A fireside chat with your 2014 president, Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

(Ed. Note:  Executive Director Steve Richardson recently asked Kirk Bohls several questions about his life and a couple of topics so we could get to know him better.)

ATHLETIC BACKGROUND:  “I am a Taylor Duck (High School is 29 miles northeast of Austin) once and forever. I played every sport they had at Taylor, including football where I played Monster Man (strong safety) and was a 150-pound terror — at least in my mind. I also broke my neck in the first half of our homecoming game against Rockdale (we won) and played the entire second half. You can’t get much more stupid than that.”

WORK HISTORY:  “It can be summed up pretty simply. I graduated from the University of Texas in May 1973, went to work for the Austin American-Statesman that same month after coming within an hour of taking a job in Lubbock at the Avalanche Journal. I have been there ever since. My first year on the Texas beat was Darrell Royal’s last year. We broke the OU spying story the week of the 1976 OU game, and that’s still the most memorable Texas-OU game ever. My first year on the Texas baseball beat was 1977. Texas won the national championship. I’m thinking these beats are kind of cool. I think I’ll stick around. Some 40 years later…”

strong>AWARDS/BOOKS:  “I’ve won a number of Associated Press Awards and I bribed enough people to vote for me to become Texas Sportswriter of the Year in 2011 and 2012. I have co-authored two books with John Maher, A Longhorn History and Bleeding Orange, of which I’m especially proud. Amazing the words you can get in a book and not in a newspaper.”

TEACHING/ RADIO BACKGROUND ON THE SIDE: “I taught college journalism at Texas State, then Southwest Texas State, for 13 years, teaching classes in reporting, editing, feature writing, investigative reporting and sports writing. One of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, which is good because they didn’t pay me squat. I teamed up with Ed Clements in a daily talk radio show in the ’90s. Don’t kid yourself if you don’t think that’s work. Maybe I was doing it wrong.”

HOBBIES: “I don’t really have time for hobbies. I love to walk. I played tennis forever and want to get back on the court. I read everything I can get my hands on and lean toward David Baldacci and Michael Connelly books. I like to solve things. I’m a movie king. I write a weekly movie review in my Monday 9 Things column and grade it via so many ducks.”

FAMILY:  “I have a beautiful, talented and incredibly creative wife, Vicki, who gave up her acting career to be my wife, and I have three terrific kids. They’re mostly terrific because they no longer live at home. Ryan is a Texas grad and a highly successful commercial real estate broker for Jones Lang LaSalle, formerly owned by Roger Staubach. John Tyler, a Texas Tech grad, works as a senior account manager for Printglobe in Austin and is engaged with an August wedding in Minneapolis. He and gorgeous and smart fiancée Lindsay met when they were both studying abroad in Rome. Zachary, our youngest, just graduated from Texas Tech after working three years as Raider Red and winning the National Mascot of the Year in 2012. We’re very proud of all three. My wife and I love to travel. We’ve been to Paris and Rome as well as Jackson Hole and everywhere in the U.S. and want to see more of the world.  My wife doesn’t follow sports unless Zachary is a mascot at the game.”

FAVORITE GAME COVERED:  “I’ll never cover a more dramatic game than the Texas-USC Rose Bowl classic in January 2006. It was the perfect ending to a perfect game. I’ll never forget an exuberant linebacker Aaron Harris trying to cart off one of those heavy, triangular yard markers before he was told no.”

VIEW OF THE PROFESSION:  “Even though I’m a columnist and have been since 1994, I consider myself a reporter first and foremost. I love breaking stories. As I always tell my long-time tennis partner, Larry Carlson, ‘I love to beat people.’ My role models were the incomparable Blackie Sherrod (1963 FWAA President and 1985 Bert McGrane Winner) and the late Jim Murray. I loved their senses of humor. If not for them — I was the weird kid who actually read newspapers as a teenager — I’d probably be a lawyer. Thank you, Blackie.”

FAVORITE INTERVIEW: “My favorite interview is Charles Barkley, mainly because I only had to ask one question to get him going, and former Texas basketball coach Abe Lemons, who made me laugh and cry at every press conference.”

FOOTBALL’S THREATENING ISSUES:  “ I think concussions are the premier issue facing college football and could threaten the game as we know it. Football at all levels must spare no expense to exhaustively research this issue and make it as safe a game as possible. The stakes are too high not to.”

FUTURE OF THE NEWS PROFESSION:  “I do fear that newspapers will go online in the near future, probably in the next five to 10 years, and it saddens me greatly. You lose so much when you can’t hold a newspaper in your hands, notice the placement of the stories and size of the headlines, reflecting the news judgment attached to those stories and read an entire paper as I do daily. On the good side, you can write forever online, and I am nothing if not long-winded.”