It's been great, sports fans, but there comes a time in everyone's life to move on. And mine has come.
I've been with The Anne ArundelCounty Sun ever since it started as Arundel Living some 14 years ago, and I'm going to miss dearly the many friends and even enemies I'vemet along the way. Regretfully, this is my last Sidelines column because I have taken a radio job in the Midwest that I couldn't pass up.
As many of you know, I've been broadcasting local sports in Anne Arundel County for 13 years, the last 3 1/2 with WYRE-81 AM and WBEY,now WHVY (103 FM). While on a vacation to the Midwest last summer, Iauditioned at a couple of radio stations in the Kansas City area, and recently one of them made me an offer I could not refuse.
I've never been one to want to relocate and uproot my family, but this is such a great opportunity to work and live in the American heartland that I couldn't resist. So, within the next few weeks, the O'Malleys will be leaving for a new life and career.
Leaving here is not goingto be easy because in my opinion when it comes to local and amateur sports, Anne Arundel County has no peers. That's coming from a guy who has been in this business almost 22 years -- worked for the Baltimore News-American before coming to The Sun -- and who has coached and lived in this area even longer.
I do regret leaving The Anne Arundel County Sun at a time when some great changes are in the offing in the makeup of The Sun, changes you sports fans will love. Certainly Ihad hoped to be a part of it, but sometimes the unexpected happens.
Believe me, I didn't expect the opportunity I've gotten, and if you don't mind, I would like to take the rest of this space to say goodbye to a few people.
The Anne Arundel County sports program is thebest and much of the credit can go to Paul Rusko, the county coordinator of physical education. I'm going to miss Paul's candid, off the cuff remarks, his sense of humor and his decisiveness.
Some of theathletic directors I'm going to miss include Tim McMullen of Broadneck, Terry Bogle of Glen Burnie, James Gross of Meade, Bob Grimm of Northeast, Jim Haluck of South River, Tom Albright of Southern and Domenic Pachence of Archbishop Spalding.
I'll always remember McMullenas a real cutup, a guy who could always take a joke and who has always spoken highly of me.
Bogle, who along with ex-Arundel basketball coach Bill Zucco made leisure suits the attire for the well-dressedmentor, is a guy who has always gone out of his way to keep me abreast of Gopher sports. And to his credit, when I've been wrong, he never failed to have his wife, Kay, call me and chew me out.
Gross wasan unforgettable workaholic who retired before the start of this school year as Meade principal. A really thoughtful guy, he knew that former athletic director Butch Young was overworked, so when it came time to name a football coach, he relieved the burden for Butch, becameathletic director for one day and hired Hayse Henderson as coach.
Grimm will forever be etched in my memory as a man who religiously fought for improvements in his program and for his bosses, the school principals.
Haluck will be remembered as a great innovator who together with his new principal, Doc Hamilton, came up with an ingeniousvote of confidence for the entire South River coaching staff. They opened up all the coaching jobs at the school.
And Albright's gregarious style is unforgettable. The veteran Harwood hoops coach and athletic director always catered to the media and often went out of his way to provide information on his players and get them to photo sessions. He never complained.
Pachence, probably the most popular of local athletic directors, is a guy who has a way with people and knackfor finding you in a crowd just to say hello and see how the wife and kids are.
As for some of the coaches I have known that I will never forget, count the likes of Clint Gosnell (Arundel lacrosse), Bruce Springer (Broadneck girls basketball), Dave Rigot (Glen Burnie football), Elliott Harvey (Meade baseball), Wayne Mook (Severna Park boysbasketball), Lil Shelton ( Severna Park field hockey), Carol Taylor (Anne Arundel Community College volleyball), Paul Bunting (Old Mill basketball), Kenny Dunn (South River basketball and baseball) and DaveSummey (South River football).
That's not to mention the high school principals who held the athletic program hostage threatening to do away with night games unless they got a pay raise.
If I offendedany of you with my sometimes controversial style, please forgive me.I apologize, love all of you and will miss you all.
The great staff I worked with at The Anne Arundel County Sun prepared the following remarks from local sports types on my farewell.
From staff reports, here's what they're saying about Pat's resignation:
"I think it's the best thing that ever happened to county sports, because the guy was too nosy," said Paul Rusko, county coordinator of physical education. "Is that too controversial?"