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.
WALLA WALLA — Spokane is favored to win its second consecutive men’s title here beginning this morning when the NWAACC Championships golf tournament tees off at Veterans Memorial Golf Course.
WALLA WALLA — A couple of weeks ago, Mike Rostollan was worried that he might have to move today’s opening round of the NWAACC Championships golf tournament to a different venue. Veterans Memorial Golf Course, where the 36-hole tournament commences this morning, was in deplorable condition. Fairways and greens were shaggy, and roughs were overgrown and almost impossible to escape with any kind of decent ball advance.
WALLA WALLA — A couple of weeks ago, Mike Rostollan was worried that he might have to move today’s opening round of the NWAACC Championships golf tournament to a different venue.
WALLA WALLA — Baseball lost a true friend and a great ambassador last week when Tom Lewis died at his home in Bellingham. He was 78.
WALLA WALLA — Dean Derby is a great storyteller, and Bill Till is one of his favorite subjects.
WALLA WALLA — You can be sure Kyle Bankhead will be in Gonzaga’s corner Thursday afternoon when the Bulldogs open NCAA tournament play against Southern University in Salt Lake City.
The WWCC women suffer a tournament-ending 75-70 loss to the Penguins Monday at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
KENNEWICK — Walla Walla co-captains Caitlin Duncan and Hailey Felgenhauer put their team on their collective backs here Saturday night in the Toyota Center and carried the Warriors to a 71-57 victory over Southwest Oregon in the first round of the NWAACC Championships women’s basketball tournament.
WALLA WALLA — Bobbi Hazeltine professes to be superstitious when it comes to some things — broken mirrors and black cats, perhaps — but not necessarily the number 13.
WALLA WALLA — The competitor in Dave Meliah yearns for an Eastern Region title and a return to the NWAACC Championships for the first time since 2007 when he was an assistant coach and Mike Cummins was in charge of Walla Walla Community College’s baseball fortunes.