Three Seahawk veterans reflect on time on sports staff
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2012 23:05
Some people write sappy, farewell stories as their last articles. That ain’t me. Or at least that wasn’t the plan.
Two years ago, I was somehow handed the reins of The Seahawk sports section for reasons I’m still unsure of. Former editor-in-chief Jim Dallke gets my thanks for that. But it wasn’t easy. The near daily release of sports articles that you’ve grown accustomed to hasn’t always been the norm.
Recruiting may have been the most difficult. In my first year, the staff grew from one writer to five. Where’s my cookie? Then, the following year, the UNC Wilmington campus wasn’t as apprehensive. We grew to 19 staff members and were able to accomplish all of our pre-year goals. Every sport was covered, including more than a handful of club sports. “Sideline Scene,” our game story feature, was enhanced dramatically with more coverage than ever. And perhaps most impressive was that every sports staffer who contributed did so at least three times. That’s a lot of free labor, y’all.
I’m not in the business of ranking staff members, but Chad Graves and Mark Powell are up there. Chad, the assistant sports editor, joined the team as one of my first recruits more than a year and a half ago. I quickly elevated him from staff writer to his assistant position. I wish I could have promoted Mark from his slot as staff writer. He came to The Seahawk almost immediately after Chad. I’m grateful for the quality journalism these two pumped out on a regular basis.
So here’s the deal. We’re all seniors and veterans of the sports staff. Below, we’ve reflected on our time here. Enjoy.
- What's your favorite story ever written?
Tyler: Immediately, my extended feature story on Tanner Milson came to mind. That whole situation was a reminder not to take anyone for granted, and the way the Milson family responded to the tragedy was truly an inspiration. But I also enjoyed writing and spending several afternoons in the public records vault—at least it feels like one—researching and writing the investigation article about the UNCW swimming programs. Those guys and gals deserve a lot of recognition for all the success they’ve had.
Chad: I’m stuck between two stories here. First, I wrote an article titled “Feel my…navy?” where I interviewed coaches about how there seems to be less and less teal being used on newer uniforms. This is a big issue for UNCW. To get fans involved, we must be able to unify under at least one color. The second was a profile about the club ice hockey team and their successes over the past few years. Although only a club team, they put in a great deal of work and it has paid off for them.
Mark: I would have to say both of my features on women's basketball point guard Alisha Andrews. She's such a dynamic player and so small to be playing on the D-I level. That aspect made both stories fun to write and made for some good interviews.
- Who's your favorite coach to interview?
Tyler: This is tough. Really tough. My top three are Aidan Heaney (men’s soccer), Buzz Peterson (men’s basketball) and Dave Allen (swimming & diving). I’m settling on Heaney for three reasons, though.
- He was one of the few people who asked what he could do to help The Seahawk.
- He participated in a “The Seahawk Versus” penalty-kick challenge and may or may not have easily scored on me. Cut me some slack; he spent time in the MLS.
- He has an accent. Get him to say “quality.” If I could change my ringtone to him repeating that word over and over again, I wouldn’t hesitate.
Chad: Head coach of the baseball team Mark Scalf. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Scalf multiple times for baseball stories and game coverage. It is great to work with a coach that knows the game of baseball so well and has the winning record to prove it. Seeing how Scalf looks after all of his players is also great to see. You can tell he genuinely cares for everyone who plays for him.
Mark: Former women's basketball head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, without a doubt. She is so personable and entertaining. You never know what she might say next, but you always know she's going to be a good interview full of great, elaborate answers. She was definitely the easiest coach for me to interview. Coop will be missed.
- Who's your favorite player to interview?
Tyler: Can I say Mat Batts? I couldn’t settle on one, so this is a good place to give a shout out to one of the best pitchers on the baseball team and a key piece to The Seahawk sports staff. Besides, he has the greatest baseball name of all time.