Many of you may not have ever heard of Herb Dower but if you love local prep sports you should have.
Here is his story. Click here.
In 1985 Herb’s daughter, Lea Ann, who was a friend of mine, let me know she was giving her 2 week notice at The Press Democrat. Her job was 15 hours a week as a sports filing clerk with flexible hours.
It was just a few months before I married my wife, (we are still going strong after 35 years,) and I was working as a substitute teacher in the Santa Rosa school district and coaching track at Montgomery.
This PD job would help the income a lot. I was very glad to get the job.
That is how I came to know Herb Dower.
Herb was everything mentioned in the story above. I worked with him from 1985 until he retired in 1990. I did not know of another mid size paper like the PD back then that had anywhere near as good of coverage as the PD for prep sports. Most papers just covered the big three; football, basketball and baseball, but Herb would put just as much effort into covering the other sports that most papers ignored.
Sadly, in my opinion, when Herb retired the PD became just like the others over time.
Here is just a small sample of Herb’s work covering track back in the days I was competing.
Girls steal track show
Allen Kuhn’s leaving his mark
Trojans to revisit the history book
She’s the Empire’s track darling
I continued to work at the PD for 23 years as the job turned into a full time position.
(Worst part was the first ten years as smoking indoors was not outlawed in California until 1995 and about half of the newsroom staff were puffing away.)
As the coverage of Track & Field and Cross Country in the PD diminished I talked the paper into letting me do a web site for them called “On Track” in the Spring of 2002 at http://www.northbay.com/running.
Looked like this
I worked in the newsroom until 2007. By that time, print newspapers were struggling and the writing was on the wall, so when the Press Democrat started laying off large numbers of employees, I accepted a buyout before things got worse and so ended my 23 years of working for the PD.
I did however continued to do the web site as a free lancer.
Then in December of 2009 they wanted to discontinue the format of “On Track” and change it into a blog at https://running.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/.
Here is the beginning of that.
Interestingly Herb’s family and mine became related by marriage around 2013 as one of my nephew’s daughter married one of his grandsons.
Then in the middle of November 2015, between the cross country leagues finals and the NCS meet, The Press Democrat, without out a word to me, shut down the blog.
By the next track season I had my own site up, the current Redwood Empire Running, which has gone strong until the pandemic hit and brought everything to a crawl.
To sum it up, if it had not been for Herb Dower there is no telling whether I would have ever created Redwood Empire Running in the first place.
Thank You Herb for showing me the way.