By Logan Brandon • Sports Editor • 

Finding My Way: It’s all off the record now

Sport editor Logan Brandon signs off

Logan Brandon is the outgoing sports editor for the News-Register.
Logan Brandon is the outgoing sports editor for the News-Register.

My time at the News-Register has ended.

For the past six years, it’s been my pleasure to cover the high school and college athletics in the Yamhill Valley.

Since August 2018, I led the N-R’s sports department – which consisted of one employee: me!

I wrote about multiple state ­championship teams and profiled select athletes for feature stories.

I met incredible people during my time as sports editor, and I’m thankful they were willing to go on – and off – the record with a young journalist.

When the N-R hired me in 2016, I was a college dropout. Sure, I had writing and editing experience. And yes, I wrote my senior project at Amity High School on sports journalism. But to actually hire me? And promote me within two years?

Wow. What trust!

I’d like to thank the Bladine family for giving me the opportunity to produce content for their family newspaper. They took a chance on a local kid interested in sports, and I hope it paid off for them. Rusty Rae, former sports editor and current jack-of-all-trades, also deserves credit for mentoring me throughout my writing career.

I’ve worked with an amazing staff during my six years.

I owe copy editor Jennifer Bladine tremendous gratitude for her guidance in transforming my writing style. She displayed remarkable patience helping me adapt to newspaper format, and certainly never hesitated to mark up my stories with her trusty red pen.

Jennifer and I shared a sense of humor and too many inside jokes to count. I’ll sincerely miss dropping a story on her desk an hour before deadline, cackling as I did so.

Thank you, Jennifer. Keep up the good fight.

I also developed a strong friendship with former photographer Marcus Larson. Marcus and I passed many hours in the office chatting about baseball, video games and politics. We also had a long-running competition of friendly wagers during athletic events. We’ve bet (imaginary money) on everything from halftime entertainment to the amount of geese flying over a football game.

Thanks for the good times, the laughs and the road trips to state championships, Marcus.

Additional kudos go out to associate editor Racheal Winter, reporter Paul Daquilante and circulation manager Connie Crafton.

To Racheal, my speed on production days felt almost solely motivated by our longstanding competition to beat each other to the presses.

To Paul, I leave you the sports department’s reclining chair for those early morning naps. Take it easy, and Go Ducks!

To Connie, thank you for the small moments of banter we shared and for your warm welcomes.

I’m going to miss many aspects of my work. Writing about sports for a living was a dream job. I refuse to discount what an honor it was to cover Yamhill County’s athletes. I believe growing up in the Valley instilled a sense of duty in me; I had to accurately and objectively tell their stories, because I was in their shoes 11 years ago.

Over the years, I formed a strong bond with many coaches. This camaraderie didn’t merely pay off in the way of stories, but in our off the record conversations we had. I’m humbled to have gained their trust, and I hope I always shepherded their trust with balanced storytelling.

A few coaches deserve mention for their treatment of my media presence.

Willamina’s Ariah Fasana and Dayton’s Jacob Peterson would earn my “Media Friendly” award for their consistent availability for interviews and in sending statistics for roundups and features. Both coaches were an absolute pleasure to talk with – and I’ll miss our interactions.

Dayton’s Ron Hop, the school’s longtime boys basketball coach, knew me from my days at Amity. Despite the rivalry between our two establishments, Ron was eager to work with me from day one. I often joked how Ron was both the easiest and hardest head coach to interview. His willingness to go off-script led to great quotes, but not always relevant to my line of questioning. No regrets, though, so thank you, Ron.

At McMinnville, I developed a similar relationship with boys basketball coach Willie Graham. My first interaction with Willie occurred in 2016. I, a novice reporter, searched for Coach Graham for a postgame interview. I was pointed to the coach’s room and, to my surprise, Willie was surrounded by what seemed like 10-plus assistant coaches.

As I stood dumbfounded, everyone in the room stared at me. “What do you got, kid?” etched across their faces. Who knows what my questions were, but I’m almost certain they were stupid.

From that point, I slowly grew comfortable around Willie and his army of assistants. Willie is another coach who always made time to take questions, win or lose. I always valued his candor and willingness to trust me with off the record remarks.

Longtime Grizzly coaches Jason Hafner, Sean Coste and Jordan Barich also warrant mention for their timely availability and friendliness. Any coach with their track records commands a sense of respect, but all three played off their respective accomplishments to meet me on my level.

In Yamhill, softball coach John Kuehnel represented the best of the Valley’s coaches. John’s impressive credentials include a history of success on the field and in development, but humility sets him as the standard.

During my postgame routine, John would always decry my desire to interview him. His line of thinking seemed to be, “What do I have to offer?’

A heck of a lot, John; a heck of a lot. Thanks for the memories with you and the softball team.

I’m immensely grateful to all the coaches in the area. I can count on one hand the times I was refused an interview, and that’s a credit to the patience of the men and women leading the area’s players.

Special mention goes out to Amity’s Randy Hayes, Jed McMullen, and Brian Imlah, Dayton’s Jony Miramontes and Rob Henry, Mac’s Todd Peterson and Josh Terry, Sheridan’s Dana Dickey-Greene, Steven Grauer and Randy Rorrer, Willamina’s Cliff Toney, Heather Hughes, Tom Anderson and Dan Oswald and Y-C’s Jon Briggs, Sean Nonamaker, Becky Schrepel and Tracie Looney-McGhehey.

I’ve made lifelong connections will all those coaches. What a blessing it’s been.

As for what’s next for me, it isn’t what one would expect. Since getting married in June 2020, I’ve lived in rural Dallas. My love of the land has returned, and with it an increasing desire to take up farming.

This July, my wife, Rachel, and I prayed about our future. We wanted to transition into farming, but it took a leap of faith to step away from the newspaper. Through God’s guidance, we believe we found the right path.

One final thank you, and that’s to you, readers. Your support, whether passing compliments at games or your continued financial commitment, kept my sports writing career alive and well.

I hope my words have affected your lives for the better. By stepping outside the box score, I aimed to give you an inside glimpse into the world of Yamhill County sports.

Now, for the first time in six years, my life is off the record.

Thank you,
Logan Brandon
Former sports editor
Current elephant garlic farmer


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