Herman L. Masin, Editor of Scholastic Coach for 72 Consecutive Years, Dead at 96


Believed to be the longest-serving editor of one magazine in American history


NEW YORK, N.Y. — June 10, 2010 — Herman Lewis Masin, the longest-serving editor of one magazine in American history, and among the most influential figures in the field of interscholastic athletics and coaching, died on June 8, 2010. He was 96.

After graduating from New York University in 1936, he got his first and only job as editor of Scholastic Coach. He held that job until December 2008 – editing the publication and writing his column, "Here Below," from a mechanical typewriter. Mr. Masin was born in Bronx, NY, on June 21, 1913. He died of natural causes.

While many of his physical education classmates at NYU became teachers, Herman too taught thousands of students about the fundamentals of sports, teamwork and safety through feature articles that filled the pages of Scholastic Coach.

Scholastic Coach was the leading magazine for coaches and athletic directors in high schools, parochial and prep schools, junior colleges and colleges, as well as key non-school athletic programs. First published in 1931, it had a readership of 325,000 coaches and athletic directors in 94% of high schools and almost 100% of colleges around the country.

Scholastic Coach is one of dozens of magazines published for classrooms and professional educators by Scholastic, founded almost 90 years ago with the publication of The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic.

"Herman's contributions to the field of intercollegiate and interscholastic athletics are immense and his editorial leadership has made the world of games just a little more fun and a little safer than it might otherwise have been," long-time colleague, friend and Scholastic Coach publisher Bruce Weber said.

Under Mr. Masin's leadership, Scholastic Coach published one of the first articles written on modern strength training in November 1949. In 1972, long before anabolic steroids became a controversial issue, the magazine published an article on its use by European track athletes, written by U.S. discus champion L. Jay Silvester.

Perhaps even more significant was Mr. Masin's campaign for safer blocking rules in football. The use of the head as a battering ram had resulted in numerous catastrophic head and neck injuries over the years, and Herman used his column to raise awareness of this danger. When the National Federation of State High School Associations finally passed a rule prohibiting the use of the top of the head in blocking, the executive director wrote to say that the new regulation should be called, "The Masin Rule."

Throughout his tenure with Scholastic Coach, Mr. Masin also cultivated many young, promising coaches including Al Davis, Jack Ramsay and Ben Schwartzwalder, all of whom had articles published in the magazine. He also corresponded frequently with Coach John Wooden, who passed away at the age of 99 on June 4.

In celebration of Mr. Masin's 50th anniversary with Scholastic Coach in May 1986, Mr. Davis, now the owner of the Oakland Raiders, shared, "If it is true that great men inspire in others the will to be great, my friend, Herman Masin, is a great man. Not only did he have a commitment to excellence but more important, he also inspired in me the same will to be great and gave a young man the opportunity to see his dreams come true."

Throughout his career, various sports groups recognized Mr. Masin for his enormous contributions to sports. He was a member of the National High School Sports Hall of Fame and received the Award for Journalistic Contribution from the American Baseball Coaches Association. He was also a winner of the American Business Media Crain Award in 2000.

"I never even thought of being anything else," Mr. Masin said in an interview published in Scholastic Coach in 2006 on the 70th anniversary of his becoming editor. "I never yet read an issue that I disliked and said, 'I could have done better.' Never. Obviously some issues are better than others. But I've always been pleased with the quality of the magazine. I've never been deeply disappointed by anything in it."

Dick Robinson, President, Chairman and CEO of Scholastic said, "Herman Masin set the standard for editors by pioneering the ways coaches could improve their craft and build winners. He identified with the high school coach and through his editorials led fundamental changes in coaching for nearly three-quarters of a century. He defined creative, forward-looking editorial work."

Masin is survived by six nieces and nephews, many grand nieces and nephews, and great-grand nieces and nephews, as well as many colleagues and friends at Scholastic.

A memorial will be held Wednesday, June 23rd at 9:45 a.m. at Riverside Memorial Chapels, Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street. Donations in his memory should be made to the charity of one's choice.

For more information about Scholastic, visit our Media Room at http://mediaroom.scholastic.com.


Tyler Reed