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Column: A name you should know

Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2012, at 10:30 PM

There are a lot of names in this paper every day.

You probably are able to put faces with many of them because they belong to famous professional athletes, Southeast Missouri State players that are photographed time and again for these pages or high school students you've watched play over the years.

The achievements of all these people are spelled out here on a regular basis, as they should be.

Other names you might not notice, like the ones that appear at the top of the stories and at the top of the pages.

You might not be able to put a face with the name Kevin Winters Morriss, but for the last 5 1/2 years, he has been the one in charge of making sure you can do with all the other names.

This is Kevin's last week as the Southeast Missourian sports editor, and he is going to be missed.

Under his leadership the Missourian sports section has compiled an impressive list of achievements that aren't often highlighted here, which is just fine by him.

Case in point, the Missourian won the Associated Press Sports Editors organization's Triple Crown in February.

Just 14 papers in the country did that, and it was the first time the Missourian ever won it.

To earn the Triple Crown, the Missourian was selected by sports editors from around the country as one of the top 10 papers of its size for daily sections, Sunday sections and special sections, like the football preview section that will be published Thursday.

The Missourian had been recognized many times before by the APSE and other organizations with Kevin leading the way, but in hindsight the Triple Crown was an appropriate culmination of Kevin's work here.

I suggested we make a banner for the top of the paper to announce the achievement every day, but Kevin wouldn't hear of it. He ran five paragraphs on it in the paper with some nudging, but I know it meant a lot to him to have his work recognized by his peers.

He's leaving to become the assistant sports editor in charge of prep coverage for The Salt Lake Tribune, a paper with more than five times the circulation of the Missourian.

I'll miss working with him of course, but I only can be happy for him and his family and about the opportunity he has earned.

Kevin and I have spent a lot of hours together, from late nights in the newsroom that turned into early mornings of editing the basketball preview section to long drives to and from playoff game to hours-long meetings planning projects or picking all-Missourian teams.

It's during these long days that we have our best conversations, like the one during which we made the (unsettled) bet that if I could throw a strike off a high school baseball mound wearing tennis shoes, I could certainly do so wearing six-inch heels and a dress.

He is as reliably good of a human being as I have ever met, and I don't throw around that kind of compliment.

From his temperament, which always is reasoned and positive, to his treatment of others, which is kind whether he's talking to an angry reader, a co-worker or an athlete, he's been a steady and calm force in my professional and personal life.

His work is just as reliable and just as good. The awards tell you about the results, but they can't tell you about all the Saturday mornings he was here until 4 or 5 a.m. writing and editing stories and then designing pages of high school football coverage from the night before. They can't tell you how he returned early each Saturday afternoon and worked until midnight to make sure those Sunday sections were worthy of your kitchen table and the awards they eventually won.

He runs marathons, completes triathlons and makes these cute Christmas cookies that look like reindeer and have Red Hots for noses. He calls meetings designed only to come up with ideas to make the Missourian sports coverage better where he comes up with genius ideas about me writing a column and absorbs my sarcasm with an admirable amount of tolerance.

I doubt many of you think the sports section is perfect, and I'm not going to try to convince you that it is. It's not.

But it has been produced with a considerable amount of thought, professionalism and work during Kevin's time as editor. It still will be produced that way after he's gone, of course, but I wanted to point out his name -- in case you never noticed it before -- and thank him for a job well done.

Rachel Crader is the editor of semoball.com. You can reach her at rcrader@semissourian.com.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Hey, thanks for the heads up, Rachel. Best wishes to Kevin and thanks for your efforts the last handful of years.

-- Posted by Captain Awesome on Wed, Aug 22, 2012, at 8:01 AM

Thanks, Kevin! Good luck in your new opportunity!

-- Posted by Rocket689 on Wed, Aug 22, 2012, at 4:20 PM

I have known Kevin since we were both in diapers. Working in the media is far from the careers he talked about while we grew up. Fortunately, life has a funny way of taking you where you need to go. I am truly proud of Kevin not just for his many acomplishments, but for the hummility and honesty by which he has acheived them. I am honored to call him a life long friend and a brother by choice.

-- Posted by RedTailofCU on Wed, Aug 22, 2012, at 7:11 PM

Only met Kevin once, but he was extremely professional and very nice. Good luck to him in his future endeavors. Great article Rachel.

-- Posted by Matt Duckworth on Thu, Aug 23, 2012, at 10:09 AM

As one who has worked alongside (and once written for) Kevin, I have nothing but the utmost respect for someone I think is one of the best young sports editors in the country. Continued success to him as he transitions to Utah.

-- Posted by vincebrown on Sun, Aug 26, 2012, at 1:17 AM

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Rachel Crader is the editor of semoball.com. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in May of 2009 before spending the summer covering the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

Highlights from Rachel's days in college include having a class down the hall from Chase Daniel and having NCAA wrestling champion Ben Askren hold the door open for her at Brady Commons, Mizzou's student center. She spent time covering Mizzou basketball, softball and baseball while working for the Columbia Missourian and is excited to return home to Southeast Missouri to cover local sports for semoball.com.

Rachel has covered three Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournaments for the Southeast Missourian and semoball.com, and she'll see you courtside again this year.