He is one of the most personable guys I know. Over the past six years it has been hard to find a day where I haven’t talked to Ed Kirkwood. For those who haven’t met Ed, he is the Trojans athletic director and he is leaving for Florida today.
I used to throw things off of Rod Poteete (Trojans teacher for 35 years), who was kind of my resident sports historian, but when Rod Poteete passed away, Ed filled that void.
On a bad day, a call to Kirkwood would just make the day that much brighter.
He didn’t know this, but I would just call him even though I didn’t have any questions because a call to him usually jump-started my writing and got rid of writer’s block. So thanks, Ed. And you can expect a call in Florida.
He just has one of those personalities where you can talk all day with the guy. He is the guy you want in your organization when the poop hits the fan because he is a positive person.
Despite his shortcomings, being from Philadelphia and actually liking the Eagles and everything Philly, he actually is quite knowledgeable about anything to do with sports.
The man has over 40 years of coaching experience in his lifetime and is a walking encyclopedia about just any sport. So if I didn’t know a position in basketball, or a play or some kind of problem with the high school rules, I would call Ed.
Ed became my sounding board on almost anything I wrote that had to do with sports. I am sure many times he would just be shaking his head and asking himself why is that crazy Chinaman calling me now? And I am sure, even I didn’t know at the time, many times I would just call to figure things out.
Yes, Ed was that kind of guy – personable, friendly and yes, even caring.
The last six years have been pretty good for Trojans athletics. We have had two state championships, an individual state champion or two, many regional appearances and quite a few exciting games. Ed took it all in stride and was one of the Trojans’ biggest fans.
“You know, Vern, this has been a great job,” Ed said one day. “I love sports and every day I can see a game, how great is that. It’s a sports lover’s dream come true.”
People often think sports fans are just strange birds. Old athletes trying to relive their youth. But if that’s the case, why is that wrong? Ed may have been doing that, but in his case, he got to share his youth with everyone he came in contact with and that was a good thing.
I think his knowledge of sports was contagious. I know he kept me on my toes.
What I really loved about Ed was how great he was with our youth. How many kids did he talk into seeking sports scholarships? Who knows, but I know the number is great.
I remember talking to Meghan McDermott just before she left for college. She had told me she talked to Ed about the scholarship.
So I asked Ed what he said to her and he just said he talked to her about the scholarship and congratulated her on getting it. That just tells me many of the kids respect him and they want his opinion on going to college or scholarships or just what he thinks about things. That’s Ed. Always willing to give his opinion if it helps.
I once saw Ed at my church and I invited him to attend. He told me he didn’t really attend a lot of church, but you know what, Ed is probably a better Christian than most. Thanks, Ed, for all your support and we will miss seeing you around.
Contact sports editor Vern Hee at firstname.lastname@example.org