Editor’s Note: More on Ed Peak from the man who knows him best, Ed Peak. I first met Ed while we were young sportswriters at the Courier-Journal; he was part of the Friday night high school sports crew, I was on the copy desk. He reminisces about some of the high and low points along the way of a 50-year-plus career of covering local sports.
By Ed Peak
I have been involved in reporting sports since my freshman year of high school. That’s 50 years. I take pride in reporting the facts. I try not to slant the news right or left.
Taking solace that in all my years I have never once jumped out of my seat in a press box to show my emotions for a team I was covering with a loud yahoo. I have never withheld information about a team or individual. Good or bad. I learned old school.
I was covering a Kentucky Colonels basketball game for my college newspaper, The Quadrangle, of Jefferson Community College. The late Earl Cox, then Sports Editor of The Courier-Journal sat next to me. He said to me.”Ed, how would you like to work at the C-J taking high school games on weekends over the telephone. We pay well.”
I jumped at the chance. The C-J was one of the top newspapers in the country at the time. I got to work with one of the greatest Prep Sportswriters in Bob White. I got to work with Dave Kindred, Dick Fenlon, Billy Reed. Mike Sullivan, Tev Lauderman, Jim Bolus, Russ Brown, Ron Coons, Johnny Carrico, Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford just to name a few. I learned from some of the best.
About the same time, 1972, Wayne Perkey, asked if I would do a high school “Game of the Week” for his morning radio show on WHAS 840. I was also asked to help with the Saturday, “Telescore84” scoreboard show that preceded University of Kentucky football games. It was all sports scores and information. I was very fortunate to have these gigs. I learned a lot and appreciate all the help along the way. I learned to be “Fair and Balanced”.
I still freelance for the Associated Press in covering sports in Kentucky. I worked with AP staffer Mike Embry for many years. He told me, “Eddie, we’re not covering the game for Louisville or Kentucky or whom ever they are playing. We’re covering the game for everyone.” I took solace in that.
Jim O’Connell, the main College Basketball Writer for the AP once told me. “I don’t root for teams. I root for good stories.”
Agreed. I’ll admit it’s a lot easier to go into a post game news conference or dressing room covering a winning team. But there are two sides to every story. You have to cover the losing team as well.
I’ve been in some tough losing dressing rooms covering The University of Louisville. In football during Howard Schellenberger’s first season,1985, the Cardinals were embarrassed by 1-AA Eastern Kentucky Univesity in the season finale 45-21. Myself and a reporter from The Louisville Cardinal were the only reporters in Schellenberger’s post game press conference.
The student reporter asked the question….”What good did your team get out of this game”? Schnellenberger looked at the student reporter started to get up and walk away. He mumbled to himself then said…”I better answer that,” said Schellenberger. “I hope this is rock bottom.”
Fast forward two seasons to 1987. The Cardinals were blasted by Southern Mississippi 65-6 and a week later beaten by 1-AA Marshall, 34-31. A last second touchdown cost the Cardinals a win. In 1989, Southern Mississippi’s Brett Favre, shocked the Cardinals, with a long last second touchdown pass that bounced off the helmet of a Cardinals defender. John L. Smith coached Cardinals lost a wacky game to Southern Miss at home in 1999 that cost them a Conference USA championship.
There were positive things to cover along the way, including a milestone Fiesta Bowl win over Alabama. A win over Michigan State in the Liberty Bowl. Wins over BYU and Boise State in the Liberty Bowl. A Bobby Petrino coached team won the Orange Bowl and Charlie Strong had a Sugar Bowl win over Florida.
There are three losses that stand out during the Petrino years. A triple overtime loss at West Virginia in 2005, at Rutgers in 2006 and a home loss to rival Kentucky at Cardinal Stadium when the Cardinals were driving for the go ahead score only to fumble and lose by a field goal.
Those were tough losses for Louisville fans to swallow. But games that had to be reported without bias.