Goodbye Rusty, hello Greg
When Bitburg staged a 22-point rally to win the Division II football title at last weekend’s Super Six championships, it kept one streak alive. The Barons won their 30th straight game and will have a chance to tie the DODDS-Europe record in their first game of the 2013 season.
But another streak of sorts ended with the game. Rusty Bryan, who has worked for Stars and Stripes for more than 30 years, covered his last game for the newspaper. Rusty, in the process of retiring and moving to Texas, has been Stripes’ designated sports reporter in Europe for more than a decade. In such a role, he’s covered hundreds of military and high school sporting events and put thousands of military dependents’ names in the paper and on this website.
Someone thinking about a career in journalism who got a glimpse at Rusty’s typical Saturday during the school year might have second thoughts. Stars and Stripes covers more than 30 high schools spread over eight countries – not counties - in Europe.
During the fall season, many schools featured at least six teams spread out over various sports. And almost all of them play every Saturday. So the volume of emails and calls that come in can be daunting for one person to handle.
That meant it was a rare Saturday when Rusty could venture out of the office to cover a game or other sporting event. So Stars and Stripes supplemented its sports coverage in recent years by assigning news reporters to cover games. While those reporters have come and gone – and in recent years with staff reductions they’ve mostly gone – Rusty remained a constant.
At least until last weekend. Rusty delayed retirement for several months to give Stars and Stripes time to hire his replacement. He wasn’t feeling well most of last week, but – as is the case with those used to running one-man shows for years – he didn’t consider asking someone else to cover the Division II game for him.
Rusty shied away from the spotlight as much as possible, evading efforts by both Stars and Stripes and DODDS to publicly acknowledge his contributions recently. He might not appreciate this blog, in fact. But I’m pretty sure he’ll get a chance to look at it from a computer screen in the States.
With Rusty and Dave Ornauer in place in the Pacific, Stars and Stripes hadn’t hired a dedicated sports reporter in decades. In fact, trying to figure out the last time the paper hired someone to focus on sports left even a few longtime staffers scratching their heads.
But that process is complete. Gregory Broome, who comes to Stars and Stripes from covering local sports in Florida, has spent a few weeks trying to absorb as much as he can about the American military sport scene in Europe. Greg had an advantage of sorts. His father was a Department of Defense employee and Greg lived in Kaiserslautern for a few years in the 1990s. Stripes’ headquarters is in Kaiserslautern and that’s where Greg will be based.
From there, he’ll cover as much of the sports scene as possible, with the help of others from time to time. And though it’s likely he won’t get to watch an event at every high school in Europe, he’ll certainly strive to continue Rusty’s goal of providing a broad spectrum of coverage to as many schools and teams as possible.
Greg covered a few days of the 2012 DODDS European Volleyball Championships last week and then reported on the Division I and III games at the Super Six. But, like Rusty, he’ll be spending most of his Saturdays in the office, trying to provide at least a glimpse of what goes on each weekend.
To do that, he’ll count on coaches to provide statistics and information from games, matches, meets and other contests around Europe. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime. Just don’t expect to get a very detailed reply on a Saturday.
Overseas sports editor