Saturday, July 14, 2012

George Wine

George Wine with UI Sports Information Staff Fall '11
Sitting in a Pizza Hut on First Avenue in Cedar Rapids as a high school student the question was asked by my sister, "So what are you going to do when you grow up?" Of course I've had a love of sports up to that time in my life, and at that time I was a big fan of the Green Bay Packers as well as Iowa Hawkeyes. Anything from that point forward had to do something with either one of those teams, or sports in general. I'm not sure what else would make me happy.

But as a high school student I thought anything was possible. And I knew that sister was expecting an answer quicker than the thought process I've just described. My knee-jerk answer was, "I want to be George Wine." George was the University of Iowa Sports Information Director at the time, and to me had the ideal job of anyone. He was on the scene for all of the great Hawkeye sports moments of the day. He was around famous Hawkeye coaches and athletes. On a weekly basis he was the main contact for all radio and television networks and dealt with their talent and those who were beat reporters from around the state of Iowa.

How could I not want to be like George Wine. This job had my interest of sports, the Hawkeyes and the media. This would be right up my alley.

I didn't end of being George Wine, but my life's path led to know George and have a job that met many of these same criteria.

Today we honored George's life as he passed away from a heart attack early in the morning of July 5th.

I got to know George when I started working for the Hawkeyes in 1989. I didn't know him well, but he knew who I was and treated me with the respect of those he had known for his entire career. Whether it was around the Hawkeye athletic buildings or traveling with the team he would engage me in conversation with the others around. Around him I was a member of Hawkeye family.

In college I took Sports and the Media, a class that George made a guest appearance. In the early 90s sports and the media were continuing to evolve and the question arose of whether the job of the Sports Information Director was to provide information to the media or promote student-athletes for individual honors. I remember George wasn't comfortable over promoting, although that was part of his job, but provide honest information to the media and allowing them to make their own decision.

An overflow crowed jammed into a downtown Iowa City church to listen to friends and family relive George stories. There were some tears, but many laughs - they way it should be. And the way George would want it to be.

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