A special goodbye to Gatorsports

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As I gathered my thoughts to write my final blog for The Scout Leader, I realized I’ve seen and done so much in my four years with The Sun that I could write for days.

However, I don’t have time for that and you certainly don’t.

As some of you might know from stalking my Facebook or subtle Twitter drops, I’m leaving The Sun on Monday to cover SEC football with Chris Low on ESPN’s blog network. I’ve always dreamed of covering just college football and this is a great opportunity to do just that.

But I wouldn’t have gotten this chance without my experience at The Sun. And what a four-year experience it’s been for me. From cutting out my first story to appear in the sports section (a story about Kestahn Moore that sits on my desk in my home office) to wild and wacky journey I’ve been on while covering recruiting.

Recruiting might have worn me down mentally and physically, but without the work I put in I don’t know if I’d be writing this today. Traveling around to watch the best high school football players on Friday nights and watching future stars compete at camps and combines was a blast.

Though there are a lot of mental games played in the recruiting world, it’s been a hell of a ride and I’ve taken pride in what I was able to do in my time on the beat. I’ve been lied to countless times (thank you for the unwanted national exposure and multiple radio interviews Nu’Keese Richardson) and I’ve had to dig quite deep to get accurate information. The beast that is recruiting is one like no other in sports, but to be able to continuously compete with regular recruiting writers and websites makes me feel like I did the job I set out to do.

I’ve got stories for DAYS when it comes to the recruiting world. Maybe if I see you out with a cold one in your hand I’ll tell you some one day.

Of course, I was first hired to help with football coverage. Covering Florida’s football program has been a wild ride in itself. From covering a Heisman Trophy winner in Tim Tebow, to two SEC championships and a national championship, I don’t think I could have asked for anything better. Well, I was hoping to make my first trip to California last year, but someone had to ruin those plans. Thanks, Alabama!

From watching Percy Harvin perform better in person than on video games to being shut out of spring practices, covering the Gators has been an adventure. There were ups and downs, but to have the experience at my age is something I wouldn’t trade.

Oh, and getting to cover the Orange Bowl during the ’08 season gave me the chance to dominate other media members in Wii Tennis. I’m looking at you Stewart Mandel.

But football wasn’t my only responsibility. I’ve spent countless times in the press box at McKethan Stadium watching Florida’s top-notch baseball team over the years. Kevin O’Sullivan is building something special there, guys. How’s this for irony? The year I would get to travel to Omaha (if Florida made it to the College World Series) I won’t be covering the team anymore.

Track and field has always been one of the more exciting sports to cover and watching Florida’s men’s and women’s track teams during relays is something I advise everyone to witness while Mike Holloway is still in town.

While my basketball coverage was limited, the moment I won’t ever forget was when Chandler Parsons’ buzzer-beater against South Carolina last year required me to delete my entire sidebar on Devan Downey right before deadline. Oh and I can’t forget about the time I was pushed to the second row for media when Kentucky came to town. Had to make room for the bow tie guy …

The list just goes on when it comes to sports, but what really sticks out to me are the relationships I built along the way. Road trips with Robbie Andreu and Pat Dooley were great. Barbecue pits in Alabama and Dooley’s endless iPod are what I lived for. Listening to Robbie’s war stories from being on the beat are priceless. And Kevin Brockway’s karaoke is a treat for everyone.

I won’t forget working for one of the best bosses in the world in Arnold Feliciano or being pushed (in a good way) by Jeff Barlis when it came to churning out content.

Of course, I can’t leave out the readers. All the mailbag questions, the compliments and criticism. Couldn’t get enough of any of it. However, the guys who didn’t want me to have a female celebrity to sponsor my mailbag, shame on you. Come on!

It’s been a fun ride, and while it’s sad to see it end, I’m excited about my new adventure. Plus, I’ll still be in the SEC, so I’ll be popping in and out of Gainesville from time to time.

Before I go, I’d like to dedicate my four years at The Sun and my new beginning to my parents, Peter and Patricia. They were both writers and professors, so whatever “talent” I have came from them. A year ago today, my mother passed away, eight years after my father. My mom kept up with all my work and watched as many Florida games as she could so she could make sense of what I was writing about. I’m pretty sure she could describe the spread option offense perfectly in 15 seconds or less.

Here’s to making them proud.

141 COMMENTS

  1. While every1 was worried about this yr. last yr. recruit n 1 post i said it edward i said that we might b loosing the biggest recruit yet & i wasn’t talking about the players i was talking about ed i think i wrote it on when we didn’t get neither l-backer Ed is great at what he do um surprised it took this long we all know espn was gonna come knocking. just want 2 say thanks Ed 4 the great job u did 4 the Gatornation sky the limit 4 u my guy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THANK U

  2. Ed,

    You definitely made your parents proud. You’ve done an incredible job, and I know there are countless readers that will be disappointed not to see your column on Gatorsports any longer. I’m looking forward to your work at ESPN, however, and I wish you the best of luck.

  3. Best of luck you, Ed. You did a great job for the paper and for the fans. I look forward to reading your stuff on ESPN’s blogosphere. Although, I read Low regularly already, you’ll be a welcome addition. It’ll be nice to have a little Florida flavor infused over there…even though we know you’ll have to be objective…well at least ESPN’s version of objective. Good luck, man!

  4. WOW, This is certaintly bitter sweet. This is kinda like losing your four year all sec starter at QB. Ed thanks for the timely updates and the passion you brought to what you do. It really shows you love it. ESPN is getting a good one and we are losing a good one. Best wishes to you. Go Gators!!!

  5. Ed, following the lead story on Gatorsports.com, I always looked next for your most recent entry. Your enthusiasm, style, and objectivity consistenly made your articles an interesting read. Thanks for the time, talent and treasure you brought and left for all of us who call ourselves Gator fans. May your professional career be surpassed only by the quality of the rest of your life.

  6. Thanks Ed for all the hard work in regards to getting all the news on Gator recruiting. You will be missed but I also check on Chris Low’s blog on ESPN.com and will do the same for yours! best of luck!

  7. Ed,

    We’ll all miss your reporting and great insights into Gator recruiting. You were able to achieve a great blend of quality and quantity of reporting, and have set the bar high for your replacement. Best of luck to you at ESPN.

  8. Boohooo…. I’m sorry that you’re leaving us. Thank you for your feeding my college sports fix.

    Amazing, how many Gators work for ESPN??? Good luck with them, I look forward to read your articles.

  9. Ed, Good luck at ESPN and in all your future endeavers. This opportunity was certainly well-earned. Thanks for all you have done for us at the GSMB. Your hard work and dedication was obvious to all. You are the best on the recuiting front and will be sorely missed.

  10. Ed.

    In short time, you made Gatorsports.com required reading for all your dedication to recruiting and Gator sports. While I will miss your updates on this site I look forward to your new reports on ESPN. I am a big Chris Low fan. A very nice tribute to your parents and Gatorsports colleagues. Your parents raised you properly to remember and respect those who have helped you along the way. Contune the great work. You are indeed a fine professional and truly have a great passion for your craft.

  11. The ESPN world will be much brighter with you as a leader. I will dearlt miss your insightful reporting on the Gators, especially football recruiting. Best wishes for wherever your heart leads you…you will be successful!

  12. Thanks Ed,
    You deserve it, you were great here and we expect no less from you at ESPN because you are that good. Your parents were proud of you as are we. Thanks for going through all the battles for and with us, because even though much of it was fun it had to be some very rough times as well. Good Luck!! Enjoy you NEW JOB!!! The Gator Nation Loves You!!

  13. E.A. —
    Parting is such sweet sorrow.
    Thanks for all you’ve done, Ed.
    All the best, and may the Lord bless.
    ————
    IGTBAG! (It’s Great To Be A Gator!)
    Ciao
    PS: Once a Gator, always a Gator!
    Don’t neglect throwing us a Gator-Chomp when you can!

  14. Go do it big! Best believe we all will still follow your writing. Look how far you’ve come since we were freshman playing intramurals playing 4 on 4 with only people 12″ or taller than us hahaha Congrats on following your dream. If your ever scouting recruits or covering a game in cincy look me up

  15. Ed to be perfectly honest for the last 2 years you are the only reason i came to gator sports… Everything else was a bonus, your insider info to your witty articles made it a pleasure to read about my Florida Gators!!! While you will be missed here, Know all of us will be supporting you in your future endeavors…Wishing you nothing but luck and happiness with your new gig!!!

  16. Ed, thank you so much for the job you have done. I am a born Gator fan and UF alum that has been removed from Gville for a few years. Your columns have been a great way for me to keep up with the sports in that great town. Best of wishes and thank you again.

  17. Wow! Ed that is amazing and we are real happy for you. You do such great work and it’s no surprise ESPN came a knocking. To be honest I’ve only started reading your work this past year as I started really getting into College football recruiting, and your column are some of the best out there. You will be missed my friend, but I look forward to your new work. Please don’t forget about the gators, just as quickenedspirit said “throw us a gator chomp once in a while”.

    Go Gators!

  18. Congrats Ed… I know you will do as good a job @ ESPN as you have for the GatorSports. The Scout Leader and what you have to say on recruiting has been the biggest reason I visit GatorSports.com. It won’t b the same and look forward to seeing your posts on ESPN.

  19. Well, I don’t see a disclaimer, so I guess it wasn’t April Fools!

    Best of luck to you sir, you will be missed here. We look forward to reading/hearing you in a larger platform in the future

    Thank you for doing a great job for GatorSports Ed!

    May God Bless!

  20. Your commentary and insight into recruiting is some of the best I have ever read and you’re so young! You have quite a future ahead of you and I’m sad to see you go. Don’t let yourself be influenced by the internal corporate political games you will inevitably encounter and always stay above the unowhat by never losing your objectivity.

  21. Ed,
    Congrats to a well earned promotion. I was really hoping the Sun (NY Times) would promote you internally before ESPN snatched you away, as you were the lone reason for visiting Gatorsports.com. Your ability to report a story, develop your ideas, and add insight were unparalleled. Best of luck with ESPN and I will be following your articles closely.

  22. Ed,
    Its been an honor, sir. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. You have been the best resource for gator recruiting the last couple of years. Since moving to upstate NY 10 years ago – it was killing me to be constantly left in the dark on recruiting – until my brother told me about you.

    Fantastic job and best of luck. peace

  23. Ed – I’m sorry about your parents, and understand what you meant. It’s hard living up to the dreams someone has for you when they aren’t around to share in your success. Keep ’em close. I thought you were the hardest working guy on the staff, but maybe that was just because you churned out so much content, so accurately. Best of luck with the Every Sport Possible Network 🙂

  24. Nooooo, I subscribe to Gatorbait, Gator Country and the Sun and yours is the first thing and on par with Buddy Martin and all my hopes were that you would be the next one to take the Sun back to actual sports writing instead of the personal preference article we have been bombarded with these last years…well just like Urban the Gator nation wishes you the very best, and in time you can always come home…..thanks

  25. I fell in love with Gator Sports because of following your blogs and recruiting information. I truely depanded on your columns to stay informed.. Damn what am I going to do?? The Urban Meyer of Gatorsports is leaving. Good Luck and hope you have as much success as you did here at Gatorsport. At least I can still fellow you on twitter..
    Good Luck, Ed!

  26. Ed, we at Gator Nation are going to miss you. Your set a great example for your industry. Not only are you a great writer but you are a great person. I wish you all the best and hope you drop in once in a while and say hi.

  27. Ed,
    You are the reason i joined twitter and your FLorida football recruting was epic! i would walk around my office spouting you’re latest tweets on prospects while my co-workers acted like i had the batline number to the HBC. thanks for all your work and i look forward to following you at ESPN.

  28. Extraordianry. 85 posts (and counting) and not one disssenting view. That should tell you all you need to know about the quality of your work over the last for our years, as well as the impact your work has had on the peope who read it. Well done, good luck and for those of us who followed you while you were here, we will watch for you down the road.

  29. I knew it wouldnt be long before someone else snapped you up and gave you a promotion. While I am saddened that we will not have you around anymore, I am truely happy for you. Thanks for always being spot on with your writings and we will miss you! Good luck on your new venture! I wish it was an april fools joke, but I would never fault someone for moving up in the world. You deserve it!!!

  30. Ed,
    Loved following your stories from up here in Pennsylvania. Good luck at ESPN and you will be sorely missed. Hope to see you on ESPN. We’ll miss all of your recruting knowledge and insight.
    Best of luck.

  31. Congrats. you have done a fine job at the sun. Good luck in the new position.

    Always Remeber not to wear the Gator hat to certain press conferences (maybe Arky).

    Question: do we get to see a G. Sun Recruitment article on YOUR replacement. That might be interesting.

  32. I’m really happy for you, but sad for us readers. No one and I mean no one has come close to delivering the up to date, relevant info like you have. GatorSports will go on, but it won’t be the same. Good Luck and don’t forget where you came from.

  33. I have been reading your column for a little over 2 years I believe, and I have been impressed with the coverage you provide. I have had no need to join a recruiting website because your coverage has been so thorough. Good luck to you Ed, Go Gators!

  34. You have always had a positive,honest writing style, objective and personal wrapped together, exactly what ESPN would look for and will draw regular readers to your columns. We wish you well, you will do well. Enjoy living your dream and continue to be a positive influence on those you encounter on your journey!

  35. I’ll miss reading the great articles on Gator recruiting. I’m sure you’ll succeed on espn’s blog and gain a much larger following due to your excellent skills and dedication to laying out the facts and only the facts. Thanks for all your hard work.

  36. Congratulations! GatorSports lost not only its best current writer, but its best writer in the 20 years I’ve been reading. On the up side, at least ESPN will be more relevant and interesting to read. Great work all around. You make the Gator Nation proud.

  37. Ed, Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication and for providing us fans with the latest news in the recruiting front. Good luck on your new adventure and enjoy your journey through life, which is definitely a gift from our Creator.
    You will always be part of Gator Nation!!! Take care.

  38. Adding my thanks for all the excellent reporting, delivered with good humor I should add. You should be very proud to have such a long list of wellwishers. Good luck, and I will miss you on these pages!

  39. Four very productive years as a starter in Gainesville. Writes extremely well, probably works the sources even harder. Always around the ball and in position to make the play. Proficient beyond his years. Relates extremely well to the fans.

    Summary: First-rounder. Will be a solid starter in the Bigs for a long time. All-pro potential.

    * * * * *

    We won’t miss you, exactly, Ed, because we’ll still get to see and enjoy your work, but we will really miss your exceptional coverage of the Gators. Happy for you that your work has been noticed and appreciated by the pros in your line of work.

    Live Long & Prosper.

  40. Ed – don’t let the bristol guys get you to become one of their Conn clones!!! Stay close to your roots at UF. In a year – you will get to write aobut all those guys you saw being recruited that made the next national champ.

    But – you didn’t say if you had to move north. I sure hope not. Given the “global warming’ we have seen in Conn in the past few years – i think Al Gore needs a new career!! Stay warm!!

  41. Congratulations Ed! Enjoyed your frequent and timely posts! Brief exhortation: careful with these writing gremlins — phantom word additions, omissions, and the occasional – but rare – misspelling.
    Sorry Gator Nation (incl. “MT”), just lookin’ out for a fellow Gator.
    (“The [critique] of a friend is better than the kiss of an enemy”).
    Good luck and God-speed, Ed!
    bbc

  42. dude, the person following has some big shoes to fill. thank your for your passion for the Gators even though you grew up in Mississippi (LOL) and was a rebel. it makes it that much more appreciated. I know it was a job but you did a great job, Ed. Really have enjoyed the past few years that I started following your columns. Won’t be the same my friend. Good luck in the future because it sure looks bright for you from the looks of it.

  43. Ed you are excellent at your craft and I look forward to following you at ESPN! All these comments are proof that you have had a major impact on Gatornation. You have done your parents proud. Keep up the good work!

  44. Once again, congratulations Ed! Enjoyed your frequent and timely posts!
    Brief exhortation — be watchful of these writing gremlins: phantom word additions, omissions, and the occasional – but rare – misspelling.
    Sorry Gator Nation (incl. “MT”), just lookin’ out for a fellow Gator.
    (“The [critique] of a friend is better than the kiss of an enemy”).
    Good fortune and God-speed, Edward!
    ————
    IGTBAG!
    Ciao

  45. Ed, man I don’t know what to say…..We, the Gator nation are going to miss you. You made the Gainesville Sun, and this website compelling and interesting. I know that recruiting is a tough gig for anyone, but your hard work paid off. Personally, I found your recruiting blogs to be insightful, thoroughly researched, and well written. I’m sure that your parents instilled in you the work ethic that allows you to be successful, wherever, and whatever you do in life. We appreciate your work for the Gator Nation, and your parents are looking down on you right now with very prideful smiles. Thank you for your service to the Gator Nation, and wish you the best in your new venture…….GO GATORS!!!!

  46. All I can say is the Sun has some very big shoes to fill. I have enjoyed your insightful and honest evaluations of Gator recruiting and am sad to see you go. However, more power to you and Godspeed.

  47. I knew from reading your posts that it was just a matter of time before you were picked up by a national organization. Your columns were one of a few I regularly checked out regardless of the time of year. You were always on top of it and really did your homework. Good luck in your new venture and I will try and follow you there. Really bummed out for me but happy for you.

  48. Ed,
    I have enjoyed your work over the past four years. You kept us informed and excited about the prospective Gators. More important than the skills you’ve been blessed with and acquired, you have the work ethic to succeed in anything you desire. Best of luck and God Bless!
    TonyBo

  49. It was only a matter of time Ed before the big boys in the national media discovered what we gator fans already knew; that you are good, I mean really good and were destined to go on to bigger and better things.

    Understand this position with ESPN is another stepping stone for you. I believe you are destined for national recognition one day.

    Us Gators will me you badly, but are happy for you.

    Goodspeed Ed!

  50. Ed, I wish you have time to read all of these 140 comments because you truly deserve to feel all of these praises !! As an international student, football was new but soon became the most exciting sports for me. Your article definitely added much more excitement to that. Your in-depth analysis of recruits and stories were not only informational but also very fun to read. You indeed have a talent in writing and analysis along with a great character but I could also see that you were working very hard to get these information.

    Congratulations on getting the job with ESPN. I am glad that you are now with big boys. Now that your talent is all the college football fans to see instead of just us Gator fans. I am pretty sure you will be successful in your career and provide both information and fun to people for your whole life if you continue what you have been doing here, which I am sure you will. I am happy that I have been witnessing a great young man’s career from the start.