Hello, Juneau

Posted: Friday, July 10, 2009

Well, after weeks of planning, 3,700 miles and a six-hour ferry ride, I'm here.

Finally.

I recently accepted the position of sports editor at the Juneau Empire, which is a long, long way from home. It feels like I'm in an entirely different country at times.

I am a Kentucky boy, born in Lexington at the University of Kentucky, which also happens to be my alma mater, class of 2006. I'm about as diehard a Wildcats fan as you will ever meet, and it's a good time to be true blue with the recent upward climb of our formerly moribund football program, our new basketball coach and his ridiculously fruitful recruiting haul.

It's absolutely true what they say about how seriously Kentuckians take their college hoops. Basketball is all consuming in the Bluegrass - along with horse racing and bourbon tasting - and college basketball is my favorite sport. We even have an Alaskan on campus in Ramon Harris, who played prep ball in Anchorage and was this state's 4A player of the year as a senior.

I've noticed a few interesting things in my first week here in Juneau. First, trying to find an overnight parking space near my downtown apartment is enough to make a man's hair turn gray. Well, if I had any hair.

Second, though coincidental, it's cool how the city was founded on gold nuggets, and Au just so happens to be the designation for gold on the periodic table of elements, as well the last two letters of the city name.

And third, I will probably never work in a nicer office building. I sat at my desk on Wednesday and watched as at least a dozen bald eagles flew around the little fishing pier right outside. The eagles were buzzing by the windows and for someone who has mostly only seen the majestic birds on TV, it's a bit mindboggling.

But getting to the point, I would like to talk a little about what my goals are for the sports section here at the Empire and how I plan to help serve Juneau.

You can expect nothing but the best, and that's a promise. Building relationships with the sporting community is my top priority, and that process has already begun. I was brought here because connecting with the people where I live and work is something I take veryseriously.

The coaches will see and hear so much from me during their respective seasons they'll probably get sick of seeing my face or hearing my voice on the telephone. But their players and teams will get the recognition and coverage they deserve, so it will be a fair tradeoff, I hope.

A good local sports section should provide readers with the type and quality of stories that pique their interests and celebrate the athletic accomplishments of locals, while mixing in important national stories, features, scores, standings and more.

I would like to encourage sports fans to contact me with story ideas, news tips or just to say hello and tell me what you would like to see more of in your sports section. It would help me hit the ground running so you can begin to see more local coverage in the immediatefuture.

Oh, there goes another bald eagle by the window. I could get used to this.

• Contact sports editor Shaun T. Cox at 523-2228 or at shaun.cox@juneauempire.com



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