Sometimes I feel like I've been at this job too long. I keep losing friends made in this job.
It's been decades.
But it seems like just yesterday, the first time I heard a phone call begin, "Hello...this is DEWEY!"
I started working at the Daily News as a 17-year-old high school kid in 1978. I came to Rolla four years earlier from a tiny Arkansas town. I was very impressed by the big city that Rolla seemed to be. And the fact there was a university here. And I've stayed impressed with our university ever since.
When I got to the RDN and started covering local sports, I got to be around the S&T (then Missouri-Rolla) Athletic Department.
There I met many of the pillars of Miner athletics.
I missed out being around Gale Bullman, obviously one of the main Miner athletic pillars (the school's multi-purpose building, where the athletic offices are located, carries his name).
However, I got to be around some other great coaches such as Billy Key, Charlie Finley, Bud Mercier, Chuck Broyles, Joe Keeton...and Dewey Allgood.
Those and several others were of great help to a young kid trying to do a good job without really having a clue what he was doing. They helped guide me and were very understanding.
Even when I would mess things up, like when I once wrote a feature on the UMR football team's dominating defensive line and somehow forgot to mention the best down lineman – Joe Kinsella, who could bench press 500 pounds at the time. Oops! Broyles made sure Kinsella didn't come after me!
One by one we have lost several of those pillars, including Bullman, Finley, Mercier...and now Allgood.
Dewey Allgood passed away Tuesday at the age of 91.
He was UMR's cross country and track coach when I began working with him. However, that was just a small part of the impression he has left on the Miner athletic program.
Allgood came to Rolla to coach at the then-Missouri School of the Mines before Elvis. Actually he came here when HARRY TRUMAN was our president, in 1950!
He first came as Miner men's basketball head coach before resigning that post after 14 years in favor of Key. The Miners have had just four men's basketball head coaches since Dewey took the job.
Dewey then took over as the football head coach, replacing Bullman in 1964 and holding that post until giving way to Finley in 1972. He also served a stint as the school's golf coach and then had a long run as the team's cross country and track coach.
In addition to his coaching duties, Allgood also served as director of intramurals, assistant athletics director and chairman of the physical education program at the school for years and years. He also organized the school's athletic booster club.
Page 2 of 2 - Many times while going through old Daily News bound volumes looking for something I would run across columns written by Allgood, promoting Miner athletics before the school had a full-time, paid sports information director.
The man did everything but sell popcorn at the concession stand for that program. Come to think of it, I believe I have bought popcorn from Dewey while he was helping the M-Club.
Away from the school you could usually find Allgood in his cattle truck. I don't know when the man rested; he always seemed to be on the go.
An obvious choice for the school's athletic hall of fame, the school's football/track and field facility was also named after Allgood, as one of his former football players, Keith Bailey, made a major donation to get the facility renovated. It is called Allgood-Bailey Stadium, with Bailey insisting his coach be included in the name.
During my time in the Daily News sports department there have been a few coaches who were immediately recognizable on the telephone. Dewey was one of them.
"Hello....this is DEWEY!" he would say in a loud voice...every time. "I know." I would say.
And it was always a joy to talk with him. The last time I chatted with Dewey for an extended period was in his room in October of 2011. Then 89, he was still as sharp as a tack, remembering even the slightest details about his coaching career...and his beloved St. Louis Cardinals.
He is one of the many who have made it a pleasure to work here over the last 35 years.
God bless you, Coach.
I already miss you; it seems like there are too many of you guys I miss.