I went to work for the Union-Bulletin on Sept. 1 of 1968, and my very first assignment was to interview Whitman College coach Roy Thompson at a practice field adjacent to Borleske Stadium for a story in the next day’s paper about the Missionaries’ football team.
A few days later, I met Felix Fletcher at the Wa-Hi campus and interviewed the legendary Blue Devils football coach for a preview story I wrote on that weekend’s game.
As I look back now after all of the years, I’m gratified to know that was a pretty impressive one-two punch to start out one’s daily newspaper journalism career.
With the exception of one hot summer spent in Phoenix, Ariz., in the early 1970s, I’ve worked for the Union-Bulletin ever since that first day of September in 1968. I’ve gone from part-timer to full-timer to sports editor and now, in my “Golden Years,” I’m once again on part-time status.
And enjoying every minute of it.
In this most recent — and last — role with the U-B, I get to write columns and feature stories on a regular basis, stories I never seemed to find the time to write as the lead person in the sports department. At the same time I am able to keep a hand in the daily operation of the paper by helping out whenever the staff is shorthanded or the workload is heavy.
My strength as a small-town sports journalist, as I see it, is that I know the territory. Sports traditions run deep in this valley, and I’ve been a first-hand observer over the past 45 years. I try to put this knowledge to good use whenever I can.
My wife Margaret and I have seven children, 20 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren who keep us busy. We also love to travel, which we are now able to do more often.
In my spare time, I’m a regular at the YMCA fitness center and a semi-regular on the golf course.
Having twice visited Europe in recent years, I have been blessed with some memorable moments.
After capturing the first conference title in school history, the 1979 WWCC football team returns to Walla Walla.
Steve Kizer coached football for 15 seasons at Walla Walla Community College, the last 10 as the Warriors’ defensive coordinator under Mike Levens.
Like Sweet Onions and fine wine, Tony Gwynn’s name is a point of pride in the Walla Walla Valley.
Baseball’s finer points — its history and traditions, its long-standing love affair with America’s sporting public — were examined recently in this space. Now for a rebuttal.
Who could have guessed?
The field of 117 men and 41 women take to the Walla Walla Country Club for the 54th annual tournament Thursday through Saturday.
Terry Cashman was a minor league ballplayer in the Detroit Tigers organization in the late 1950s and early ’60s. During that same time he doubled as the lead singer and songwriter for a rock band called the Chevrons.
Wa-Hi rallied for four runs and a two-run lead in the bottom of the first inning Saturday afternoon at Murr Field, then played add-on. Good thing.
Whitman men’s golf coach Peter McClure never intended to guide his team through the pitfalls of the 2013-14 Northwest Conference season with just four players on his roster.