KDKA-TV's Highfield 'surprised' by induction into sports hall
Many of the members of the Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame were inducted for feats on the court or the playing field. David Highfield's contributions to local sports came without playing a minute.
Highfield, a reporter for KDKA-TV and graduate of Ford City High School, is part of this year's hall of fame class in the builder category, which recognizes his reporting on some of Western Pennsylvania's biggest sports stories in more than 20 years with KDKA.
Sports is not a field of specialization for Highfield, who has reported on such major events as Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States and the death of Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor.
But in the realm of sports, Highfield has reported on the Steelers' two most recent Super Bowl victories, two Major League Baseball All-Star Games and the Penguins' 2009 Stanley Cup title. His interview subjects have included Jerome Bettis, Mel Blount, Franco Harris, Art Rooney II and the late Willie Stargell.
“I was kind of surprised by (my selection), at first,” Highfield said. “Everyone else on the list is an athlete, and I've never been one.
“I asked them, ‘Are you sure you want to induct me?' But they explained the category to me, and I have had the opportunity to do a lot of stories on how a whole region can pull together backing a sports team. It's a real honor, and I'm really looking forward to it.”
Highfield's career with KDKA began as a writer in 1991 after his graduation from Syracuse. Over the past 22 years, his roles with the station have included newscast producer, bureau chief for multiple coverage areas and news anchor. During his tenure, he has received three regional Emmy awards and been nominated another 14 times.
Highfield said he is eager to return home to receive an honor in front of his family and friends. His induction into a sports hall of fame will give him a chance to look back.
“One of the things I remember most was the Super Bowl the Steelers won (in 2006),” Highfield said. “I was reporting in Oakland, and the crowd went crazy. Most of the fans were well-behaved, but there were people setting sofas on fire and running through the street. You don't have long to talk on camera when there's a crowd like that behind you.
“But I think the stories that get me more are when we do stories, sports or news, at local high schools. Especially when something bad may have happened to a teammate, you get a chance to see young people pull together and learn for the first time what it is to be part of a team. To me, those stories are more rewarding than covering the big, pro things.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.