Today, I smile. Not having a fulltime Sports Editor at the Pleasanton Express is not fun for the team here at the newspaper, for the sports teams locally nor the community.
But, my oh my has it been worth the wait.
I tried hiring Angelo State University journalism grad and former two-time All-Conference ASU punter Sam Fowler back in June after he had contacted me in late May. I knew after meeting him though that whatever I offered him, his boss at San Angelo Live would counter. And, he did. Sam called me to say how much he wanted to come to Atascosa County, but his boss made him an offer he could not refuse. Additionally, he said that he had already fallen in love with the stories he would be writing for the 2019- 2020 season where five teams had the potential to make it to state.
To say I was downhearted was putting it mildly, but I was also happy for him. I, without enthusiasm, wrote a sports editor job post and put it out in the journalism job search universe. The response was overwhelming and the selection excellent. But, yet the fit was not 100 percent.
Sam checked all the boxes of a 21st-century Sports Editor. He is a “hungry” journalist. He lives, sleeps and breaths sports. He has been reading the newspaper sports pages since he was eight years old. He can break a sports story digitally with the immediacy it deserves while capturing the heartbeat of the players and the play. I watched in real-time as he broke a story when I interviewed him in Austin, June 8. Sam was there to cover 3-A state contender Wall in baseball. The game which they won finished about 12:30 p.m. Sam posted a helluva of a story about their win by 1:15 and made it across town to meet with me by 2:00. His post by the time he pulled up for the interview had received 228 reactions. Within minutes of meeting him, I knew he excelled at establishing relationships and connections with coaches, players, sports team parents and the community.
Thankfully, Sam after further consideration of having already covered 209 games and seven UIL state championships in the San Angelo region reconsidered the Pleasanton Express’ offer. His desire to be closer to his father in Houston and the appeal of Atascosa County called him. He asked if the job was still his. I said 100 percent yes.
Sam will be leading with digital-first sports stories as they happen but will also liven up our Wednesday sports section with his words and photos. He is an experienced sports broadcaster and will be conducting video interviews with AD’s, coaches and players. He also loves covering rodeo as sports which for our cowboy heritage here is most excellent news.
I know Sam is going to give Atascosa County the local sports coverage it deserves.
His first column appears on the Sport’s front page and tells the story of his moniker. Look for him in the community. He is very approachable and has a big and friendly presence. Watch for his breaking stories on our Pleasanton Express Facebook with 15.2K followers and on our website at www.pleasantonexpress.com which received 18K unique visitors last week. We hope you were one of them.
NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher/Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.