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Lewand, Lions comment on sudden death of beat writer Tom Kowalski

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 29, 2011 – 1:18 pm

Tom Kowalski, longtime Detroit Lions writer for Booth Newspapers and MLive.com, died this morning, according to his fiancee, Diane Wolan.

“The entire Lions organization, the Ford family, and me, personally, were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tom Kowalski this morning,” said Detroit Lions Team President Tom Lewand. “Tom was a true professional, the consummate beat writer, somebody who brought a lot of tremendous information to our fans — even in times of disagreement; we always had the utmost respect for his professionalism.

“He will be sorely missed and our deepest sympathies go out to Diane and to his entire family. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them.”

HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ
“I’ll just say this about Tom,” said Head Coach Jim Schwartz. “The one thing he always tried to do was get it right. He knew football and he always wanted to get it right and we had a lot of respect for that.”

Schwartz lets the first question go unanswered in honor of Kowalski

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR GUNTHER CUNNINGHAM
“It was tough hearing the news today about Tom because I felt like I lost a good friend and not just a writer,” said Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham. “When he asked me questions, it was important to him to be right. Obviously, he always did his homework and that’s what I respected most about him. To me, he was an old-school writer. He was honest and fair.

“The way I look at him, he is all Detroit. People in this area that I met, they are all alike and he epitomized that. Our conversations were solid, and there was mutual respect for each other. Beyond football, we would also talk about life.

“I am sad that he is gone. God bless his family and friends.”

CENTER DOMINIC RAIOLA
“On behalf of the team, we consider him part of the family; we saw him every day,” said center Dominic Raiola. “I dealt with Tom every day; I’d see him out here. (It will) take a lot of time to get over this.

“In the end, Tom always had the best interest of everybody in that locker room. He always wanted to know more about why things happened on the field and he always did a good job of that. He was a good person; he was fun to be around. (I) had a lot more personal relationship with him, so that was some tough news to hear.”

KICKER JASON HANSON
“I have too many (memories),” said kicker Jason Hanson. “It is one of those things, just like with everybody, takes you by surprise. It kind of knocks the wind out of you. You don’t know what to say or think yet. It is just amazing. Of all the reporters, I think he was the one that got it right most of the time and really had the insight.

“Beyond that, regardless of any of that, he will be missed by all of us. And everyone in this locker room, their condolences and their prayers and their thoughts go to his family and friends. I am just at a loss of words. I don’t know what to think. We all are like ‘Is it true?’ We are devastated.”

QUARTERBACK MATTHEW STAFFORD
“Tom was a great guy,” said quarterback Matthew Stafford. “He was a big football guy; you could tell he knew football, he loved it. He was always a good guy in our locker room and we were blessed to have him around.

“As coach pointed out on the field, he said ‘You know, he always tried to get it right, which is something you respect from a reporter.’ He will definitely be missed.”

A collection of Tweets honoring Tom


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Posted in DetroitLions.com Blog | 47 Comments »


47 Responses to “Lewand, Lions comment on sudden death of beat writer Tom Kowalski”

  1. By Al Mudryk on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Killer was the best, I looked forward to listening to his broadcast everyday on WDFN not to mention followed him on Twiiter and Facebook to get the most updated and complete Lion News. What a shame. I met him at 24 seconds Bar and Grill, what a nice guy. The Lions need to dedicate this season to him. RIP Killer!

  2. By severs28 on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    RIP Tom. The Lions family truly loved you.

  3. By Mike on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    RIP Killer, it would be nice to see if the team could honor Killer in some way. Maybe a TK sticker on the helmet or something. He will be missed.

  4. By Eddie Hiller on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Tom was a great beat writer for our ball club I enjoyed reading what he wrote.

    He wil truly be missed and my heart goes out to his family and our ball club.

    We will grow has a team and his passing will make us better. He was a true fan has well.

    Go Lions

  5. By Eloy Trevino on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Very sad day for me. I am truly sad on a personal level. I respected his work tremendously.

  6. By James Bommarito on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Lets dedicate this season to killer

  7. By muck241045 on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    I used to be able to catch Killer at night back in 04 way up in Marquette believe it or not. He was a great writer and broadcaster. I really looked up to the guy for always being honest with himself and all of his fans. A good man was lost today. RIP sir you will not be easily forgotten by the many you touched

  8. By terry putman on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    My heart and Prayers go out to Tom,his family,and all his fans! I don’t know who could possibly cover the Lions like Tom did! He has answered and posted my emails and really made me feel like I had an effect on my team. I can’t imagine to many writers can do that. Im glad Tom saw the game Saturday and at least he knew we were turning the corner on his beloved Lions! What a loss!!!

  9. By Joseph lonteen on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Killer was the best in the business and it will take a long time to get over this.. The way he interacted with his fans and his sense of humor is what I will miss most!

  10. By Greg Szczembara on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Being a Lions fan for 40+ years Tom was one wirter that I knew I would get a honest evaluation of where our football team was. I was obivious to his readers and listeners on raido that although being a excellent reporter he was also a fan. I will miss his insights but I also feel that I have lost a friend that I never met.

  11. By Bryce on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    You guys should do a tribute for him. He kept Lions football interesting to a lot of fans when you guys were going through some tough years!

  12. By terry putman on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t wanna take anything away from Toms passing but I hope the Lions play every game this year in Toms honor! I read everything Tom wrote on my Lions and he covered them better then anybody. I will really miss his writings and the oppurtunity he gave all us fans to write in and b a part of our beloved Lions! May the Lord b with all of you and may Tom b brought into the Lords kingdom to b in his loving embrace for all of eternity!!!

  13. By John Laroe on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    This is terrible news……I listened to and read Tom so much over the years, I feel like I knew him and lost a close friend today……what a shame. And right when we’re on the cusp of finally being good again…..would have loved to see him cover a good competitive team again. Man, this is so sad. He will definitely be missed, RIP Killer….

  14. By Andrea L. Molinari on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    This is a real loss for all Lions fans. Tom was simply the very best. His articles were timely and insightful. His reporting made it possible to follow my hometown Lions from Florida. I started each day with my morning coffe and Tom’s columns. He was more than a news source. I exchanged emails with him, asking questions about my favorite team. He was always honest and pulled no punches.

    Rest in peace, Tom. And put in a good word for all of us, Tom.

  15. By James on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    My prayers go out to Tom and his family. I really enjoy reading his articles and listerning to him on the radio. He will be truely missed. RIP Tom you were great.

  16. By ward elliott on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    VERY SAD TO HEAR ABOUT TOM, I GOT THE CHANCE TO MEET HIM AT CAMP THIS YEAR AT A SEASON TICKET HOLDER DAY. HE WAS A NICE GUY WHO LOVED TO ARGUE ABOUT SPORTS AND DEBATE THE LIONS. HE DID HIS JOB TO THE FULLEST AS WAS NEVER AFRAID TO SPEAK OR WRITE HIS MIND. VERY SAD LOSS FOR THE LIONS FAMILY GOD BLESS HIS FAMILY AND JUST REMEMBER HES WRITING FOR THE BIG NEWS PAPER IN THE SKY NOW. MAYBE HE AND ERNIE HARWELL CAN CONVERSATE ABOUT THE TIGERS CHANCES NOW… RIP TOM, YOU DID A GREAT JOB

  17. By MotownRevue on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Detroit lifer now living on West Coast shocked & saddened at news. Listened & read Tom like all of us & he also personally & kindly answered my emails..he is loved & will be missed. Coney’s on God

  18. By John Knickerbocker on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Having met Tom thru a neighbor, who also covered the Lions and has since retired, I found Tom to be a great individual, with a passion for his work, and a friend to many. I enjoyed the little time I was able to spend with my neighbor and Tom as they would share stories of their experiences covering the Lions. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and the many fans of Tom’s work.

  19. By Dan S. on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    As a Detroit fan living in texas, I counted Tom’s writings to know what was going on with The Lions. He was the BEST at what he did!

    Thanks for everything Tom, you will truly be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

  20. By Carlos Lawson on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    My deepest condolences to Tom Kowalski’s family.I was a fan.You could feel his passion in his writing,he will be missed.Gone too soon.When I moved to Georgia 18 years ago I was quite fortunate to be able to follow my Lions thanks in part to Tom,and of course as we all are.rest in peace!.

  21. By Richard Austrum on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    Tom “Killer” Kowalski was the source of the vast majority of information I recieved about my Lions, and he will be missed. I would like to recommend the Lions commerate the passing of one of the last great beat reporters by wearing a patch (ideally ‘TK’ or ‘Killer’) for what is going to be the first of many playoff seasons for these young Lions (I to drank the kool-aid that TK served sometimes though at other times he was brutally honest). Please recognize his large contribution to the Lions fanbase. Thank you.

  22. By Rick Hall on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    There was no one in the media, locally or nationally that could talk LIONS like Tom.
    He did so with insight, knowledge and often a bit of humor. As much as he loved the game, he was always quick to remind us that it is just a game and that there are more important things in life. This is certainly true for many of us today! He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.

  23. By Paul Kinzer on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    I am so saddened by Tom’s passing. He was my lifeblood of information on my Lions. I saw my first game in 1952 at the age of 10, and was a season ticket holder for many years at the Silverdome. Every morning, I would turn to Tom on MLIVE to find out what was going on in Allen Park. My thoughts and prayers to Tom’s family. We fans of Lions football have lost a true friend. It is sad Tom will not be here with us to enjoy what is coming. The curse of Bobby Layne will be gone soon.

  24. By andre shelton on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    It is truly a sad day.He did a great job may you R.I.P Killer

  25. By dreameagle on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    i admit i never much cared for him constantly defending Backus and Raiola, Ford and Lewand and even Millen, and otherwise supporting the “party line” when the facts against doing so were immutable,

    i had fond visions of him and Drew Sharp meeting by accident in a bar (preferabley A. C. Green, if it’s still there), getting drunk and challenging each other to an arm wrestling contest that left both their writing hands in a cast for awhile…but the last thing even i ever wanted to see was this…

    he deserved as much as any of us to see the Lions come down Woodward Ave all the way to Dearborn, carrying the Lombardi;

    ..and this, just when his life was apparently on an upswing paralleling that of the team…

    the mysteries of this life defy understanding..now we are left with only regret at such a stunning loss and condolences for his fiancee and family..few days have dawned for the Lion Legion darker than this one..

  26. By robert on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    my heart broke when I first saw the story God bless you killer you were awesome, this is God’s megaphone to lions fans everywhere are you ready to step into eternity

  27. By Eddie Murray on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    I like everyone else was shocked when I heard of Tom’s passing. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family & Diane. He was ALWAYS smiling and I loved discussing football with him when I was with the Lions. I echo everyone’s love for him as a writer & reporter but he was one hell of person to know. I will never forget you. RIP.

  28. By KJ on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    God certainly has a sense of irony. Having to cover the Lions for the past 10 years must have been one of the most dreadful sports writing jobs in history. Now, with the light shining so brightly at the end of that very long tunnel, Tom Kowalski has been called upon for what we can only hope is a higher purpose. From this day forward, Tom will be watching and reporting on the Lions from the Ultimate Sky Box. Let’s make him proud to wear the Honolulu Blue in Heaven.

    RIP Tom Kowalski.

  29. By AZ Rick on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    This is very sad news for me. I really looked forward to reading Tom’s Lion reports everyday here in Surprise, AZ starting @ 5 AM & thru out the day. I don’t mean to trivialize his passing, but in all sincerity & respect maybe we call the Defense the “Big Kowalski”. We’ll miss you Tom. Our Love & prayers go out to his family & loved ones.

  30. By Jeff Orr on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    This is terrible news to me, I move from Windsor, Ontario to Red Deer, Alberta just over 1 yr. ago and was watching the Lions game on Saturday thinking that I loved turning on WDFN after the Lions games and listning to “KILLER”…Wow, he will be sadley missed in my house and many others…RIP KILLER.

  31. By nick strunk on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    TK stickers on helmet RIP Killer

  32. By Andre T on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    I like the Idea of Calling the Defence ” Big Kowalski”

  33. By Marcus on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    Screw this, Money means nothing. I just listentened to him annoncing the game this past saturday. Here today gone tommorow thats my MO. Living in this city is to painful, I don’t know how much more I can take all this losing and jobless families. Damn!

  34. By Eric on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    What a sad day for lions fans. Tom Kowalski was a man and a great reporter. I always respected his opinion and loved listening to him on 1130 the fan. When He was brought on full time instead of just an insider for 1130 the fan I was very excited. I loved listening to his insight and his articles were always the first ones I looked for. He would always say he was not a fan of the lions but you could always tell that he was by the way he covered them. For a man I never knew personally I was deeply saddened by his loss and took it hard. Following the Lions will never be the same. Rest in peace Tom. You will be missed by many.

  35. By Don on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    I just read the New’s here on this Lions site, and this really hurt’s!
    Tom knew and Loved Football and Detroit and People. He was a great Read and an even better Listen. I will Miss his commentaries and Articles, and that great Laugh that went so well with him.
    Everytime that I have been thinking about this Lions Team that is emerging, I have Been enjoying the fact of him and all the reporters being able to write the Kind of stories that they have been waiting to write for all of these years,
    I Too am very glad that he knew that this Team is finally on the right path,
    Me my son’s and Nephew’s will All miss hearing him and His stories and insights. I also Agree with the Team wearing his initials on thier Helmits.
    RIP Tom “KILLER” Kowalski

  36. By Adam on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    Tom was a great guy. A gental giant, I’ve known him for years and he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I agree the lions should deicate this season to the “Killer”

  37. By Chuck on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    Tom was the BEST. It’s not even close and I think everyone knew that – players, coaches, fans, etc. He definitely knew football and everyone in this town looked to him for his expertise in analyzing our lions. Everyone respected him to the utmost and although I never met him he was a great person who people seemed to just gravitate towards. He had the physical presence but more importantly he had the personality that would just light up the room. You will be missed and my prayers go out to his family.

  38. By dsullivan9026 on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    Lions fans are used to dark days and losing. But yesterday was as dark as it gets when we suddenly lost long-time “Lions Insider” Tom ‘Killer’ Kowalski, who was found dead in his home at the age of 51. At his last radio interview, yesterday morning, when asked if he’d pay a return visit to the radio studio at the midpoint of the upcoming Lions season, he chuckled and said he’d be back “when the Lions are 7-1.”

    “Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual lightshine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”

  39. By Dan from Detroit on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    His passion for the Lions was unmatched, we’ll miss you Killer…

  40. By andrew hodge on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    sad day for the lions and toms family my condolences to both the lions and toms family best wishes to all

  41. By andrew on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    THoughts and prayers are with the Kowalski family and his fiance. TOm Kowalski, at least YOU are safely in heaven. Abdel Baset al-Megrahi is who YOU and the other victims who died because of him will be pointing the fingers at al-Megrahi and laughing at him as he burns in the piut below. Justice will be served and in case there were Lions fans who died because of al-Megrahi, they will be laughing best, and YOU will join them. GO LIONS AND USA!

  42. By Vytas Rauckis on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    I think Tom was important enough to the Lion community to commemorate him with a patch on the helmet or uniform. I would love something like an oval saying “Killer Kowalski” or similar.

  43. By KeninCincy on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    RIP Killer, you’re the best, babe. Such a huge lose. I will miss his upon further review insights. Some times I would surf all the other blogs first because I wanted to save the best for last. Sometimes I couldn’t wait and would go directly to MLive because I wanted to find out what was really happening with our Leo’s. Guess I knew he’d always get it right. With all due respect, maybe we should just scrap the “Silver Crush“ nickname in favor of “Killers Crew“. Also TK on the helmets would be a nice touch as well.

  44. By Wally Johnson on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    I was devastated when I heard the news. If Ernie Harwell was the voice of the Tigers, Tom Kowalski was the voice of the Lions to me.

  45. By The Burgermyer on Aug 30, 2011 | Reply

    Killer was the fountain of information about Detroit Lions football. I heard Killer on the Radio before I read his articles on MLive. Moving away from Downriver to New York City the first source of information I looked for about the Lions day to day activities was from Tom “Killer” Kowalski. He is a major reason I am so much a fan of the Lions til this day. Im going to miss reading what he has to say about the Lions. Detroit Lions Nation lost a huge piece losing The Killer.

    Tom Kowalski you will be missed

  46. By Detroit Lions #1 on Apr 29, 2012 | Reply

    I still can’t believe Killer is gone, reading Mlive is just not the same. His voice made me feel like I was listening to anauthority, I could trust his opinions and evaluations for the most part. Tom will always be a Detroit sports icon. R.I.P. always Killer…

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