Well, this is it, ladies and gentlemen — my last byline in The State Press.
I wrote more than 320 articles for The State Press. I can’t even count how many miles I’ve traveled to cover away games. As an editor, I spent hundreds of hours in the newsroom and had several nights where I had to stay from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. My GPA should be a lot higher than it is now.
In case you missed it, I announced on May 2 via Twitter that I was leaving The State Press after six semesters (which is relatively a long time for a student) to pursue opportunities related to my sports business major in my final year. Since then, walking away from the paper has been the second-hardest thing I’ve had to do in college (the hardest being trying to pass microeconomics).
I still remember how excited I was when I first joined The State Press. I was hired as an assistant sports editor immediately after high school, where I spent three years writing for my school newspaper. I remember being inspired by reading what kind of events the sportswriters before me covered and where they traveled for away games, knowing I would be in their position one day.
I definitely experienced a lot more than I had expected.
My tenure with The State Press is special because I’ve seen the paper transform several times that only a handful of other staffers fully experienced with me. In my first semester in fall 2011, the paper got a redesign from the traditional broadsheet format to the newsmagazine style that you read now. Prior to fall 2012, the website also got a cleaner look. I saw The State Press go through one last major change when it reduced print circulation from daily to once a week with a bigger emphasis on digital content. I was a sports editor during all of those changes.
Being out in the field as a beat writer for the ASU football and men’s basketball teams was even crazier.
I covered James Harden at USA Basketball’s training camp in Las Vegas prior to the 2012 Olympics and interviewed my idol, Kobe Bryant, about Harden. I got to visit and tour my dream stadium, AT&T Stadium in Dallas, when I covered the ASU-Notre Dame football game last October. I witnessed Jahii Carson’s phenomenal 40-point performance in Las Vegas last November. I dodged inadvertent elbows in the middle of ASU football’s celebration after beating UCLA to clinch the Pac-12 South title just four days later and I stood just yards away when I watched the ASU men’s basketball bench collapse after losing in the NCAA Tournament in March.
I’ll also remember some small but enjoyable events, like when Todd Graham called me Superman during one practice for wearing the emblem, or when Alden Darby poked fun at me after ASU beat UA in football for my Iron Man phone case or navigating Los Angeles and Dallas with my fellow beat writers.
Both the football and men’s basketball teams finished with one of their most memorable seasons in 2013-14, and I’ll forever cherish the fact I was part of the ride.
I’ll always be thankful of the adventures that working in The State Press has given me, but I have to acknowledge several people who have helped me along the way.
Thanks to Maggie Emmons, Doug Tammaro, Thomas Lenneberg, Jeremy Hawkes, Mark Brand and the rest of the ASU sports information department for making my job easier and constantly filling my inbox with stats and press releases.
Thanks to Chris Karpman of ASUDevils.com, Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic, Hod Rabino of DevilsDigest.com and Tyler Lockman of FOX Sports Arizona for offering advice and guiding me through the major football and men’s basketball beats.
Thank you to everyone I worked with at The State Press. The staff of young, hard-working journalists and leaders inspired me to bring my A-game every day. There are too many people to individually acknowledge, but you know who you are.
But most importantly, thank you — the readers — for taking time to read my articles and passing them along through social media. At the end of the day, my main priority was to serve the readers, and I hope I accomplished that.
Sportswriting still remains one of my passions and, who knows, my byline might appear in another publication in the near future, and I’m considering journalism as a possible career option.
But please continue to support The State Press — it’s a big part of ASU’s proud traditions that has given students like me an experience of a lifetime, and will continue to do so.
Goodbye, The State Press. Thank you for everything.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Josh_Nacion