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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, times 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

I cover mostly San Jose State football for the San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group, but also fill in from time to time with the 49ers, Warriors, A's and Giants.

  • Michael Bower

    Nice, Jimmy. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Gonna miss those guys. Two local icons in the prep journalism world for sure.

  • Kyle Bonagura

    Ditto that. No replacing those two guys, that’s for sure.

    I can’t even begin to say how big a help Dennis has been in helping me break into journalism. From letting me cover football as a sophomore in high school when I didn’t have a license, to a letter of recommendation for an internship, to recommending me for the Argus part-time job to, to a now pushing for me to take over at the Herald.

    Saying thank you just doesn’t seem like enough.

    He has assured me that he’ll continue to come on the blog from time to time, so I guess we can settle for that…

  • TheMustard

    Yo, live from New York, it’s the Ghost of Mustards past… ‘Deen (does the deen do internet these days?) and D-Mill, congrats on your retirements… enjoy the world outside of BANG.

    you guys are troopers. decades and decades of prep writing… some call it dedication, i say… time to get a REAL JOB! ;)

    deen, from one husky (washington high, not fat guy) to another, all the best

    d-mill, see you around ptown this summer, i’m sure. where’s suchon these days? we should have a reunion.

    hoose, the torch is yours…. carry it like the crusty veteran you’ve become.

    god bless the goose. and the other local papers, too.

  • Donfan

    gotta say dennis miller changed high school basketball in the 08 season. i made sure to read his page every tuesday.

  • Hoop Fan

    The Whistle will definitely be missed in the entire Tri-Valley area.