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Jenni Carlson pens touching farewell to person who protected her job over the years…

carlson sherman

Earlier today, we told you that Anthony Slater was fleeing the confines of The Oklahoman to wash KD's car in Oakland.

He's not the only employee in The Oklahoman's sports department to abandon ship. A month or two ago, OU beat writer Jason Kersey left the paper to cover Arkansas and the SEC. Not too long after that, sports editor Mike Sherman moved to the Tampa Bay Times to terrorize Floridians.

Sherman's departure has left the paper's featured sports columnist, Jenni Carlson, feeling a little down and blue. It's understandable. Outside of having your mom hand feed you a chicken leg in front of the football team, there's nothing worse than losing a boss who quit caring years ago and lets you get away with so-so work.

Let the one-sentence paragraphs flow:

The sports department is a little quieter these days.

Not because it's summer vacation time either.

Mike Sherman has left the building.

This is not breaking news, of course. His departure was announced in our section and on our website several weeks ago; he's left his job as our sports editor and been named the sports editor at the Tampa Bay Times.

Monday was his first day there.

Even though Sherm had been gone for a few weeks -- and Ryan Sharp has already deftly taken the reins -- Monday being his official start in Tampa made it seem somehow more final. More real. And as sad as a day it is for us, it is every bit as sad for sports fans in Oklahoma.

You had no bigger fan than Sherm.

Yep, Oklahoma sports fans. It's a sad time in the Oklahoma sports landscape. Even though he kept Jenni on-board as a feature sports columnist during his 13 year reign as the paper's sports editor, you had no bigger fan "than Sherm."

Our department often buzzed because of his passion for you. His face, name and number appeared on the cover of our sports section pretty much every day, and many of you called him. Some of you wanted to say thanks for something we'd covered. Some wanted to ask a question or pitch a story. Some wanted to complain. Sherm welcomed every single call.

He had lively conversations with readers on a regular basis -- and they weren't quiet because he wasn't quiet. He is a loud talker. I say this lovingly because I, too, am a loud talker. But Sherm's volume wasn't the reason the conversations were lively. They were that way because of his passion.

Whoa. Did Jenni just figure out a way to string together two complete paragraphs? What's next? Boomer Tramel giving up nicknames that nobody likes? Me learning how to proofread? Maybe Sherm's replacement is already making an impact:

He cared about the Thunder and the Sooners and the Cowboys and the high schools.

He cared because you cared.

That was reflected in our coverage, too. Sherm was always pushing us to write stories with you in mind. What would fans want to read? What would answer your questions? What would stir your emotions and your feelings?

I agree with Jenni on one thing. Sherm was good about stirring emotions and feelings, and then apologizing for it later.

mr unreliable

I guess he was a soothsayer, too.

Anyway, if you for some reason want to read the rest of Jenni's ode to the Sherm, you can do so here. Maybe if we're lucky he'll offer Jenni a gig at the Tampa Bay Times. Then we'll become his biggest fans.

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