Bob Balut enjoyed a long and productive history with the Northeast Conference before his untimely passing in 2007 after a long battle with colon cancer at the age of 32.
Born in Edison, NJ, Balut was known for both his energy and passion for his work. He began his tenure with the NEC in November, 2003, and was the league’s media contact for football, women’s basketball and softball, organized numerous championships and played a key role in the relaunch of the conference website. Always looking to be on the cutting edge, Balut pushed for NEC telecasts to air in HD at a time when standard definition was still the norm, and was a proponent of video streaming live events before it became commonplace.
Balut’s history with the NEC included a six-year stint at Wagner College, including four as the school’s Sports Information Director from 1999-03. He created the Seahawk Broadcasting Network, which streamed Wagner’s first-ever Internet broadcasts for football, basketball and baseball. In addition, Balut served on the Wagner Athletic Hall of Fame and the Seahawk Golf Classic Committees and had a two-year stint as the Chair of the NEC Sports Information Directors Committee.
He also worked as a media relations assistant at the University of Massachusetts in 1997 and began his career as an undergraduate assistant at the University of South Carolina, where he served as baseball contact for two seasons (1996-97). He won a CoSIDA/Baseball Writers Association “Best In The Nation” award for his 1997 baseball media guide.
Balut graduated from South Carolina in 1997, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in Sport Administration.
Balut’s dedication, loyalty, creativity, sense of humor and character were well known among those within his profession. He left an indelible mark on his family, friends, colleagues and all who had a chance to meet him.
“It’s not often that we are recognized or celebrated for the work that we do,” said Erica Magee, a former Wagner basketball player who was married to Balut in 2003. “For Bob to be recognized with this Hall of Fame honor almost eight years after his passing speaks volumes to the impact that he had on everyone and everything he touched. I can’t thank Wagner and the NEC office enough for making this induction possible. I know Bob is thrilled! For anyone that knew him, I’m sure you can picture him smiling (ear to ear), clapping and high-fiving EVERYONE in sight! This Hall of Fame induction is an amazing tribute to an even more amazing man.”
“It makes me sad that my daddy isn’t here for this but I think it’s great to see how special he was and it’s really cool that I can tell people my daddy is in the Hall of Fame!” said a very proud Aidan Balut, his now 9-year old son.
“I was very happy to hear the news that Bob Balut will be a member of the Northeast Conference Hall of Fame,” said Walt Hameline, Wagner Director of Athletics. “This is a very deserving honor and I’m elated for his family and friends that he is being recognized in this way. We all remember Bob’s dedication, friendship, loyalty and professionalism. He always had the best interest of the student-athletes at heart and is sorely missed.”
“Bob Balut was a force of nature,” remembered Ron Ratner, NEC Senior Associate Commissioner. “He had what coaches call a ‘non-stop motor.’ Bob had endless amounts of energy, was an out-of-the-box thinker and an incredible multitasker. He only wanted what was best for the student-athletes he was promoting, and was on the forefront of using technology to spread the word on Wagner College and the NEC. I’m so happy to see Bob recognized for all that he accomplished. It truly is a fitting honor.”