Community mourns death of beloved former sports writer Chip Mundy


JACKSON, MI – As a child in the 1960s, Chip Mundy sat with his knees on the floor reading the Jackson Citizen Patriot sports section spread out before him.

That’s where his sports obsession started, his sister Karyl Mundy said. And his childhood passion became his life, as Mundy covered sports for the paper from 1986 to 2011.

“Sports, writing and people were his life,” his sister said.

Mundy, 67, died in a head-on car crash on Aug. 14 in Blackman Charter Township. His loss is particularly hard to those in the community, inside and outside the sports world, said many Jackson residents, including Dave Driscoll, former Jackson Parkside High School football coach.

Read more: Former Jackson Citizen Patriot sports reporter dies in head-on crash

“I think the world of him,” Driscoll said. “He was a tremendous man.”

Mundy, a 1973 Parkside High graduate, started his career in journalism as the sports editor for his high school paper. He later became the sports editor at the Brooklyn Exponent and Albion Recorder from 1980-86.

Mundy, who also co-authored the 2010 book Michigan Sports Trivia, knew just about everything about sports, said former Jackson Citizen Patriot editor and publisher Sandy Petykiewicz.

“His head was full of information about facts and athletes, coaches (and) games that he remembered,” she said. “He just was a huge source of knowledge.”

Former Jackson Citizen Patriot sportswriter Chip Mundy, far left, alongside from left to right Gary Kalahar, Mike Lammi, Chris Iott and Mike Pryson. Photo provided with permission by Iott.

Mundy was also personally embedded in the Jackson sports community for decades, Jackson residents said.

That included Jackson’s “blue-collar” bowling community, said his friend and bowling teammate Bill Mick. Mundy’s coverage of the sport, as well as a 1982 masters tournament title win, earned him a spot in the Jackson Bowling Hall of Fame.

“His writing made it seem he was writing just for you, Mick said. “We really enjoyed his writing style. You could relate to every story he wrote like he’s writing the story for you personally.”

Mundy combined talent and humility as a writer, Driscoll said, approaching an interview with a high school athlete with the same professionalism he would with his longtime friend and NFL Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy.

“You put those ingredients together, you get quality,” Driscoll said.

Mundy and Dungy graduated from Parkside High together, celebrating their 50th reunion in July. Mundy interviewed Dungy in high school before his professional football career all the way to Dungy’s 2007 Super Bowl XLI win and 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction.

Mundy, who fielded job opportunities outside Jackson throughout his career, was a loyal friend and loyal to his beloved hometown of Jackson, Dungy said.

“He wanted to stay and write about the people and young kids there and how they were doing,” Dungy said. “He’d always tell me about people who are coming up, like (Michigan State University defensive back) Khari Willis. He would tell me “Hey, you’re going to love this kid.’”

When Dungy would bring Mundy to a big event, it was a way for Dungy to share accomplishments with the people of Jackson, he said.

“When he was interviewing me, it always seemed like he wanted to tell this story to people back in Jackson,” Dungy said.

Baseball was Mundy’s favorite sport, from the Detroit Tigers to minor league teams, such as the Great Lakes Loons and Lansing Lugnuts, his sister said. He was close to being done with a book about Tigers pitcher Denny McLain, who in 1968 became the last major league pitcher to win 30 or more game in a season.

“Anybody who’s read it so far has said it’s a one of a kind book,” Karyl Mundy said.

The book is about “98% done” and covers each of McLain’s 31 wins that year in detail, from the game itself to the personal pressure McLain must have felt, said friend and Lansing sportswriter Jack Ebling. It combines Mundy’s love of stats with people, Ebling said.

“Even if you’re not a baseball guy, it’s a great read,” Ebling said.

Mundy had opportunities to take his career outside Jackson, but he just loved the community too much, Mick said.

That passion for the community indebted himself to people who continued to read his sports writing later in his life on social media, his sister said.

“He was kind of like a movie star in Jackson,” she said.

At the end of the day, sports was an avenue for Mundy to tell human stories, Driscoll said.

“He was a gifted person who had the skills,” Driscoll said. “But then he had the humility and really cared about good people.”

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Read more from MLive:

Former Citizen Patriot sports writer Chip Mundy co-authors ‘Michigan Sports Trivia’ book

Jackson Bowling Hall of Fame welcomes four members at annual banquet

Former Seahawks, Ravens running back dies in motorcycle crash

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