Being inducted into any hall of fame automatically causes people to reflect on a career, either of themselves or the person being inducted.
And while Gary Newsome certainly looks back at his playing and coaching careers with great fondness, he admits the best of times for his athletic career is happening right now.
“NAIA athletic director of the year in 2015, Under Armour AD of the Year Award, now this,” he said. “This year has just been special.”
As the athletic director at Olivet Nazarene University, 16 of 20 sports teams advanced to the NAIA national tournament. The men’s swim team won the national championship.
In the spring, seven of the eight teams earned berths to national tournaments.
“I think what I try to do is serve my coaches,” said Newsome, a 1970 graduate of Blanchester High School. “I try to get them everything I can, any help I can, to be successful whether it’s verbal, financial, scheduling.”
As athletic director at Paint Valley High School, the Bearcats won a state baseball championship and Newsome said “that has to be at the top of the list from the administrator part of it.”
As an athlete at BHS, Newsome played football, basketball and baseball. While he earned the outstanding senior athlete honor his final year, Newsome likely could have been better because he didn’t turn 18 until December following his graduation.
“I was 16 half my senior year,” he said. “I just started growing into my body. Physically I was immature.”
Newsome was an end and inside linebacker in football, a defensive specialist in basketball and a pitcher on the baseball team. Among the coaches at BHS who influenced him as a player were Roger Rupp, Bill Lewis, Ron Duncan and Bill Creamer.
Newsome also played for the Hillsboro American Legion baseball team, a squad that finished as the state runnerup in 1970.
“When you live 26 miles away, driving that far to practice in those days, plus playing 50 to 55 games a year, it was absolute pure joy,” said Newsome. “Those two years and that team we put together … that last year there was only one team in the state better than us and we probably shouldn’t have lost that state championship game. I’d drive 25 miles just to eat a hot dog with them between games.”
Newsome remembered playing Legion ball with David Allen, Jeff Garman, Al Fife, Steve Conner, Tom Armstrong and Kip Young, who later went on to play Major League Baseball.
“They were such funny people,” Newsome said. “And they had loads of talent.”
Roger Rupp steered Newsome to Olivet Nazarene University. He had originally planned to walk-on the baseball team at Miami University.
“I have no regrets,” said Newsome. “I didn’t have to mess with all that peer pressure. Those were tough times if you didn’t let your hair grow, just tough times.”
Newsome coached football 35 years at the high school and collegiate levels. He’s also coached virtually every other sport available. For 11 years, Newsome coached a sport in all three seasons.
“That’s what I enjoyed,” he said. “I loved the kids I worked with. If you can have a calling, and I believe you can, that was my calling.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports