There have been news days and there have been NEWS days here at OTP over the last few years. When we broke the story about Brady Hoke leaving, that was a NEWS day. When we broke the story about Pete Lembo being hired, that was a NEWS day. When we transitioned from the old site to this one, that was just a news day. Today is probably more of the latter than the former, but it’s noteworthy all the same.
Beginning April 16, Fearless Leader will be transitioning to a new role as the Managing Editor of Hustle Belt (www.hustlebelt.com). Most of you who have been loyal Fans of the Pylon for the last few years should be familiar with HB, but in case you aren’t, it’s the MAC home on SB Nation, the preeminent site network for news, notes, features, and fun. I’m excited for the opportunity, grateful for the chance, but more than anything, I’m thankful for the loyal support of the Ball State fanbase that made the Pylon part of their digital routine.
Back in 2008 when The Pylon started, the blogosphere was the wild west of sports commentary and critique. There was a lack of substantive local coverage, a significant lack of BSU in the blogosphere, and nowhere close to the options that are present these days for MAC and subsequent Ball State news and notes. Site co-founder RV and I began this site as a way to kill some time and bring snark to the masses, as if there was any sort of lack of that. What followed would be a seven-year ride that would see undefeated seasons, coach searches, AD searches, podcasts, The Parrish Era, the CPL regime, and now The Neu Day. The things we’ve been able to do, able to see, able to chronicle, and able to be privy to all made this something more than just two dudes chirping (see what I did there?) about BSU sports.
I don’t know what role OTP played in the current landscape of Cardinal coverage, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that coverage of BSU is night and day from what it was when The Pylon started. The size of the role we played in prompting better coverage, seeking better access, and providing opportunities for fans to see the inner workings of the program is anyone’s guess, but I’m proud of the work we have done, the tone we have set, and the legacy we’ll leave.
To be clear, this isn’t a goodbye. This is a see you later. It is entirely likely posts will pop up here that are tremendously BSU focused or homer-riffic from time to time. I’ll still be somewhat active on our Twitter (@OverThePylon) for BSU stuff. And who knows, this could all be an epic disaster and I’m back here Pylon-ing it up in a couple of weeks. Despite the sadness of stepping away, part of what has made this decision easier is the fact that I’ll still have the ability to be a voice for BSU and the athletic program, albeit on a larger stage and as part of larger MAC coverage.
I’d be remiss to not give some thanks to some folks who made the Pylon what it was. First and foremost, the site’s leadership through the years like RV, Edge, and Jason who provided all sorts of things from a different perspective to just an ear to bounce things off of. Folks who wrote for the site like Jen Zarate, Dustin White, and Nathan Pace provided some great perspective as well. Our work with local media like Ben Breiner and Tom Davis made our coverage better and bridged a gap that was insurmountable when we started. Our Ball State contacts made what we did easier and more informative. Folks like Joe Hernandez, Chris Ulm, Tyson Matthews, Brad Caudill, and really the entire media relations staff made our jobs easier and our coverage better. From an administration standpoint, folks like Bill Scholl and Brian Hardin helped us immeasurably and never made us feel like anything other than a respected outlet. We didn’t get a chance to work closely with Mark Sandy or Michael Clark, but I’m very impressed with what we’ve seen so far. I’m excited to keep working with all of them under a different masthead.
Finally, we have to thank the coaches, staff, and players who made our time worthwhile. Coaches Hoke, Parrish, and Lembo all treated us with the utmost respect and value. I have no reason to believe Coach Neu would have been any different and look forward to working with him as part of Hustle Belt. A special shout out to some assistant coaches through the years like Joey Lynch, Jason Eck, Phil Burnett, Eddie Faulkner, and others who helped champion the cause of OTP.
On a personal note, I have to thank the countless number of fans and readers who have interacted with the site, listened to the podcast, commented on social media, emailed us, etc. Though the Ball State fanbase is small, it is mighty, and there is a small part of me that is tremendously sad to be stepping back from something we started, maintained, and created simply for the love of our institution. Running OTP was a labor of love and one that I hope can be either passed on to an eager Cardinal fan or rekindled at some point.
But for now, it’s onward and upward at Hustle Belt. I think it fitting to close our time here the way Jason has closed the last few seasons of the OTPcast, as we all are proving that there are multiple someones with enough free time to obsess over Ball State athletics.
Thanks for the memories and the support and we’ll see you at Hustle Belt!