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Parting Shots: A few thoughts after 6 years with Mid-Major Madness

Bear with me through this self-indulgent, unasked for curtain call.

Just a few thoughts from me, your dear blog manager, as I step down from my current role. I hope to stay around in some capacity, perhaps with a weekly column or something. Once you start being a Good Blogger Boy, it’s hard to quit entirely.

I actually didn’t plan on writing one of these. Who really cares what some blogger boy at home has to say? I hate drawing attention to myself (that’s a lie, but like, not in this way). But last week, we put out a call for a new manager here at Mid-Major Madness and you folks were so supportive and thoughtful that I felt I had to say something.

First and foremost, a thank you to all of you. You’ve made this job fun by reading, listening, engaging, and arguing. You’ve also made this site better, calling us out when we were wrong or leading by your own example and giving us ideas to model after.

Second, I can’t leave here without giving a shoutout to everybody who helped make this site what it is.

Matt Brown, Caroline Darney, and Beth Maiman: Our blog overlords over the last few years. When Matt hired me, I told him I wanted to make this site fun and weird, and he allowed me to try it. I think (?) we succeeded. Over the years, these three have been around to answer every question I had, gave stories an extra set of eyes, and went to bat for me behind the scenes, helping us raise our budget to pay more of our writers and even travel a little bit.

Greg Mitchell: The first person I brought on board when I was hired. He’s had two kids since we started this thing, and I still haven’t been able to get rid of him. Thank God. He’s a hell of a writer and, damnit, he’s passionate about mid-major hoops. Every few days he’ll drop in the Slack “hey I wrote a thing.” And every time it’s a home run. Our whole job here is to tell the stories of the players and teams that the national media forgets. Greg’s done it better than anyone.

Chris Schutte: It didn’t take Greg and me long to realize we were in over our heads trying to get Mid-Major Madness moving again. We conned Chris into coming on board as an editor and we are so glad we did. Not only did he prove to be a reliable editor, but the ideas he brought to the table grew this site faster than anything else we’ve done. From the stock watch (RIP) to the water cooler to his approach to navigating Champ Week and March Madness. Most importantly, he’s become a great friend. Hoping we can do another Philly basketball trip soon.

Kyle Cajero: By far the most talented writer and analyst that we’ve had here. I don’t think he ever wrote something on this site that didn’t blow me away. He can break down tape, pump out an A+ feature, troll on Twitter, and make everyone around him better at their jobs. He’s now an assistant SID at Montana State-Billings and holy hell they are lucky to have him.

Cameron Newton: I gave Cam the keys to our Twitter at some point knowing full-well I’d regret it. There were times when I did, but I’m happy about that if it makes any sense. Cam helped push my comfort zone and served as a constant reminder that the whole reason we cover basketball is because it’s fun. It’s a game and you can’t cover a game without a sense of levity and humor. Most importantly: The courage he displayed by taking on Liberty in his column was probably the most impressive thing anyone here has done in the last six years. And he hasn’t backed down. Nor should he.

Sam Newberry and Lance Hartzler: MFers saved the day when we were desperate for editing help. Not only did they answer the bell from an editing perspective, but they lent their voices to the podcast (remember our podcast?), votes in The Other Top 25, and points of view for every tough decision we’ve had to make over the past year. The fun in getting to work with them has been surpassed only by getting to know and learn from them.

Hannah Butler: I spent nine years working full-time in social media and was not about to spend all my extra time worrying about our social channels. So I told Hannah to take our Instagram and run with it. And she ran. And ran. She developed our social templates and grown our audience greatly over the last year. I hope to stay around MMM in some degree so I can roast her over UNI every time they lose.

The one writer who’s stuck through since before I joined, John “SoCon John” Hooper. If I wake up one day and see 35 unread texts, my first thought isn’t that there’s some emergency, it’s “oh I bet John just went on a rant about Furman.” Find something you’re as passionate about as he is about that league. If I asked him for 4,000 words on Duggar Baucom, he’d have it for me in an hour.

The new blood: Everyone who has come on board in the last couple years and is still at it. Austin Montgomery, Brian Emory, Chase Whitney, Garrett Lash, Isabel Gonzalez, Jared Kotler, Liam Hanley, Logan Butts, and Nick Lorensen. Nick started here when he was like, 12 (slight exaggeration) and has improved more as a writer and reporter than anyone else that’s come through here in the past six years.

The writers I scared away: Or, moved on to bigger and better things. Harry Schroeder, Andy Evans, Austin Brown, Ellie Lieberman, Gianna Marshall, John Dales, John Templon, Luke Benz, Matt Craig, Marcus Washington, Primetime Mitch Northam, Ray Curren, Torrance Jones, Will Maupin, and so many more.

The coaches, players, and SIDs that I’ve worked with. For the most part, they’ve all understood our role here was to tell their stories. I hope we helped elevate their universities, and in return they answered some tough questions. The journalist-SID relationship is never perfect, but when there is a mutual respect and understanding for the job each side has, you can get a lot done.

I know I thanked our readers and followers up top, but I’ll do it again. Thank you, and please keep reading. This staff has so much more to say.