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New writer favors sports of all seasons

New writer favors sports of all seasons
New writer favors sports of all seasons
George Browning

When the folks at O’Bannon Publishing Co. asked me my favorite sport to cover, it didn’t take long to come up with an answer: “Whatever season it is!”

It’s that love for sports that has kept me connected in one way or another to Southern Indiana sports for the past two decades. Sports is a passion of mine and I will be bringing that, along with an extensive amount of experience, to the role of sports writer to O’Bannon Publishing.

I am a Louisville native, who never really considered journalism as a possible career. In fact, the long-term plan was to get a degree in marketing from the University of Louisville with a dream to one day design commercials.

That career choice started to change one beautiful fall afternoon in 1994 when I noticed a flyer on a bulletin board in the Student Activity Center at U of L. The flyer read, “Can you write? Want to get into sporting events for free? Come see us at The Louisville Cardinal.”

My sole motivation for taking the elevator that day to The Louisville Cardinal office was to get more information about getting into games for free. My first editor, Lane Gold, who now handles the media at major horse races and PGA events, sent me to do a feature story on a senior soccer player.

It took three interviews with this player and about five rewrites. I felt such a sense of accomplishment when I saw my first byline in print.

I spent the next two years at U of L covering the volleyball and women’s basketball teams. I also occasionally wrote feature stories for football and men’s basketball. My biggest story was a feature about Sam Madison, who went on to be an NFL All-Pro safety with the Miami Dolphins. I bumped into him at U of L after he retired and he told me that story I wrote about him is still in his grandma’s scrapbook.

I left school with plans to go back once things in my personal life settled down. Things eventually settled down, but, by then, my wife and I had three kids and the going back to school thing never happened. I thought my days as a reporter were done forever. After a few years of working at an entry-level marketing position, a journalism opportunity opened for me at Leader Publishing Co. in Salem. From 2001 to 2009, I covered some news, but mostly sports, in Washington County.

In 2009, I left Leader Publishing and accepted a managing editor position at Green Banner Publications in Pekin. I remained there until the company went out of business in May of 2018.

Since that time, I’ve been serving as a part-time pastor at New Hope United Methodist Church in Salem and doing some freelance work with a couple of media outlets, including hosting my own radio show called “Kentuckiana Sports Talk.”

I am excited to get back in the journalism field on a more permanent basis by covering sports in Harrison, Crawford and Floyd counties.

All of the schools in the O’Bannon Publishing coverage area have rich sports traditions and offer lots of angles in which to tell the stories of the people and events that take place. I told you my first story was a profile story and, all these years later, those are still my favorite ones to write.

As for getting to know my way around, my family has deep roots in Harrison County. My wife, Tonya, grew up in Lanesville and we attended Lanesville Christian Church (formerly New Life Christian) for five years before leaving to enter into the part-time ministry. We have three grown kids, with one still at home. In July, our oldest daughter gave birth to a daughter of her own and we have since spent most of our free time spoiling our first granddaughter with lots of love.

I’ve already covered my first game; that story appears in this newspaper. I was as nervous as I was when I walked up to that soccer player all those years ago. However, by the end of the first quarter, it was all coming back.

As you see me out and about in the coming days and weeks, please don’t hesitate to stop me and introduce yourself. I am looking forward to meeting as many people as I can and continuing to provide the award-winning sports coverage readers have become accustomed to seeing on these pages.