Group Title: Larry Guest
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Series Title: Larry Guest
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Larry Guest began his journalism career as the advertising manager and sports editor

of the Brookhaven Daily Leader in Mississippi. Shortly thereafter, he became a sports

columnist and sports editor for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, also in Mississippi. In 1973

he came to work for the Orlando Sentinel. He was a three-time recipient of the Sports

Writer of the Year award in Florida. In 1985 he was listed as one of the top twenty-five

sports writers in the nation by the Washington Journalism Review. He received top

honors from the Florida Golf Writers Association in 1996. Guest is the author of five

books: Arnie: Inside the Legend; Confessions of a Coach (with Norm Sloan)

Making Magic: How Orlando Won an NBA Team (with Pat Williams)

The Payne Stewart Story

Larry Guest Lite: Glib Slants on Sports from the Orlando Sentinel's Award Winning

Columnist and Humorist (1999).

He retired from the Orlando Sentinel in 2000.


Larry Guest begins by describing his first jobs in the newspaper business in Mississippi,

first as the advertising manager and sports editor at the Brookhaven Daily Leader, then

as a sports columnist and sports editor at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Guest talks

about his writing style and attitudes toward sports writing. He discusses changes that

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took place during his time at the Orlando Sentinel, particularly in staffing and his move

from an administrative position to working purely as a columnist. Guest also describes

the growth of Orlando sports teams during his tenure and his involvement with

professional golf, including writing his book about Arnold Palmer. He talks about the

Orlando Magic basketball team, the players (Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway)

and coaches and his relationship with them. The changes in the media coverage of

Florida sports teams, particularly football, during the time he has been in Florida, as

well as changes in the field of journalism in general, are discussed. Guest recounts his

interactions with college football coaches Bobby Bowden and "Bear" Bryant; comments

on golfer Payne Stewart's tragic death and ends with a discussion about young

sportswriters and ethics in journalism.

Larry Guest was interviewed by Adam Warrington on November 19, 1999.

W: Could you talk a little about growing up in Mississippi?

G: I was junior-high age when we got to Mississippi but, before that, I really do not

know how I came to be so avidly involved in sports. I do remember, in 1954, I was

twelve years old, and I really got into baseball and became a big fan of the Cleveland

Indians. I was a fan of the journalism coverage as much as of a fan of the team, the

writers and the broadcasters, Dizzy Dean and Buddy Blattner.... They did the national

game of the week, and I used to sit down and listen to them on the radio. I would

actually keep a score book of the games, no matter who was playing, and often

[thought about] how I would formulate a story if I was writing about this game.

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W: When did you begin to get interested in journalism?

G: During that time, the little paper was called the Brookhaven [Mississippi] Leader

Advertiser, when it was a twice-a-week paper, and it was owned by the Jacobs family....

Nobody there knew anything about sports.... The only sports they really did was

covering the local high school football and basketball games... and their son had done

that while he was in high school. Well, he went off to college, and so they did not have

anybody. So, they asked me if I would do that, so I started doing that on the side. I

began to write a column for them just as a lark.... Then, they asked me to be the

advertising manager of the little paper when it went daily, when it became the

Brookhaven Daily Leader. So, for five years, I was the advertising manager and sports

editor of the Brookhaven Daily Leader. The sports, again, was just sort of a lark on the

side.... I would use that entree to get credentials to go cover the New Orleans Saints in

their infancy and Ole Miss [University of Mississippi] and Mississippi State in football....

Unbeknowst to me, the executive editor of the largest paper in the state,... who wrote a

little column two or three days a week in the Jackson Clarion Ledger. He would read all

these little puddlejump papers to pick up material [and]... he was reading and giggling at

my nonsense. So, when he lost his sports columnist/sports editor, he called me and

offered me the job. I had never even thought about doing this for a living. It sounded

fun enough.... Going from advertising manager of the little daily paper to sports editor

and columnist at Jackson was about a $10 a week pay cut, as I recall. But, it sounded

like a heck of a lot of fun to me, so I did it.... I knew how to write.... But, I did not have a

clue how to be a sports editor, and I was a total bust at that. There were people on the

staff who resented me coming in, with no experience, to be the sports editor. So we

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had to struggle through that a few years. But, I kind of coped with that and continued.

My primary job there, though, was to write a column. I had a good nose for news and

wound up breaking several stories, including when the long-time legendary Ole Miss

[football] coach--and that was the number one story in the state--Johnny Vaught was

being pushed out in sort of an internal coup headed up by "Bruiser" Kinard, one of his

top assistants. He brought in Billy Kinard, his younger brother, to be the head coach....

I broke the story several days before it actually happened. I guess that kind of put me

on the map around the South, and the Orlando paper called and asked me if I would

come down and interview. They were looking for, at that time, a Gator [University of

Floridas] beat writer and, sort of, backup columnist. So, I came down and interviewed.

That was 1973, and I have been here ever since.

W: Talk a little bit about your writing style and how it developed. Did you always take

a humorous approach, even starting back at the Leader?

G: Yes, always, and that always was and still is [my purpose], to entertain first. I will

not run from a controversy or if there is a very serious subject, [like] Payne Stewart

[professional golfer] dying or Arnold Palmer [professional golfer] getting cancer. I go for

the tear ducts, too. Or the controversy. If Steve Spurrier [head coach, University of

Florida football team] does something crazy again or Penny Hardaway [professional

basketball player] shows his immaturity, then I do not mind kicking somebody in the butt

if I think that is necessary, too. But, still, my first aim always is to write humor or

something entertaining or newsy or put a smile/twist on it.... I wanted to do this [book of

columns] toward the end of my career as to sort of leave a legacy of light-heartedness

and, I guess, to have documented that I did not always kick Spurrier in the butt, that I

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often had fun with sports. The readers that I have the most problems with are the

people who take it so deathly serious that it is life-or-death to them. I just refuse to treat

it that way.

W: Did you get some positive reinforcement from some of your early columns that

pushed you in this direction?

G: Well, sure. I mean, if you make people laugh... the most positive thing I will get is

little e-mails or letters or just comments from people directly that they really got a laugh

out of such-and-such column. That is gratifying. I get more gratification out of that than

anything else. A close second to that would be to break a story. I have a pretty good

newshound streak in me and a pretty good antenna, and I have learned that if you treat

sources as friends and develop a trust, then a lot more stories will come your way.... A

lot of young journalists nowadays try to always be a hardass or to create a gulf between

them and the real world out there, like you cannot fraternize with the enemy or


W: I want to talk about the growth of the Orlando sports teams since you have been

here at the Orlando Sentinel.

G: ... When I first came here from Jackson, I thought this would be a nice three-year

stepping stone to Denver or Dallas or Detroit or whatever and, now, it has developed

into one of those [cities]. When those kind of offers started coming in, we had roots

here and liked the area so much. Golf had become a big part of my life professionally...

[and] we were very comfortable here and did not want to leave, so I turned down all of

those offers. I have been turning them down for, I guess, the last fifteen or twenty

years.... [P]eople say, what the heck did you write before the Orlando Magic

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[professional basketball team], but there is always something. In a city like this, there

are so many athletes and other sports....

Anyway, when I came here, because this is such a golfing area and because, at

any one year, there are always about twenty tour players who live here, that became a

major part of what I did. It was a major joy to get so connected with the PGA tour. I

became good friends with a lot of these guys, including Arnold Palmer, and I wound up

doing a lot of magazine pieces on these guys. I began to be in demand at Golf

magazine and Golf Digest and some of those others, the Wall Street Journal even.

When they were doing a special section before each major [golf tournament], I would

often do the lead piece for them. You know, if Nick Price or Payne Stewart or Mark

O'Meara [professional golfers] were going back to defend their championship at one of

the majors, I would do the lead piece on them. So, it has been terrific. That, of course,

led to... getting so close to Arnold, socially and professionally, and traveling with him

some. That led to me doing the book on him, which is easily the most important of the

four books that I have done.

W: That experience, the whole process of writing that book with him, what was that


G: Well, it was actually on him, not with him. Technically, it is a non-authorized

biography because it was not in collaboration, nor did he have any rights to edit any of it

or whatever. We had talked about doing a book for several years in collaboration, and

he kept putting it off and putting it off. He is so busy. He has do many companies

going.... He did not have time to sit down and so, as his fame started to ebb and the

market for an Arnold Palmer book was beginning to ebb, then I just made the decision

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finally that rather than doing it with him, which may or may not have ever happened,

that I needed to go ahead and do it. So, I just did it. I told him I was going to do it, and

he was very cooperative in providing some photos that are in the book, very personal,

intimate photos that were on the walls of his office and home that he allowed me to

duplicate or copy and run in the book.

W: How long did you work on that book?

G: My stock answer was at either six months or fifteen years. It was fifteen years

accumulating all of these anecdotes. Most of the book was personal observation and

incidents and anecdotes where I was there and actually saw.... I had all this mass of

material already set. So it was fifteen years of doing that but when I actually started to

write the book, then it took six months to pull it all together and fill in the blanks and add

here and there until the manuscript was finished.

W: What have you found more enjoyable, writing your column or putting together a

whole book like that?

G: The columns are more enjoyable. Writing is not easy to me. I am not a prolific

writer. I cannot sit down and write a column in thirty minutes or write thirty pages in one

day if I am writing a book. I agonize over it.... So, columns are easier. Doing books is

just absolute torture to me, especially the way that I have done them, because the three

real books that I did were done with essentially no time off from my job. Some of it was

done during some vacation time... but, basically, I have not taken a leave of absence or

anything to do the book.... The three books that I did, it was like taking six months out

of my life, because I was just oblivious to my family and everything then. I mean, I was

up until three o'clock in the morning on the computer often. It was just totally

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consuming for me, so I vowed that I would not do another book after the Arnie book,

which was 1993, was the first one. Then, in 1997, we did an update version for another

publisher. After that, I vowed that I would never do another book, a real book. Of

course, the collection of columns is a different thing, but to do a real book while I was

still fully employed at the Sentinel....

Although I am on the cusp of possibly getting involved in a Payne Stewart book....

Because... I knew him so well, his wife has said that I am obviously the one she wants

to do it because I knew him better than any journalist. It is not one that can wait until a

year or two years from now, or whenever I retire to do it. I mean, it has to be done right

now while it is pertinent.

W: Talk a little bit about the importance of the Orlando Magic to the Orlando area and

how that affected you in your column.

G: Well, it changed... the working situation for a while because until that time, the

main sports entities in town-the Florida Citrus Bowl, the Bay Hill Tournament, the

Disney Tournament, and then UCF's emerging football program and so forth [did not

treat the media as] the adversaries. There was not an adversarial relationship. But

when the Magic moved in and it was run by people who, with the Philadelphia [76ers,

professional basketball] team, mostly Pat Williams, John Gabriel and others, Jack

Swope, they brought with them a tough adversarial media relationship from their

experience in Philadelphia in the NBA, where [the attitude] was, you are not our friends,

you are to be controlled, and you are to be held at arms' length. So, it was, for a while,

a rather unpleasant experience, actually. A lot of that has eroded away. I think the

people who run it have finally realized that it is better to have a little bit of a friendly

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professional relationship than a crack the whip and a moat around us sort of

relationship. So, that softened quite a bit in concert with Shaq [Shaquille O'Neal,

professional basketball player] leaving and Penny [Hardaway] leaving, who were very

difficult to deal with. It has gradually gotten a lot more pleasant to cover the Magic....

That was the first time in my long career that I have had that kind of situation where it

was not pleasant to go cover something. [Dealing with the University of] Florida became

that way when my little tete-a-tete with Spurrier developed three or four years ago, and

that is unfortunate dealing with him under those circumstances. I will continue to deal

with that professionally, but it is not as much fun nor as productive, for both of us.

W: Then, of course, you have the book with Pat Williams.

G: Yes, we did that at the very start. That book was about the dream, the seed of

the dream to the point of the first game. It was how the whole idea got sold to Orlando

[and] to the NBA for the acquisition of an expansion team and then to get it up and

running.... Hence, Making Magic was the title of it....

W: Can you recall the most important experiences you have had at the Sentinel,

events you covered or anything like that which sticks out?

G: Well, I have broken a lot of stories, local and national, particularly in the early

years here when they wanted me to be more aggressive about doing that. For a while,

the trend in our business drifted away to where we were not sure if we were a

newspaper or a magazine, and everything started to get bland, with soft features and

long-range planning.... In this business, and particularly here, we kind of lost that

spontaneity for a while. That has cycled back now to where we are after hard news a

little more. But, in the first ten or twelve years that I was here, the whole state of Florida

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had a lot of good newspapers. Every place you would go in the state, you would drive

into a motel, and there would be eight or ten racks there.... But, that has changed, that

extended circulation is costly, so they pulled back.... So, there is not all that cross-

competition. I mean, back then, there were ten papers competing for the same story,

and the only stories in the state, the big stories, were Florida and Florida State [college]

football and the Miami Dolphins. So, everybody was covering those three entities and

trying to beat each other on the stories.

So, I broke a lot of those stories. You know, it is fun when you break a story in

somebody else's town.... I broke Howard Snellenberger leaving the Miami Hurricanes. I

broke Jimmy Johnson getting the [coaching] job at the University of Miami. I broke Ray

Perkins getting fired in Tampa. I broke Spurrier coming to Florida. And, I also broke

Dickey [Doug Dickey, former University of Florida head football coach] getting fired ten

years earlier in mid-season.... I used to break several of the bowl match-ups all the time

because I became very closely involved with the Citrus Bowl here. When they went

from the Tangerine Bowl to the Citrus Bowl, they moved into the big leagues, and a lot

of the guys who ran the bowl at that time did not have many contacts among the college

coaches. So, they would use me as a conduit to keep them from embarrassing

themselves as they would go after Georgia or Clemson or Ohio State or whomever. I

knew all of those coaches through my network of sources, and I was sort of the go-

between. The byproduct of that was, I would find out, you know, the coach at Notre

Dame would tell me, no, Larry, tell them that, sorry but we are not interested in that

because we are going to be going to the Gator Bowl. So, I would break the story that

Notre Dame was going to the Gator Bowl.... Of course, the arrangement was made way

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ahead of... legal bid day at that time, so Notre Dame and the Gator Bowl also called me

ugly names and denied it until the actual bid day when they, indeed, invited Notre

Dame. Those are fun. I mean, that is fun and personally gratifying... to beat the


But, nowadays, there are not many stories that everybody is competing for

because everybody is covering [their own]. We are covering our Magic, and Tampa is

covering their Bucs [Tampa Bay Buccaneers, professional football team]. There is

minimal attention paid to the same stories, except Florida and Florida State now, still a

top news subject of most every paper in the state. So, that is about the only area

where we really compete anymore. But, I loved... my first ten years in Florida..., it was

a mad scramble by everybody over the same stories.

W: When you go and cover an event, is it more work or is it more fun for you?

G: It is both. I mean, again, it is not being an accountant nine to five in an office. I

am going someplace different every week. There is a lot of color and pageantry in most

everything that I cover. I cover things on a national basis for [the Sentinel]. So I am at

the Super Bowl and the [Kentucky] Derby and the Masters and the Final Four and all of

those things where everybody is excited about being there. So, you get swept up in it.

It sure beats pushing paper clips around for an eight-hour day.

W: What would be advice for that next generation of journalists in school? Would you

recommend this field?

G: Yes, I would recommend it, although it is evolving now. It has become such multi-

media. It is getting into the Internet now and, fortunately, our paper is heavily involved

in the Internet. With the advent of television, you know, everybody is busy and they

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have a short memory or attention span, and they are not as anxious to pick up a paper

and wade into a 400-line in-depth story on something. They want it snappy and quick,

and USA TODAYhas proven that recipe is what sells. That is what readers want.

They want all the news on events in three or four paragraphs. They want a snappy

column, and they want to be entertained. But the opportunities are great.... The

opportunities are there in this field now because there is such variety; there are online

services that are begging or throwing money around, trying to hire people to write for

them because they have just got so much space to fill. And the same in television, with

so many different channels and so many specialty channels now. There are just

endless opportunities for people in the journalism business. But, as far as just the

strict, pure newspaper writer, those opportunities are probably narrowing rather than


W: As you kind of look back on your career here, what is the kind of legacy you would

like to leave?

G: Mainly, that I was not boring and that I was fair. As a columnist, you are charged

with the responsibility of analysis... and judgements. So, you want to be remembered

that, well, he sure made me mad with some of the things that he wrote, but I respect

that he was fair and tried to deliver an honest opinion. I might have been off-base, and

I am wrong often, but it is always an honest opinion based on the input that I have.

That is a problem sometimes when you run into athletes or coaches who stiff-arm you.

If they will not give you their input, then I feel they lose the right to complain about what

opinion you form, if they have denied the columnist their perspective on something....

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W: You mentioned before your relationship with Arnold Palmer. What other

relationship with either athletes or coaches have you cherished the most?

G: I have had a very, very healthy and friendly relationship with Bobby Bowden [head

coach, Florida State University football team]. He is a quality person with old-time

values.... Bear Bryant [head coach, Alabama football team] had lots of faults, but he

was a very unique individual. He was almost without peer as a coaching motivator and

psychologist. There have been people before and since who have been craftier

drawers of X's and O's, but there has never been, I do not think, another coach in any

sport who was so adept at getting between the ears of his players and getting the

absolute maximum out of not only his players but his coaching staff. So, I really cherish

the relationship I had and the entire that I had with Bear Bryant.... [H]e was so focused

on football. A lot of these guys are. Vince Dooley [former head football coach,

University of Georgia] is one of the few guys that really has a broad perspective on life

and history.... Bobby Bowden has a little of that. But, most football coaches or big-time

basketball coaches are so riveted and one-dimensional in what they do, they hardly

realize what is going on in the world. But when I went to Bear Bryant's house to do this

piece, we went off into his bedroom, this combination bedroom/den, to sit down and do

the actual interview, I happened to look up and I saw a painting on his wall that looked

familiar to me.... It had been the cover art on a Sports Illustrated a couple of years

before... for a big Alabama-Tennessee game, and it was the crucial play in that game.

It was painted by Leroy Neiman. It was a Leroy Neiman original. When I asked Coach

Bryant about it, his reply was, oh, some guy did that and sent that to me. So, Leroy

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Neiman, to him, was just some guy. He was oblivious to the fact that he had, probably,

a $200,000 picture hanging on his wall.

W: With the advent of teams and, even, top players having their own public relations

people, I am sure it is much more difficult now to have interaction with athletes....

G: Yes, it has changed. The personal relationship with athletes has gotten more

contentious. It has gotten adversarial. Big Money has brought that on. In the earlier

part of my career, athletes in college and, particularly, pro athletes had some respect

for the media because they needed the media. They needed publicity to advance their

own careers and help their sport. But, now, when a guy is making three million or...

fifteen million or whatever a year, he does not need the media, and his usual attitude is,

I do not need these guys, they are just a pain in the butt, I have my millions, to heck

with the sport, I do not need them. They have lost sight that they need to help promote

their business, just as if they are a clerk at a Sears or Penney's. That has gotten

unpleasant and if an athlete does not want to talk to me, I do not have a problem with

that. But he has an obligation, as a human, to be civil about it, and a lot of them are not

civil. So, it is degrading a lot of times now when you go into a locker room or something

and you get cursed and you get treated like some sub-human, usually by some sub-

human who happens to be able to bounce a ball or throw a pass or hit a curve, and who

is making ten million a year and thumbing his nose at the world.

W: Some of these experiences have fueled your columns. Do you think this anger

about being treated poorly has had some effect on getting your creative juices going?

G: Well, sure. I mean, sportswriters are human, and I am human, too. So, if

somebody is rude to you, it is going to seep over, and you are not going to give him the

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slack that you would if somebody is courteous and open. When push comes to shove,

as a human, that is going to get into your pen to some extent. I am not suggesting that,

because somebody guy treats you well, you become a total homer for him or, if

somebody treats you badly, you stalk back to your typewriter and say, I am going to

stick it up his twat. Those are the two extremes, and I try to stay away from both of

those. I always tell athletes, you want to stay away from reporters who do that. But,

the professional reporter or columnist still has a little gray area there where he does

have some wiggle room. When something controversial comes up, you can still cover it

and give the guy a little bit of the benefit of the doubt, or you can lean the other way and

let the chips fall where they may. You are still professional either way as long as you

do not become totally vindictive on one side or totally homer on the other. Both are


W: Personally, how do you, yourself, stay away from those two extremes? Is it kind of

something you just developed over the years, to stay in that gray area?

G: Yes. I do not know that there is a technique or anything, but I am conscious of it. I

am conscious that if I am irritated by the way I am treated by some guy, ... I cannot let

that influence what I am writing here. Let us look at the facts and make an objective

judgement on whatever I am writing.

W: Probably, in the 1990s, the three most important athletes who have lived in this

area would be Shaq[uille O'Neal], Penny [Hardaway], and Tiger Woods [professional

golfer]. Are there any experiences or any stories you would like to talk about

[concerning] those three?

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G: Yes. Shaq is a unique individual. Again, he is the perfect example of a guy who

got millions of dollars and worlds of attention, and he did not feel like he owed anything

back to anybody. So, he was very difficult to deal with. He was just like a big twelve-

year-old.... Now, Penny is a curious study and, in a lot of ways, he and Tiger are the

same person. They are consumed by entitlement. They think they are entitled, and

they want their sport to revolve around them rather than contributing to their sport.

Tiger, [when] first onto the scene, [said] that he wanted to deal with golf on his terms,

not that he had to adapt to the way that things are done in golf. Fortunately, he is

showing great signs of maturing a little and softening and growing out of that quite

nicely.... Steve Spurrier is a little like that as well. What causes that, I do not dare

psychoanalyze them, but why they have this insecurity that has to be stroked constantly

might be a good case study for some shrink. I mean, it has consumed Penny and,

unfortunately, Penny was surrounded by a lot of sycophants, his agents and his

handlers and all whom, instead of helping him, only entrenched him in that thinking, that

the world is out to screw him and that people should be bowing down to him, that he is

so wonderful and great. All they are doing is, they are trying to preserve their spot on

the gravy train and, instead of helping him grow, they have pushed him in the wrong

direction, in the other direction....

W: Going back to your days in Mississippi, what has been the toughest story for you

to cover?

G: The toughest story, probably, there was a coach named Bob Tyler, who became

the head coach at Mississippi. He was a very corrupt coach, and I had gotten too close

to him and was too young at the time to realize that what he was doing was cultivating

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me for his own purposes and that it was not a sincere relationship. It was his attempt to

cultivate or create a homer for him. When I came to realize how corrupt he was and got

documented evidence of a lot of infractions, recruiting cheating and so forth, then that

was probably the toughest column. I blistered him and just labeled him as an absolute


The Payne Stewart column, the morning after he died, for which I have been

gratified and it has gotten a lot of huzzahs and applause..., was probably one of the

easiest columns I have ever written, as far as actually writing it. I mean, it was sad and

I was touched by Payne and I was very affected by his death. And, like a lot of people

who knew him, had come to admire him and watch him grow into a wonderful

gentleman.... So, I was affected, and I dropped some tears writing it, but it was an easy

column to write because I felt so confident about the subject. It just flowed very

quickly.... But, when I sat down to write, I wrote it in about forty-five minutes, which is

about half the time it takes me on a good day. [It takes] normally, an hour and a half to

three hours, to write a column....

W: I am just curious about any of your peers around the state of Florida, any fellow

columnists you have developed close relationships with, anyone from Tom McEwen[

Tampa Tribune] to Ed Pope [Miami Herald].

G: That has been one of the real joys, developing a friendship and mutual respect

with Eddie [Pope] and McEwen and Hubert Mizell and, now, Mike Bianchi, who is in

Jacksonville.... We are like a tribe, and not only statewide but nationally because I

cover the national events for us. It is like a traveling family out there.... And there is

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healthy competition between all of these guys, but there is also a sense of helping out

one another as well....

W: What are your opinions on guys, maybe the younger generation, like Mitch

Album and Bianchi, Pat Dooley [sportswriter, Gainesville Sun], who voice their opinions

in different ways than you do in your columns? I mean, these guys are, perhaps, more


G: There are a lot of different styles, and there is a lot of great young talent out there.

I think Mike Bianchi in Jacksonville is one really enjoyable bright young columnist

around, as an example. But the [Bob ]Woodward and [Carl] Bernstein [columnist for

the Washington Post during the Watergate scandal] [and] Watergate infested

journalism with people who wanted to get somebody, to get some spectacular


There was a movement to raise the ethics of journalists. In some cases, I think it

went too far.... One sports editor, whom I will not name here, got so carried away with

the ethics at an APSE meeting, Associated Press Sports Editors Convention [that] he

got up and proposed that they adopt ethics guidelines that would include repaying

teams for their fax transmission when they sent you stats... and he was hooted down ..

There is a story I like to tell of Jim Murray, the columnist in L. A. ... He heard from

some of the younger writers that there was this ethics movement and that there were

no-nos about accepting this and that. Santa Anita Racetrack sent him, as they did

every Christmas, a fifth of whiskey as a Christmas gift. So, he called his managing

editor whom he worked under and said, I know that we have some new rules about gifts

and things; Santa Anita sent me a fifth of whiskey for Christmas, so what should I do

FNP 44 page 19

about it? And the guy said, drink it. He said, a fifth is gift; a case is a bribe. So, I have

told that story often.

There are some social graces involved. If I play golf some place and people insist

that I have a complimentary drink, I can kick and scream and say, how dare you, and I

am going to pay for this drink. Well, what I do in a case like that is, I will go over and

buy a shirt from the shop or a sleeve of balls or something or, at some later time, I will

try to take that person out to dinner or something to reciprocate, to balance the

relationship. But, there is just the human interaction that intervenes at some point and

time. I am all about trying to establish trust with people. When you come off as pious

and perfect, then you do not establish trust; you establish suspicion....


Samuel Proctor Oral History Program

University of Florida

Florida Newspaper Project

Interviewee: Larry Guest

Interviewer: Adam Warrington

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