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Farewell to two of the best

Tomorrow will be an emotional day for us in the newspaper business as we say good-bye to more than 100 employees company-wide who had their buyouts accepted. At the prep sports level, we say good-bye to a pair of mainstays in Oakland Tribune local sports editor Steve Herendeen and Tri-Valley Herald local sports editor Dennis Miller. Combined, the duo has served the company for 47 years — experience that just can’t be replaced.

Anyone who has ever picked up one of the papers in our chain (Oakland Tribune, Tri-Valley Herald, Daily Review and Fremont Argus) over the past three decades has undoubtedly read one of their articles. Chances are, if you played high school sports in the area, they covered one of your games. I know Herendeen, in fact, was on the sidelines when I equaled my career high in rushing in a football game against Piedmont several years ago.

They were both a rare breed, ones who truly enjoyed covering local sports. It’s where they felt they belonged and it’s where they stayed until the end of their newspaper careers. Personally, working at the Oakland Tribune the past seven months with Herendeen as been a treat. While I had been on staff with Steve before, the opportunity to work day in and day out with him was more beneficial than I can describe. It was truly an opportunity to learn from a legend and I’ll miss having him around. Today, as I was reading over his farewell column that will run tomorrow (Tuesday), it was a tough thing to do. It will be hard to arrive at my desk, lean over to the next cubicle, and not see him there. Or to hear that office door open, and not be followed by the sounds of his swishy pants strolling over. I learned a lot from him, and I know my colleagues Michael Bower and Steve Waterhouse would say the same. We’ll do our best to maintain the level of local sports coverage in his absence, but it won’t be easy.

The same can be said for Miller. Always one to ruffle some feathers, his dedication could never be questioned. If there’s a bigger advocate for the athletes and teams in the area he covered, I’d like to meet him. Dennis was the Valley. And while he’d bust your chops to prove a point, he was always there to support a colleague. During my first stint with ANG Newspapers, as I was preparing to graduate college, I was seeking a full-time position. Dennis was among the first to tell me that if I ever need a letter of recommendation, to let him know. I also remember when I first got started writing, my soccer knowledge was a little lacking. A couple calls to Dennis and I got much more up to speed quickly.

Good luck to both as they prepare to enter new journeys and challenges. We’ll never be able to replace you.

To our readers,┬átimes are changing. With a smaller staff, we won’t be able to do the same things as we have before. But fear not, we’re as dedicated as always to providing the best possible coverage of local sports we can.

Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin is a sports writer for the Bay Area News Group.