Barbara Caywood retired in 2005 after 21 years as the prep sports editor for the Florida Today newspaper in Melbourne. Her passion for covering the more than 20 high schools in Brevard County have made her a favorite of coaches and athletes alike.
Caywood, a native of Harrisonburg, Va., graduated from Ocala High School in 1955. She attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex., and took a job as the sports editor of the Ocala Star-Banner upon graduation in 1959. In 1960, she moved to Kansas to become the assistant sports editor of the Hutchinson News, where she remained for 24 years. She was the first female sports writer in Florida and Kansas, and only the third in the nation.
In 1984, Caywood returned to Florida, this time to Melbourne and Florida Today as the prep sports editor. Over the next 21 years, she forged her own unique relationship with the student-athletes of Brevard County, going beyond box scores and game results to feature the personalities of the athletes and coaches she wrote about. They call her “Ms. Caywood”; she calls them “my children.”
Caywood’s contributions did not go unnoticed. In 1986, she was named the National AAU Media Person of the Year for her coverage of youth sports. At the South Orlando Kiwanis banquet in 2001, she was presented with the Bob Davis Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to High School Football, and was greeted with a standing ovation from the Brevard County athletes present. Caywood also received the 2003 Hartwell Conklin Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to High School Track & Field, as well as a Florida Sports Writers Association third-place rating for her coverage of a former high school player’s NFL Draft experience.
Caywood is a resident of Indian Harbour Beach. She has one son, Kurt, who is a sports columnist for the Topeka Capital-Journal in Kansas, and two grandchildren.