We sat down with former sports editor of the Long Beach Press-Telegram, the legendary Jim McCormack, at Legends on 2nd Street and he took us back in time to Long Beach sports of yesteryear. He talked about legendary Long Beach State coaches and walked us through how media has changed (14:50-47:32). Shoot Your Shot continues to be the official podcast of the countdown to the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles (2:34-4:47). In 'Iron Sharpens Iron' we talked about the red-hot St. Anthony basketball team and the recent commitment from Poly football player Cam McDonald to Florida State (4:48-9:50). We talk about what's been really making us angry in 'Grind My Gears' (9:51-13:07). We go back to the future in our segment '908 into the Future' where we make interesting predictions on games that haven't been played yet (50:54-54:58). Good JuJu/Bad JuJu is a hit segment with our favorite Long Beach native JuJu Smith-Schuster (55:00-57:07). 908's Shoot Yours Hot Topic/Shoot Your Shot Topic is picking up steam as we debate some of the hot topics of the week (57:10-1:03:35). As always we ended the show with the 908 Athlete of the Week. This week is Long Beach State basketball player Gabe Levin (1:03:38-1:04:17).
Jim McCormack Q and A
We sat down with former sports editor of the Long Beach Press-Telegram, the legendary Jim McCormack, at Legends on 2nd Street and he took us back in time to Long Beach sports of yesteryear. He talked about legendary Long Beach State coaches and walked us through how media has changed.
Q: How long were you the sports editor at the Long Beach Press-Telegram?
A: 25 years.
Q: How long were you at the PT in general?
A: I worked there for 45 years. I started in 1962 and retired in 2007.
Q: How did you get into the business?
A: There’s always been a person there for me at the right place at the right time in my career. I grew up in a little town in Jacksonville, Oregon and my universe was 10 miles in diameter until I moved to Compton with my aunt. I was a student at Compton and wanted to get into the newspaper business. They needed a guy on Friday nights and I got a job with the PT. I said I couldn’t take the job because I didn’t have a car, but Bill Shawhan, a Compton publicist, picked me up at 5 pm and drove me home at 3 am every Friday night.
Q: What’s your most memorable sports moment, while working at the PT?
A: The Long Beach State women’s basketball team played an exhibition game against the Russian national team in the Gold Mine and the place was packed. Everyone remembers when UCLA’s Tyus Edney drove the length of the court to beat Missouri in the NCAA tournament, but Dana Wilkerson did the same thing against Russia to win 96-95 in her first game with LBSU.
Q: Can you walk us through what a deadline was like for you back in the day?
A: For sports writers in particular, we don’t seem to function very well until the building is on fire. Deadlines were maddening, but necessary. It’s an incredible amount of pressure and really a different culture.
Q: What was your favorite sports team to cover?
A: Lute Olson’s 24-2 team in 1974 was really remarkable. That was a team that might have challenged for a national championship. They were your prototypical college basketball team. Clifton and Roscoe Pondexter, Leonard Gray, Rick Aberegg, and Glenn McDonald. They were ineligible for the tournament because of NCAA sanctions and that was unfortunate. Bobby Gross was the sixth man on that team and ended up being the Big West Player of the Year as a senior.
Q: What was one specific coach or player that you could count on for a good quote?
A: Jerry Tarkanian. You can unscrew a coke bottle with his ear. Tark could never relax in those situations. He was a very special part of my life and a riot on roller skates.
Q: Do you like Jason Giambi or Evan Longoria?
A: I like them both. If I had to pick one over the other, which I shouldn’t have to, I’d pick Jason. Jason’s intensity was really something else. He was on fire from the second he stepped on the field.
Q: What’s your number one source to consume sports news?
A: MaxPreps. I really like high school sports.
Q: What’s the best word count for a good article?
A: The article is going to depend on the significance of the subject. The number I would give you is 16-20 and that would be the number of words in a sentence. That’s more important.
Q: What was your post deadline meal?
A: An old place called Naugles in La Mirada, which was owned by Del Taco. I’d also grab a six-pack of beer and we would Naugles and beer until about 3 am.
Q: What’s your least favorite beverage?
A: Cranberry juice with no sugar in it.
Q: Who is your favorite Seinfeld character?
A: I’d probably go with Kramer.
Q: What’s your favorite sports movie?
A: I like the Natural, which might be a neutral choice.
Q: What’s your favorite vacation spot?
A: It would probably be somewhere on a golf course with my grandson.
Q: Would you rather spend two hours in the Walter Pyramid or Blair Field?
A: Blair Field is one of my favorite places on earth. If I die and had a memorial service, I’d want it to be at Blair Field.
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