It's late at night and I'm sitting here at my computer in my office like I have so many times over the past three years. I'm burning the 'midnight oil' once again. It's the end of an era of sorts, but one which I look back on and smile when I think of all the great memories and friendships I've built.
As of today, Thursday, June 21, 2012, I'm officially ceasing operations of PineyWoodsSports.com and parent company Shelby County Leader. The site will continue to appear online for fans to purchase photos, but it will no longer be updated.
Earlier this week I accepted a position with NAIA institution Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. I'm starting there on July 1 as the college's Director of Sports Information, a position I'm so excited to begin that I can hardly stand it.
I have 13 years experience in sports information in my 32-year professional career. I held a similar position with Rockford College (D-III) and the Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference in Illinois in the late 1990s to early 2000s. I also held a Director of Sports Information job at Salisbury University (D-III) in Maryland for two years where I was blessed to be able to be a part of four national championship teams.
I thought I would be saddened by leaving PineyWoodsSports.com. I have put my blood, sweat and tears into this company for the past three-plus years, working as many as 90 hours a week most of the time. I've built some great friendships over that time and developed some very loyal readers. To those who have followed me almost religiously, I say 'thank you' from the bottom of my heart.
But, sadly, readership on the internet doesn't pay the bills. And even though I've been able to stay in business by selling my stories to area newspapers and websites, advertising interest never developed. I've prayed about this decision and feel, without a doubt, that God is leading me into this new venture.
I'm going to a college in the foothills Ozark Mountain Region, to a beautiful campus with great coaches, energized fans and dedicated student-athletes. Lyon College is joining the American Midwest Conference as of July 1, so I feel like it's the perfect time for me to come aboard.
The Christian college's enrollment has risen 30 percent over the past three years and the institution is preparing to open a new 44,000 square foot student center next month that cost $9.3 million. It's exciting times at Lyon and I'm proud to becoming part of it.
We all have chapters in our lives and I've always looked at each of the chapters in my life with a positive attitude, knowing that God is leading the way for me. This time, more than ever, I know He will mark my path as I try to do my part to enhance the athletic department at LC.
I have forged many friendships and seen many state individual and team titles in the last six years that I've been back in East Texas. I'll never forget the back-to-back-to-back Class 3A D-II state football titles for Carthage or the Tenaha Tigers' 2011 Class 1A D-II football championship. There have been a number of other athletes who won individual state tiles and others that have come close.
But what I'll miss the most is the friendships that I've built in my time here. There have been so many coaches, players and fans that have come to know me and I've been blessed to know you. And even though I'll never be more than an email, text message or phone call away, it won't be quite the same. You can still reach my cell phone at (936) 332-9332 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish you all nothing but the best. If you have sports to report in Shelby County, you can report the information to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. In Panola County you can send it to email@example.com.
It's been a great ride and a part of my life that I will hold dear. You can look me up on the Lyon College Athletics website (www.lyonscots.com) to see how I'm doing, and please don't hesitate to contact me.
Thank you again for your enthusiasm, support, and most of all, your great friendships.
Until we meet again....
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