I’m a Southern boy but its more complicated than that. My dad was a Yankee, born and raised in Pennsylvania, and my mom was from South Carolina. Somehow out of that mix came a sports-loving, independent thinker.
What I lacked in athletic skill I made up for with unyielding determination.
I love all sports and dabbled in all of the American staples from a young age before settling on soccer, which I played at the University of South Carolina. That’s where I found my niche off the field when I ventured from the School of Business to the School of Journalism.
My career stops have included Beaufort, S.C., Bradenton, Fla., Fort Myers, Fla., St. Petersburg, Fla., Spartanburg, S.C., Anderson, S.C., Tallahassee, Fla., and Evansville, Ind. The last three are places I served as sports editor.
I’ve primarily covered colleges in the ACC, SEC and Big Ten but my career highlights include covering the 1994 World Cup, the 1996 Olympics, three Super Bowls, three college football championship games, The Masters and covering breaststroke queen Lilly King’s rise as an Olympic gold medalist. In all I’ve covered 19 college football bowl games, dozens of NCAA basketball tournaments, two women’s Final Fours, a combined eight men’s and women’s soccer College Cups, spent seven years writing about the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the old North American Soccer League and I once sat in a golf cart with Jan Stephenson.
Six months after beginning my career as a one-man sports staff in Beaufort, S.C., I was named the 1976 Sigma Delta Chi Rookie Journalist of the Year in South Carolina by the Society of Professional Journalists. And perhaps fittingly, I closed out 41 years of working for newspapers by placing in two categories in the SPJ’s 2016 Best of Indiana writing contest — finishing second in sports columns and third in sports writing.
In between were wins in soccer writing contests sponsored by organizations like the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and the Professional Soccer Reporters Association (PSRA). For a guy who played college soccer, it couldn’t get much better than that. Or so I thought.
But as I learned, its even more special to be recognized by a broader cross section of your peers. That’s come in state press association contests in South Carolina, Florida and Indiana.
And then there are the numerous section and writing honors from the Associated Press Sports Editors, primarily won with the hard work of my staffs in Anderson and Tallahassee. Heck, there was even one top 10 APSE finish for me in columns. We take what we can get, right?
Now its on to the next chapter, which I’m still trying to figure out.
If you’ve got some ideas (or job offers), I’m willing to listen.
Meanwhile, if this connection stands the test of time, here is a link to my last blog site with the Evansville Courier & Press. I hope to preserve it, if for no other reason than my own walk down memory lane.