A fond farewell to Clayton and Henry counties - Anthony Rhoads

Back in December of 1999, I came to the News Daily for a job interview with former managing editor Mitch Sneed.

On that day, when I sat down and talked with Mitch, it wasn't like a normal job interview; it was like visiting a long-lost friend. That shouldn't be surprising to anyone who knows Mitch because he is one of the friendliest, most affable people I've ever known in this business.

Not long after the interview, Mitch called me up on Christmas Day of 1999 and offered me a sports writer job here at the News Daily.

Not hesitating, I accepted and in January of 2000, I started my new job and I have been at the News Daily/Daily Herald ever since (except for a three-month brain lapse when I went back to being a news editor at a weekly newspaper).

I have had some good times here at the Daily; my last day here will be Friday as I am starting at the Newton Citizen in Covington on Monday as the new sports editor. I am definitely looking forward to the advancement in my career and am looking forward to working with a good group of people over there.

Even though I am excited about my new job, I am feeling a certain amount of sadness as well.

I have had the chance to cover a lot of memorable local sports events and have gotten to know a lot of good folks in both Clayton and Henry counties.

So many coaches in this area have been really great to work with over the years. I feel forturnate to have gotten to be around a lot of good coaches in the last five years. The vast majority of the coaches have been helpful to us here at the newspaper and have done whatever they could to help us in our coverage of local high school athletics. I am going miss being around these coaches in Clayton and Henry counties (there are a bunch of them so I am not going to list them all.)

Also, l have gotten to know some really good kids out there. Again, I'm not going to list all of them I have gotten to cover over the last five years because it would be a pretty extensive list.

Not long after starting at the News Daily, I covered my first NASCAR race. Before coming to the News Daily, I wasn't a racing fan but I got hooked on racing when I covered my first NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the spring of 2000. Since then I have covered every NASCAR race at speedway with the exception of one and I have covered Thursday Thunder, the speedway's summer racing series every year.

In the time that I have been here, AMS president Ed Clark and his staff have been wonderful to work with.

Don't forget about Thursday Thunder; Atlanta Motor Speedway's summer racing series has become my favorite sport to cover not just because of the racing action but because of drivers like Chris Dilbeck, Doug Stevens, Brian Meredith, Chris Cable and others.

I am also going to miss the staff at Clayton State University, especially sports information director Gid Rowell. Gid has been super to us over the years and has gone out of his way to help us with our Clayton State coverage. I also appreciate how accomodating Clayton State athletic director Mason Barfield and his coaching staff have been.

Of all the folks I have gotten to know over the years, I am going to really miss the folks I have had the chance to work with here. First on the list is sports editor Doug Gorman. Doug hasn't just been my editor for the last five years, he's become one of my best friends. We've made a good team and that's been evident as the News Daily/Daily Herald sports department has won more than 10 various awards in the last five years.

There are other challenges that await me in my life and I am ready to move on but I won't ever forget working here because of all the fine folks in the community and here at the News Daily.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for the Daily and can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com (until Friday).