After 25 years covering sports for KSDK TV, after tons of awards and numerous World Series and two Super Bowls – after everything – you would assume Frank Cusumano would put it on cruise control.

Hardly. In October 2018, there he was on assignment at inner-city Roosevelt High School, reporting on a Public High League championship-seeking football team most others might shrug off.

“I haven’t forgotten my roots,” Cusumano said later, “because I was one of them once.”

Which explains everything about why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted Cusumano with the Class of 2018.

Since returning home in 1993, Cusumano has worked diligently to become one of the top veteran sports journalists in St. Louis – quite a distinction in a city that has produced some of sports’ most competitive and successful reporters in print, TV and radio.

He has won 17 Emmys, including for Best Sports Anchor for his storytelling and sports coverage. He also has won two Edward R. Murrow Awards, which began in 1971 and honors those whose work embodies that of the great TV news icon.

His credentials include coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals’ four World Series since 2004, the Rams’ two Super Bowls (January 2000 and January 2002) in addition to the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues and numerous NCAA Tournament basketball games.

More specifically, he covered Tony La Russa’s entire era as Cardinals manager, earning the skipper’s respect to the point that, in 2011, La Russa turned to Cusumano to sound off about a player, triggering the trade that helped fuel the run to the World Series championship.

Additionally, he also has hosted the Pressbox radio program on KFNS for 25 years, and is a voter for the Heisman Trophy and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.

This from a St. Louis “kid” who was a basketball captain and All-District guard on De Smet Jesuit High School’s basketball team that won 63 consecutive games, including a 32-0 state championship season in 1979. He then was a standout at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

“Being a high school athlete in St. Louis, I knew how cool it was when a TV reporter came to our practices or games,” Cusumano said. “My goal every sportscast is to make it local, local, local.”

A sports fan since childhood — he hosted his own Brent Musburger mock radio show at 13 — it was Cusumano’s hustle during and after college that vaulted him into one of the nation’s premier media markets.

In college, he interned for KMOX’s Bob Costas and leaned on advice from St. Louis broadcaster Jay Randolph. Then, after two years working in Kingston, Tenn., Cusumano spent six years in Lexington, Ky.

Back then, he submitted stories for KSDK’s Sunday show “Sports Plus” thanks to Mike Bush, an anchor.

The gig paid only $100 a story, and yet Cusumano would drive his beat-up Pontiac Fiero to all parts of the Southeastern Conference for stories and then travel to St. Louis to deliver the tape. Sometimes, it was a 14-hour round trip.

Bush brought him home in 1993.

“When nobody would hire me and I wasn’t feeling good about everything, Mike is the one who believed in me,” Cusumano said. “I’ll never forget him calling and saying, ‘Pack your bags. You’re coming home.’”

Among his favorite stories:

Certainly, the Cardinals rallies – and David Freese’ home run – to win Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. But there was also Albert Pujols’ home run off the Astros’ Brad Lidge, Mark McGwire’s home run chase in 1998 and the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf.” And the late Rick Majerus when he turned Saint Louis University basketball into a winner again.

In April 2017, Cusumano received the Jack Buck Award from the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame. He also has been inducted into the halls of fame at De Smet and UMSL as well as the National Catholic Education Hall of Fame.

Cusumano, who also has won 20 Missouri Broadcasters Association awards, also thanks his wife, Monique for making his career a success. They are parents to sons Alex, Dominic and daughter Brooke – Division I athletes all.

“I didn’t look at this as a job,” Cusumano said of sports journalism. “I didn’t even look at this as a career. I looked at this as my passion. The only thing I ever wanted to do was talk about sports on television and radio in St. Louis.”