(Not so) forgotten friends
Late last night when I was mentioning all the friends I am fortunate to have in my life, I left out way too many.
Herb Vincent, the longtime LSU administrator who now works at the Southeastern Conference office in Birmingham, has not only been a friend, but a mentor who taught me the importance of hard work, but also had my back when I needed someone on my side. He had to let me go after my first semester at LSU, but it was a lesson I needed to learn, and he taught me in the most professional and most gentle way possible. No yelling, no name calling, just a firm, fair talk. Two months after he let me go, he really helped me out of throny situation, one which almost got me kicked out of LSU. He had to get on me many more times, but he did it because he wanted me to succeed.
Michael Bonnette, Herb’s successor as LSU sports information director, also had to kick my butt more than a few times. Like Herb, he also did it because he wanted me to be at my best and to do the best possible job I could. We had our falling out after I moved to Kansas, but lucky for me, we repaired that relationship.
Wendy Wall came to work in the sports information office in March 1997. We quickly bonded, and that’s what makes her absence from my life very tough on me. I cry about it sometimes. She and her husband Sid are just such wonderful people. I hope we will reconnect one day.
As for Kansas, I left a lot of people out.
Of course, I forgot about the lovely Dusin clan of Phillipsburg: Al, Stephanie, Lindsay, Jeff, Michael and Mattison. They were the first from Phillipsburg to befriend me when I moved to Kansas. I’m very grateful for that. I’m also indebted to Terra Keeten, the Panther volleyball coach who has always made me feel welcome.
Speaking of volleyball coaches, Nick Linn at Smith Center has always been someone I can turn to. His players are so polite, so well-mannered, and very friendly. I got to know two, Deb (Fricker) Hanson and Rebekah (Burgess Miller) during my first years in Kansas. I’ve been fortunate to also know Sarah (Tucker) Linn (not related to Nick), McKenzie and Sydney Benoit, Ellie (Albert) Stansbury and Kaitlin Albert, Lynzee Mace, Addison Kingsbury, Tangie and Cheyanne Hileman…the list goes on.
I was fortunate to get the chance to call Smith Center volleyball matches for the school district’s cable television channel for a few years. Allan Dunnvan and Greg Hobelmann gave me that opporutnity and have been good friends. So have superintendent Ron Meitler and principal Greg Koelsch.
The Smith Center coaches are all first rate and all have been very good to me: Mike Rogers, Brock Hutchinson, Tim Wilson, Darren Sasse, and the living legends, Dennis “Big Hutch” Hutchinson and Roger Barta.
Between Smith Center and Phillipsburg lies Kensington, and two of my favorite people, Don Wiens and Sheila Bogart, have made my experiences with Thunder Ridge very enjoyable, as has John Boden.
I forgot a few people in Norton, too. Wrestling coach Bill Johnson has always taken the time to make sure I have everything I need when I come to cover his team. I miss Doug Ray and his daughter Amanda greatly. I will greatly miss Greg Mann, the Norton superintendent who is good for high school athletics and just plain good for education in Kansas, period. I really, really miss former Norton AD Larry Mills, as his lovely daughters Hannah Broeckelman and Sophie.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my colleagues at Main Street Media: Albert Lin, Frank and Elaine Mercer, Elizabeth Wisehart, David and Myra Thompson, Terri Ryan, Shelly Twenter, Amy Hoss and Joe Gonzales and the press room. I probably drive them nuts, but they’ve really helped me, as have former colleagues Susan Shank, Cindy Reed and of course Diann Bills, eldest child of Jack and Kathy Krier and sister of Jamie Krier.
Brittany, Liz, Shannon and everyone else at Buffalo Wild Wings have made me realize I do have people who support me. As has Crista.