Stillwater News Press

Sports Columns

July 2, 2014

Off The Rim: Kansas native returns to Big 12 territory after time in Big 10 country

STILLWATER, Okla. — After more than two years in Iowa and Indiana, a job opportunity has brought me back to Big 12 country and I must say it feels great to be back.

This is my first time living in Oklahoma and it’s been a warm welcome. It’s not my first time in Stillwater, as I’ve been here four times during my college cross country experience.

I grew up in Baldwin City, Kan., where I graduated high school before attending Baker University. It’s an NAIA school with an enrollment of about 1,000 students. I studied journalism and graduated in December 2004 with a mass communications degree. One day after my commencement, I started a job with my hometown newspaper, which was a small weekly.

In March 2012, I moved away from home and took a job at two weekly newspapers for two small twin cities. I enjoyed my experience and the relationships I built in Tama, Iowa. However, like most journalists, I was still searching for a bigger opportunity and a chance to work for a daily newspaper.

I landed that job in October. My wife and I, who were married a year ago this upcoming Sunday, moved to Frankfort, Ind. I accepted a job as the sports editor at the Frankfort Times, where I was once again the lone sports staff person. I covered four county high schools during my eight and a half months in Indiana.

Although Iowa State is a Big 12 school, a large portion of the state’s fan base are Iowa Hawkeye fans. Big 10 was the primary college conference, as it is in Indiana, so I was a Jayhawk fan out of his territory.

Then a position became open here. While it was a difficult decision to move again, it was a no-brainer on the job opportunity. The chance to work at a bigger newspaper and cover Division I sports, along with high school athletics, isn’t one I could pass up at this stage of my career. I’ll keep my Jayhawk cheering to a minimum, but old habits die hard.

On a personal side, running and sports have been a huge part of my life. I ran cross country and track throughout high school and college, but my conditioning has fallen off during the last few years. While trying to get back in shape, I’ve taken up ultimate frisbee as my other sport. Although this summer marks the first time in five years that I haven’t participated in a summer ultimate frisbee league.

My other hobbies include football, basketball and most things outdoors. I will play almost any sport or try almost anything once. I’m too competitive to back down from most athletic challenges.

Well, that’s about it for me. Feel free to email me at jgillispie@stwnewspress.com and I’ll be sure to answer any questions to start a conversation. I’ll be around this summer and more in the fall. I’m looking forward to meeting people. Don’t be a stranger – come say hi.

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