I saw this come across our Rock M slack channel, and then twitter afterward, and I audibly gasped. I didn’t know what to do. Truly shocking information. You guys... Matter is leaving the Post-Dispatch. I am flummoxed. Discombobulated. Disoriented. All the words.
A thread (or part of it, anyway)
Forgive the schmaltz, but in lieu of a farewell column, I’ll unload here: In 2013, P-D sports editor Roger Hensley gave me a shot - and had my back every day since. He’s fiercely loyal to his writers and let me shape the Mizzou beat how I saw fit. Forever grateful, Rog.— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) August 23, 2023
In 2018 the P-D let me revive the campus correspondent position that’s helped launch careers for some incredible writers. I've loved playing a small role in their ascent : Anne Rogers, Christina Long, Bennett Durando, Max Baker, Calum McAndrew and now Eli Hoff. So much talent— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) August 23, 2023
The folks mentioned above who, as J-Schoolers, have served as campus correspondents and have gone on to do great things. Let’s review: Anne covers the Royals for MLB.com. Christina is now covering Clemson for the Greenville News after covering Arkansas for a few years out of college. Bennett is the Colorado Avalanche writer for The Denver Post and also covered the Nuggs’ championship after writing about Auburn for the Montgomery Advisor out of JSchool. Max is an editor for the KC Star. Calum now works for the Trib (in Dave’s old post!). And Eli is perhaps the most incredible get of them all. He is truly phenomenal, having covered everything, from Higher Ed to the hazing scandals that plague Mizzou’s Greek system for the Missourian to serving as a Washington correspondent. He was a frequent caller to the dean’s office during his time on the beat, and we’re finally rid of him (JK). I sincerely hope this program continues in Dave’s absence as it has helped produce a great number of sports journos. #JSchoolBestSchool
Gather ‘round, friends, it’s story time.
Dave and I met way back in 2011 when I was just a bebe, masquerading for a couple seasons as the men’s and women’s head swim coach at Hickman and Rock Bridge High Schools. Matter was on the Mizzou beat (and HS sports beat) at the Columbia Tribune at the time, a post he would leave in 2013. There wasn’t much coverage of Olympic sports in those days, as Hickman’s unparalleled dominance in MSHSAA women’s swimming had died out (more on that later). You see, long ago, Hickman was a juggernaut, and between 1990-99, the women’s team won three championships, had countless individual champions, and finished 2nd an additional 7 times. Just craziness. They were terrifyingly good and just bigger and better than anyone else, as witnessed by me and my Hazelwood Central teammates at the time. I had nightmares of the Bohon sisters. Those Kewpies were scary. So when the former head coach was let go after the season in 2011 —he’d been the coach there longer than I’d been on this earth— I got offered the job. I had a men’s team title (2009) and several more years of top 3-4 performances for both teams in my 6 years at the helm, to go with coaching numerous state champions and All-Americans at Lake Norman High School in Mooresville, North Carolina. (Readers, I bring this up only because it was a big deal when JH was let go and I was hired— they interviewed me for a TV spot, for god’s sake. It was an intense position, and full of way too much scrutiny for my liking.) A St. Louis native, I jumped at the chance to return “home” and get to watch my Missouri sports teams in person— they were not readily available for viewing back then, and while I loved my NC teams dearly and I still talk to many of them to this day, it was time to go and return to my roots to take over what had historically been a very, very (very) good program.
So in the spring of 2012, as my Rock Bridge girls team, full of swimmers who rejoined the high school swimming ranks after a years-long fracture led to many club swimmers skipping the season altogether, we prepared for the Bruins’ first real quest (of many in the years following with others at the helm) state swimming championships. And that’s when we meet this story’s hero — Dave Matter, superwriter. He was tasked to meet up with this newbie coach and chat high school swimming, of which I am 100% certain was not his topic of choice. But he was awesome, so nice and so damn good at his job, able to capture snippets from a bunch of high school girls who were not used to being asked to talk to the media. Hell, instead of canceling one of our meetings, Dave even showed up one day to conduct interviews with barely a voice. Nevertheless, he persisted, as deadlines wait for no man.
Fast forward to the present. I’ve since been out of the coaching world for over a decade now (omg), but we still remain friendly and I’m always willing to share info with him and help in any way I can. I have continued to devour his work for the Post-Dispatch, as well as his Mizzou-themed books, and often think about how Dave approaches things — like a WWDMD?!? — as I venture into my own quasi-sportswriting side hustle. I am sad to see this come to an end, though Matter’s said it is not the last we’ll see of him in CoMo or with Mizzou. Like so many others at the Post before him (I miss you every day, Bryan Burwell, and even Joe Strauss, that curmudgeon) I appreciate good sports writing, and Dave is a master class, a consummate professional, and a great mentor for so many young aspiring sports journos out there. In short, he really IS the Mizzou beat.
Witness. The quote tweets on this are just... *chef’s kiss.* He’s made such a difference in the lives of so many J School folks, as well as others who just admired his moxie.
Quotes of this, comments will tell you more than I can about what Dave has meant to the #Mizzou beat, #CoMo, beyond. Thrilled he'll be carrying on w/ something #Mizzou-related. Lucky to work w/ him for years at @columbiatribune, have him mentor so many of our @mujschool students. https://t.co/brifuL5nml— Pete Bland (@xblandx) August 23, 2023
They gotta put Dave's media credentials in the rafters of the J-School building.— Mark Kim (@MarkJKim_) August 23, 2023
The Mizzou beat will never be the same. Salute to a legend. https://t.co/m36apRJTqN
In honor of this, I asked some of our writers to share what being around a figure like Matter has meant to them.
“For over two decades, Dave has set a fantastic example for aspiring sports journalists. I haven’t even known him for a full calendar year, but it didn’t take me very long to tell how good he was at his job. I wish him the best on whatever his future entails.”
“I learned quite a lot watching Dave Matter work these past one-plus years. First of which is how to interview and get the most out of a source that you’re talking to. Watching him has raised my confidence level in knowing how to interview and what to say at a given time. Additionally, Dave’s writing has proved as an inspiration to me. He has a unique way of telling stories, specifically features. As someone who desires to be a storyteller, Dave is the epitome of that craft and it’s been a pleasure being able to be in the same realm as him these past two years. I know that Dave’s talents will guide him to success wherever he goes, and I hope students of the future look back to him for inspiration on how to cover a beat and write about collegiate athletics.”
“Growing up in Columbia, I of course have paid close attention to Mizzou athletics. Once I discovered that I could keep up with coverage of MU sports on social media at a young age, Dave Matter was one of the most reliable sources that kept me up to date. I was fortunate enough to be able to observe just how good he is at this profession, and also he is an absolute great person as well. It’s going to be odd without him being on the Mizzou beat this year, but I wish him the absolute best. “
“One thing for sure, he helped inspire a kid from Columbia to pursue sports journalism and I know a lot of fans, and people including me, around the state of Missouri are going to miss his coverage.”
“It’s been a privilege to observe how Dave goes about his day-to-day work and the way he carries himself in the box/at pressers. I’ve only been able to glimpse but two of the many years he’s been on the Mizzou beat, but I’ve learned so much from him during that time. It’s tough to see one of the leaders of this field leave the beat, but I’d imagine Dave will be just fine wherever he ends up.”
We’ll miss you, Dave. Truly the end of an era. Also, poor Gabe...
Me at the season opener next Thursday pic.twitter.com/UomsPJ6nUJ— Power Mizzou (@PowerMizzoucom) August 23, 2023
On to the Links!
Yesterday at Rock M
- Parker writes: Three non-starters who will have a major impact on the ‘23 season for Mizzou
- Nate asks: What are YOUR 2023 Missouri Football Predictions?
- IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Sam started non-con hoops previews... cuz why not? Here’s his look at the Memphis Tigers | Josh asked where Mizzou’s starting LB rank in the SEC
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: How Johnny Walker Jr.’s wait led to a starting position on Mizzou’s D-line (Eli Hoff) | Tipsheet: Conference chaos will force more change to College Football Playoff (Jeff Gordon) | BenFred: In sign of transfer times, Mizzou football season will feature multiple former Tigers (Ben Frederickson)
- Columbia Tribune: Game-by-game predictions, including an upset pick, for Mizzou football (Chris Kwiecinski) | Three bold predictions for Mizzou football in 2023 (Calum McAndrew)
- The Athletic ($$): Stewart Mandel’s SEC predictions: Can Georgia 3-peat? Will Alabama bounce back?
Mandel predicts — spoiler alert — that Mizzou will finish 4th in the East, tied with the Wildcats, and behind UGA, Tennessee, and the [shudders] Other Columbia team.
- This is cool. I can’t recall a time when this many have been in the running, but my football knowledge isn’t always to date
- Great listen from Mizzou Radio and the Inside Mizzou Athletics podcast:
On this Inside @MizzouAthletics Podcast, Five Football Minutes w/ @MizzouFootball's @mcgetbusy5, @kickerhmevis6, @KD1ERA & @XavierD72 . Then, the finale to Brad & Matt's bracket of battling mascots!— Mizzou Radio (@MizzouRadio) August 23, 2023
Listen & share it with your #Mizzou friends: https://t.co/wJmQWC7y8q#MIZ #STP
- PowerMizzou: Projecting Missouri football’s starting offense for week one of 2023 season (Jarod Hamilton) | Four Down Territory: Superlatives Addition (Hamilton) | Check out the new episode of Mizzou, That’s Who with Gabe, Tucker & Maggie
- Something to Prove. I love Mizzou’s secondary, which coincidentally, we are covering this week (I think?)
- PowerMizzou: Mizzou Hoops opponent preview— Memphis Tigers (Drew King)
- Highlights from D’Moi Hodge’s charity game at home
Some unforgettable moments and highlights from my charity game from my visit Home ❤️ pic.twitter.com/kVyOCj9lLx— D'Moi Hodge (@Dmoi_VI) August 24, 2023
- From Kobe (on Kobe Day)— I actually wore my Kobe shirt on Wednesday not even thinking about it being Kobe Day. He’s always with us:
- Jordan Clarkson is representing Team Philippines
Other Mizzou Sports
It took just 15 minutes for sophomore Kylee Simmons to tally her first goal of the season and put Mizzou up 2-0 against SEMO on Aug. 17. She followed that performance with two goals at Creighton on Aug. 20 to help the team to a 3-1 win. She currently tops the SEC in multiple categories, including points (6), points per game (3.00), goals (3) and goals per game (1.5).
Five freshmen made their first career starts in the opening week of action: Brianna Buels, Olivia Chianelli, Ana DiMaria, Kate Phillips and Shania Spriggs versus SEMO & Creighton. Spriggs totaled a goal and assist vs. SEMO, while Chianelli tallier her first gol against SEMO, assisted by Buels. Phillips had her first start in goal and had a career shutout. In this contest, the Redhawks did not register a shot.
- First week fits for Mizzou Gymnastics. Best dressed on campus? I mean... I admire the shoe game. I’ve had my eyes on Joci’s university gold Jordan 1 Lows for a while now.
- D1 Baseball’s Kendall Rogers ranked the 20 most impactful hires of the offseason, and gave a reasoning why.
- Let’s check in on Mizzou Softball’s core value pyramid, shall we?
- Welcome back, Tanner Houck! St. Louisan and former Tiger Tanner Houck back on bump for Red Sox two months after suffering facial fracture (Ethan Erickson)
- If you’re looking to sign up for ESPN+, Rock M Nation now has an affiliate link: click Here for ESPN+ Now!
- If you’re looking to sign up for a new streaming service, you can try FuboTV: click HERE for FuboTV access — FuboTV now has ESPN, CBS, FS1 and more sports channels.
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