space Coast Daily by inclusion in the Hall of Fame is an understatement,” he said.
“And to be the recipient of such recognition for doing something I loved over the course of a 37-year newspaper career, and now at Eastern Florida, is truly special.”
The Utica, New York, native also said a few people have had pivotal roles in his career as well as his life.
“None of this – none of it – would have been possible without the love and support of my parents, Alfonso and Carmella … and then my wife Pam, who 44 years ago married into one of the world’s greatest and yet most demanding professions, journalism,” said DeCotis, a father of three with four grandchildren.
THE 2016 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 13.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2016 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Induction Dinner, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail MaverickMultimedia@gmail.com
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CLICK HERE to see all the members of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.