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April 1, 2014 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
RICH "HOOT" Gibson was a writer for The Times Leader for 32 years. He did it with a flair like no other. Be it sports, hard news, music or his Reality Check column, Hoot had a uniqueness that attracted readers by the hordes while landing him countless awards. He was a scribe's scribe. Hoot loved to travel the country, watching and covering sporting events. Baseball was his favorite. That passion was fueled early on by frequent trips to Pittsburgh Pirates' games with his dad. That baseball love was further stoked by one of his St. Clairsville High School teachers -- Richard "Lefty" Hall, a prep coaching legend. The Ohio Valley Athletic Conference took note of Hoot's love for baseball as well as his ability to write about it like no other. The OVAC has opted to rename its annual baseball coach of the year award it presents at the June all-star game as the "OVAC Rich Gibson Baseball Coach of the Year." It is a classy and fitting move by OVAC Executive Secretary Tom Rataiczak and its Executive Board. "In some small way, we hope this will allow us to say, 'thanks, Hoot, you'll always be remembered,'" Rataiczak said. Rataiczak is correct. I have always said the best way to pay tribute to someone is to name something of note after that person. This award does just that for Hoot. Hoot died last July, losing a lengthy battle with cancer. Thanks to the OVAC, his legacy will live on.
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