Thursday, April 19, 2012

Driven by Doc: Tarleton loses its voice

Courtesy Tarleton Sports

From Brad Keith, Stephenville Empire Tribune
To many, Dr. Ron Newsome was a coach. To many more, a teacher. And to still many more, the voice of Tarleton.

Nothing is more recognizable on a college campus than its sports, and Dr. Newsome was the most audible part of that recognition Tarleton ever had.

It's why he's the Sports Doctor, and why he'll forever be a beloved part of Tarleton history.
It is not for us to judge or even know a man based on the struggles of his life on Earth, but we can take joy in the good things he has brought.
Ron Newsome brought many good moments to those who love Tarleton.
Newsome broadcast with the same zeal for life he used in the classroom, the practice fields or on the golf course with some of his closest friends. I'm sure it's the same zeal he employed "back when (he) was coaching," a time of his life we've all heard recounted through the years over the airwaves.
Newsome broadcast some of the biggest moments in the history of Tarleton sports.
Remember the kick? Garrett Lindholm's 64-yard field goal to force overtime in Tarleton's 2009 national playoff win over rival A&M-Kingsville? Doc was there.
How about the war? The end of a season-long series of intense battles between Tarleton and A&M-Commerce that reached a fever pitch before the Texans won a thriller in the regional final to reach their first Elite Eight in 2005? Doc was there.
The win? The 2001 Tarleton football team upending No. 3 Chadron State (Neb.) on the road for the school's first-ever NCAA playoff win in any sport? There was Doc, exiting the press box through the home bleachers full of Chadron fans shocked into total silence.
Those are just a few of the significant sports moments the Sports Doctor was responsible for putting into words for all to hear. For two to three hours on any given afternoon or night, the university would quite literally hand the man the keys to its image and say, "Drive us home, Doc."
And drive he did. Sometimes fast with a lot of excitement, speaking quickly and loudly. I can hear his voice coming out the radio booth and down the hall of the press box clear as day as Scott Grantham or Nick Stephens throws a long touchdown pass to Devin Guinn or Clifton Rhodes.
And Doc could drive slow, with just the right enunciation and voice inflection to drive a deliberate statement home.
The knowledge Doc Newsome held as a former coach and university athletics administrator, as well as his strong, often edgy personality, made him the ideal fit in the world of radio, just as I'm sure it did in the world of coaching before I was blessed to make his acquaintance.
More than 10 years ago, a kid barely out of high school thought radio sounded cool and was given the opportunity to work with Doc. I assure you the kid was much more excited than the Sports Doctor.
The two broadcast games together for five years, and the kid learned more about college sports from Newsome than he thought he would ever know. He also learned a lot about Tarleton from a man whose love for the institution and for higher learning in general stretched from Stephenville to Commerce - where he was also loyal for many years to A&M-Commerce - and beyond this state's lines.
That kid went his own way, but kept the things he learned from the Sports Doctor about sports, media, education and Tarleton close at heart. That kid is me, and the Sports Doctor played a significant role in how I approach covering Erath County sports every day.
Doctor Newsome was opinionated. He was critical. He could even be harsh at times.
But more than any of that, Doc was passionate, loyal and a great ambassador for all things Tarleton and all things academic.
"Back when (he) was coaching," I'm sure the world was a much better place.
Now that he's gone, it feels a little worse.

Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports

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