Today, a legendary sports information director announced his retirement. After 37 years as the SID for Grizzly Athletics, Dave Guffey will conclude his tenure on June 30. The University of Montana will never be the same.
Affectionately referred to as “Guff,” the name is and forever will be synonymous with GRIZ. For the better half of my own stint with Grizzly Athletics, I had the distinct privilege of working right next door to the legend. Although it took some time for me to earn his respect, we developed a wonderful working relationship. The personal friendship was just as nice.
With the role that I held, Dave and I worked closely each day. He would give me daily notices on all releases he would send out. He routinely asked me to proof his work (a huge honor for me). He would never leave me in the dark on anything. If I had a question about the sports industry or wanted clarification about something that was happening in the department, he would always fill me in. He always made sure I was taken care of when it came to credentials for away events. He graciously would single me out in meetings, both ones where I was present and wasn’t present, for a job well done. He would always stick up for me.
For everything that he gave me, I tried to do what I could to pay him back at least a little bit. I helped him out with website graphics, filled him in on breaking news that came out via the digital avenue, set him up with social media accounts, and gave him crash courses on topics such as Photoshop and Twitter. Light stuff compared to what he did on my behalf.
Dave taught me a lot too. With just a wall separating us, I observed a lot and learned a lot. I learned about media relations. I learned about long hours. I learned about accuracy. I learned about pressure. I learned about people who think they are always owed tickets or a credential. I learned about the intricacies of being the point person for nationally recognized football and men’s basketball programs. I learned that the job of a sports information director doesn’t just revolve around writing game recaps.
You know, some people might say that Guff could be a hard-ass. Well, if you are a sports information director for an athletic department such as Montana you kind of have to put up that front. But the truth is, Dave Guffey is one of the kindest, warmest, most loyal people you will meet. Remember how above I said that beyond the working relationship there was a friendship?
I fondly remember our many talks on the sidelines during football practices both about sports and not about sports. I look back and smile at the various nights where we got to share cocktails together. I remember late nights after basketball games in the office with us bantering back and forth. I remember the unwavering support he gave me when I moved on from Grizzly Athletics. I remember even the little things such as how well he treated my visitors who came by the office to the $50 gift card he gave me to the Montana Club at Christmas. They don’t come much classier than Guff.
When the day comes for Dave Guffey to be enshrined into the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame I hope I am there. I want to hear his speech, see his plaque, and witness all of the past coaches/players/administrators who attend it. Mostly though, I want to attend the killer party that I know will follow.
Enjoy the last several months on the job, Dave. You have meant a lot to me and helped shape who I am as a professional. Don’t Blink.