This past Sunday, I had written most of my column for today, opining about the NBA playoffs.
I planned to add a few finishing touches and email it on Wednesday like I do each week to David McCollum.
But as you all know, he passed away on Monday. So, the basketball story will wait as I write about David.
It’s already the second time this year I’ve written about the death of a friend. I would much rather be writing about bad refs and missed calls.
That Monday of his passing, word spread quickly throughout Conway and the entire state. Praise was quick and plentiful. It was well deserved.
David grew up in Memphis, went to college in Waco, lived in North Little Rock, but was a fixture in Conway.
He started at the Log Cabin Democrat in the early 1980’s and witnessed thousands of games and wrote thousands of columns.
He was one of longest serving board members in the history of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
I had known him casually, but once I joined the ASHOF board in 2003, we became friends.
David was never shy to state his opinion, but he did so in a unique, understated manner.
He was a calm but strong influence in a room full of big egos at the ASHOF.
It was like the old E.F Hutton commercial, in that when David talked, people listened.
When he was inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame in 2012, I was honored when David asked me to present him. He often saw things with a different slant, and he thought it would be neat to be introduced by a regular reader of his columns. Over the years I read, and enjoyed, thousands of them.
I always thought it was so cool that he had a Heisman Trophy vote. I’ll have to admit it made me just a little bit envious.
But he earned it, and I guarantee you that he took it more seriously than the vast majority of those voters.
He had a keen wit and great sense of what questions to ask. That was one of the many reasons he was such a good reporter.
His knowledge of Arkansas sports was unsurpassed. His knowledge of Faulkner County sports was unequalled.
It will be so odd this fall to not see him at the weekly Bear Backers luncheons, asking the UCA coaches questions about the upcoming game. Whenever the Kiwanis Club had a coach as speaker, David was almost always there to write a story.
Of course, we would joke with him that he really just kept coming back for the free lunch.
I believe we will all miss David even more than we think we will. Someone else will fill his column space, but no one will fill the void left by his passing.
I will miss reading him. I will miss him even more.