Scribe of our Generation: Sports columnist Buck Harvey has always set the standard

Buck Harvey (Photo courtesy San Antonio Express-News)

I’d like to congratulate my friend Buck Harvey on his retirement from the Express-News.

In short, Buck was the best. I’ve been reading him for 34 years, and he was one of the reasons I wanted to get into journalism.

One of his first columns for the old San Antonio Light was during my senior year of high school in 1982. It was right before the city championship game between Judson and Churchill. I thought his column favored Judson, but I liked the fact that he wrote an opinion piece on my school.

So it was my honor to be in the press box with Buck over the past 27 years for many super bowls, NBA finals and Vince Young’s national championship run. I got to watch Buck work first hand and admire his art form. He didn’t yell out questions in group interviews, he quietly would take a player off to the side for the nuanced sidebar that nobody else thought of.

Buck grew up in the newspaper business in the heyday of guys like Jim Murray in Los Angeles, Blackie Sherrod in Dallas and even Dan Cook right here in San Antonio.

But Buck was the scribe of our generation. His style was different. Poignant. Economical. How could he say so much in so few words? His columns were meaningful. Like when his neighbor kid went off to college or the relationship with his dad, or his daughter growing up, or finally getting to play Augusta. He was funny without being cute. His pen could be critical without being poisonous. He had the ability to take a side on an issue, but take the time to present the opposing one.

Journalism. Imagine that.

Those who disagreed still respected him because he was always fair. He was complimentary, approachable and humble. And now he’s hanging it up.

When I first started doing 'Don’s Extra Point' more than 15 years ago now, a sweet viewer emailed me and said, “Hey kid, hang it up. You are no Buck Harvey!”

Fifteen years later, nothing has changed. He’s still the standard - and the rest of us are still coming up short.

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