Online Now 1363

Remembering Mr. Bisher

Furman Bisher died Sunday of a massive heart attack. All of us could only to live as long and as successfully as he did. He was 93.

Senior Editor Phillip Marshall

Mr. Bisher - that's all I ever called him - wrote a sports column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution until he finally retired in 2009. He worked for the newspaper for a remarkable 59 years.

In the 1960s, when I was a child, my father, sports editor and columnist for The Birmingham News, and Mr. Bisher, who worked in the same position at the Atlanta Journal, were fierce competitors. As cities, Atlanta and Birmingham were competitors in those days.

To say my father and Mr. Bisher were friends would really be stretching the truth. Jesse Outlar, the sports editor of the Atlanta Constitution (those two papers were very much competitors at the time), and my father were as close as brothers.

If I ever met Mr. Bisher before I got into the newspaper business, I don't remember it. The first time I recall meeting him was at the Masters in Augusta. He walked up to me, put his hand out and introduced himself. I knew who he was, of course. He and I talked about my father and the journalistic battles they had fought. I like to say we became friends.

Years later, when Auburn played Army in the Independence Bowl at the end of the 1996 season, Mr. Bisher was there. The day after the game, I was going to New Orleans to cover Florida and Florida State playing for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl. He was going, too, and asked for a ride.

From Shreveport to New Orleans, he talked about his years in the business, the famous athletes he'd known and about whom he'd written in his column. It was fascinating.

I'm much too biased to say Mr. Bisher was a better journalist or better writer than my father, but I have to say he stands alone in our profession with his longevity and accomplishments. He wrote his last column on the same typewriter he used to write his first one in 1950. And he certainly was a great writer.

Mr. Bisher was a giant of our business in a time that will never be again.

Moving on:

What a big, big win for Auburn's baseball on Sunday at Ole Miss.

When the Tigers were down 2-1 in the top of the ninth with two strikes on Ryan Tella, I'd already written my blurb for the message board saying they had lost. But Tella hit a double, Cullen Wacker hit a double and Garrett Cooper hit a single. Just like that, Auburn was ahead 3-2 and went on to win the game and the series.

It's been a while since Auburn won an SEC game like that.

Auburn's pitchers were terrific all weekend. Maybe this team, with so many new faces going into the season, is going to have a chance to do something special after all. ...

It was obvious in talking to offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler that he will be in no hurry to settle on a starting quarterback. I'd say it's pretty much certain that it'll be August before a decision is made or at least made public.

It was also obvious that he does not seek to be a superstar. He goes out of his way to say Auburn's offense will be a team effort.

And one other thing: When he started watching video of last season, it didn't take him long to come to the conclusion that Philip Lutzenkirchen is a heck of a football player. ...

College baseball teams can't make up rainouts on Mondays because they would have to miss a day of class. One of the big arguments against a football playoff is that players would have to miss class.

If you add it up, I wonder how many days of class have been and will be missed by players who have participated in the NCAA Tournament.

Until next time. ...

Already have an account? Sign In