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Sports fans in Oklahoma have lost one of their biggest fans

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.

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.

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?

If we ever had to pick between story ideas, he always went with the idea that was best for fans.

And oftentimes, those discussions were lively and loud. Sherm wasn't afraid to let his opinions be known.

Now, this doesn't mean that he was a cheerleader or wanted us to be cheerleaders. If there needed to be critiques that were negative or controversial, he didn't shy from them. Sherm wasn't going to wave crimson pompoms or wear orange-colored glasses.

But make no mistake -- fans were No. 1 on Sherm's mind.

So, yes, we will miss him around the sports department. He was not only our boss but also our friend. 

But you will miss Sherm, too. Maybe you were someone who called and talked to him regularly. Maybe you emailed him or chatted on social media with him a time or two. Or maybe you never had any contact with him at all. Regardless of whether you knew him, he knew you and thought of you often.

You had no bigger fan.

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›