PRUETT COLUMN: Editor Cowles will be missed

Published 5:13 pm Saturday, December 24, 2016

I have a routine when I first enter the Port Arthur News office every day. If I time it right, the first thing I do is walk to editor Roger Cowles’ door and say hello and ask how he is doing.

It is weird to know I am days away from never having that chance again.

Cowles is retiring this week after working in this industry since 1976. It would be four more years before I entered this world.

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He has been editor since about the time I turned into a teenager. I wasn’t even able to drive and Cowles was already in the position he is retiring from.

I started my career here at The News in 2000 as a general news reporter. A man by the name of Paul Brown, then the assistant editor at The News, hired me and soon I was introduced to Roger.

Roger, I must admit I was terrified every time I saw you for quite a while. He wasn’t (always) a mean guy but Roger’s presence demanded respect and attention.

It still does to this day.

I went to work as a sports writer at The Orange Leader in 2001. Several years in I was named editor there and four years ago I came back to Port Arthur to focus again on what I know best, sports.

There were many times as editor of The Leader I knew who to call or email if I had a question. Roger was the guy to ask because there isn’t a situation he has not seen.

Coming back to The News has been wonderful because I have gotten to know guys like Roger and publisher Rich Macke on a personal level.

I have learned Cowles is a blast to be around. I am sure I have more than 100 times bugged him by marching into his office and spitting out a story that only really makes sense in my head.

He will either raise his hand in confusion or put the pieces together and join in the conversation.

That will be missed. His knowledge and experience cannot be replaced. We will hire a new editor, and that person will be qualified and also a person who demands respect.

We will give that editor our best and I look forward to building a new relationship with him.

But something will always be missing and that something is Roger. I am 36 and been with this company since I was 20. My entire adult life, I have worked either with or closely with Roger Cowles.

This is twice in the last year a person The News has always held in high regard has retired counting Bob West retirement in 2015. We lost over 80 years of combined experience.

The paper will survive. I.C. Murrell’s work as sports editor is solid proof of that.

But make no mistake about it Roger, you will be missed around here. This building is losing a valued leader and someone who was always instrumental in making sure every piece of The News’ puzzle was in place each day.

Thank you for your support over the years and everything you did for my career. It would never got of the ground if not for you and Paul Brown. I will be forever grateful that you gave a guy like me a shot to do what I love to do.

I appreciate readers giving me a chance to write this column this week and taking a break from sports. There was nothing bigger in my mind than Roger’s retirement and this is where my head was this week.

Merry Christmas everyone and be safe on New Year’s Eve.

Gabriel Pruett can be reached at 721-2436 or at Twitter: @PaNewsGabe

About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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