It is with mixed emotions that I write this column.
Today will be my last day as sports editor at The Minot Daily News as I have accepted the position of Sports Information Director at Minot State University.
I guess northwest North Dakota, this is goodbye. Or at least see you around.
For the past five years, I have devoted the vast majority of my waking hours of the day to bring readers the best possible newspaper experience. For four of those years, I have been in charge of that experience. I can only hope a portion of the readership saw that.
It was an exhilarating, exciting and exhausting five years.
I can't say that every day was the best, but I can say the overall experience at the Daily News will be looked back on fondly. It was a much tougher decision to leave than I thought it would be.
But it was a good time for me to start a new chapter in my life. My wife, Nichole, and one-year-old son, Cooper, have become a part of the Minot community and this gives us an opportunity to continue to be a part of that.
Plus, I have made no attempts to hide the fact that I love working with the college. Minot State, the coaches and administration, have treated me very well during my four years as the Beavers' beat writer. When the SID position opened up, that fair treatment made me instantly interested.
The Daily News has certainly changed since I came here five years ago and not everything is for the better. I do, however, think the sports department is as strong as it has ever been. The three writers that remain, Chris Bieri, T.J. Allick and Chris Aarhus, care about local sports as much as anyone in the business and I am completely confident they will continue to do a great job.
It would be impossible to say goodbye without acknowledging some folks who have gone out of their way for me. It will be equally impossible to do this without missing someone, so I apologize to whoever that is.
First, MDN Editor Bryan Obenchain gave me multiple opportunities at the News and I appreciate each and every one. There isn't a better guy in the business and I can freely say that as he doesn't sign my checks anymore. The readers of the Daily News need to know just how much he does for the paper.
I got my start in the business by then Publisher of the Valley City Times-Record and current MDN circulation director Peder Colbenson. Again, as top-notch as they come. Peder is really the only guy that I didn't complain to about hours as it seemed he was in the office as late as us a lot and I know he got to the News before I woke up for the day.
The sports department over the past couple of years has been the closest thing I have had to a friend in Minot and both the full time and part time guys and girls have all been great to work with. Chris Bieri and I have formed what I like to think of as the largest (personality, that is) duo in newspapers. Craig Haupert, who just left the newspaper to move back home to Indiana, and Jason Feldman, who now works in Rochester, Minn., are two guys I consider friends.
I always considered myself as the last, great newspaper guy. The latter I'm sure is met with skepticism, but now even the former is in question. You may not have liked everything I wrote or the decisions I made as sports editor, but I hope those who knew me never questioned my dedication.
Thanks Minot and northwest North Dakota for everything.
(Michael Linnell is the outgoing sports editor at The Minot Daily News. He can be reached at his new e-mail address at Minot State University at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org