Effective communication and the ability to develop positive relationships have led to an enjoyable 13 months at Unified Newspaper Group.
Now, I’m looking forward to taking those qualities with me to a new environment in a new city.
Today is my last day as UNG’s sports editor. This fall, I will be an eighth grade writing teacher at Lewis & Clark Middle School in Jefferson City, Missouri.
The primary reason for my moving is the opportunity to live with my girlfriend Emily, who works in Jefferson City as the Missouri Chief Capitol Bureau Reporter for eight TV stations across the Show-Me State. We’ve had a long-distance relationship for almost four years now and are excited to live together on the south edge of Columbia – home to the University of Missouri.
While I’m nervous to start my new profession, the challenge of getting eighth graders ready to write in high school and beyond is very exciting. It will be a joy imparting the lessons I’ve learned as a journalist onto the next generation of writers.
All of this doesn’t mean I won’t miss Madison and its surrounding communities. It’s been an honor to tell the stories of student-athletes from Verona, Oregon, Stoughton, Madison West and Madison Edgewood.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to cover girls golf, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls hockey, individual wrestling and team wrestling at the state tournament level. Assistant sports editor Mark Nesbitt and I were looking forward to covering the Oregon girls basketball team at the Division 2 state tournament, but COVID-19 had other ideas.
It was also a pleasure to take in a handful of Home Talent baseball games last summer. My family and I watched our cousins play for Sun Prairie back in the day, so the chance to cover games brought back lots of good memories.
Many thank you’s are in order – first to my colleagues at UNG. All of you have been wonderful to work with and be around. The communities we serve are incredibly fortunate to have you telling their stories.
To Mark Nesbitt, thank you for being an absolute joy to work alongside. I always viewed us as equals – sports editors – no matter the difference in our titles. I’m so proud of the work we’ve done the last 13 months.
To my boss, Jim Ferolie, thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead this department. You gave me the keys to the car, but were always there when I needed guidance. You were patient when I got upset and receptive to my new ideas, which I appreciate more than you know. The leadership qualities you fostered will go to good use.
Thanks to the athletic directors I worked with – Verona’s Joel Zimba, Oregon’s Mike Carr, Stoughton’s Mel Dow, Edgewood’s Chris Zwettler and West’s Alicia Pelton. You made my job so much easier thanks to open and honest communication. It’s been amazing to watch you all work so selflessly for the benefit of your student-athletes, especially during this difficult time.
Finally, thank you to the coaches and athletes I had the opportunity to cover and interview. Your success made work not feel like work.
So I’m getting out of the journalism business on a full-time basis, but not entirely. I’ll be freelancing for UNG from afar, as well as covering local high school sports for the Columbia Daily Tribune and Jefferson City News Tribune.
I’d like to leave you with two pieces of advice.
First, support your local student-athletes in-person (when local health guidelines allow you to do so). I went to a high school with 100 kids and we had better attendance at football and basketball games than Verona (2020-21 enrollment of 1,668), Oregon (1,161), Stoughton (978), Madison West (2,213) and Edgewood (485). All of these schools have great programs that deserve great backing.
Finally, if you subscribe to one or more of our publications, thank you for supporting quality journalism. If you have friends or family that don’t subscribe, please encourage them to do so. All of UNG’s work is essential to the communities we serve.