The Final Chapter

RICH GIBSON never clamored for the limelight. Nor did he ever sing his own praises.

Hoot — as he was known to everyone — was selfless and a team player. He was also an ultra talented and entertaining writer. We at The Times Leader were fortunate to have Hoot as a staff writer for 32 years. His brand of journalistic craftsmanship was peerless.

For his voluminous and unique body of work, Hoot was selected to go into the media wing of The Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame. It is a tremendous honor as he joins newspaper legends Cal Pokas and Bill Van Horne in that illustrious category.

Sadly, Hoot was unable to accept his award during Saturday night’s ceremonies at WesBanco Arena. He died July 3 after a yearlong and passionate fight against lymphoma. The award was eloquently accepted in his behalf by The Times Leader publisher Lori Figurski.

Hoot knew for months that he was chosen for OVAC Hall of Fame induction. He very rarely ever mentioned such a sparkling honor to his co-workers or friends. Humility was one of his virtues. He had many.

Hoot would have relished his moment in the limelight, although he would have deflected praise and downplayed his vast talents. It would, however, have been a moment that Hoot would have been at his witty best.

The OVAC Hall of Fame honors the best of the best. No one gains entry without displaying excellence. Hoot won awards too numerous to list.

Hoot definitely lived up to those lofty standards for his three plus decades at The Times Leader. He was an elite writer, but for those of us who were fortunate to call him friend, he was an elite man.

Rich Gibson is a Hall of Famer in all respects.