A Friend of a Friend-Tom Suiter-Newy Scruggs-May 13


One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for May 13, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

Yesterday my post featured the chairman of the Board of Trustees at University of North Carolina at Pembroke Wiley Barrett. I have been blessed to become friends with many on the board. One of my longest standing relationships goes back to the early 1990 at UNC Pembroke when it was called Pembroke State University. At that time I was the basketball coach at the university and I got to know a special student who went on and graduated and became a leader in his chosen profession. That friend is Newy Scruggs.

Newy is from Fayetteville, NC and attended Pembroke as a college student. He majored in broadcasting and today is multiple Emmy Award winning sportscaster and Sports Director at KXAS-TV (NBC 5) in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas. He is on the air every weeknight at 6 and 10. On Sundays his station airs “Out Of Bounds With Newy Scruggs”. Newy got his first gig while still in college at a Florence/Myrtle Beach SC TV station doing sports.  Along the way the stops have included gigs in Austin, Texas; Cleveland, Los Angeles and since April 2000 in Dallas-Fort Worth. Newy started broadcasting in South Carolina before he finished college. He is always very kind to mention that I bugged him while I was the head basketball coach at Winthrop (Rock Hill, SC) to go back to Pembroke and finish his degree which he did. In fact he gave the commencement address in 2011 at his alma mater-UNC Pembroke that is the best speech I have ever heard.

Newy Commencement 2011

Newy picked up a nickname in college “NewDawg”. The gloss of the name came from his Omega Psi Phi Fraternity brothers at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He was the named the 1992 National Leadership Award winner Omega. Newy, while in college became friends with many of the athletes at Pembroke including a number who played on the basketball team I coached.  Some of those friends included Ken Spencer, Abdul Ghaffar, Joe Robisch, and Damon Green.

On occasions he helped out the Pembroke basketball team with various media duties that I always appreciated. Newy is very humble and he will be the first to tell you he got lots of help along the way to the place he is at today. The first set of people who helped Newy were his parents. He grew up in a military home and all of those experiences of living abroad helped shape his view of the world.

Newy had an influential broadcasting professor at Pembroke named Dr. Oscar Patterson III who was very demanding but was also very proud of his students. Dr. Patterson was a full professor and director of telecommunications at Pembroke from January 1984 to July 1998. He left UNC Pembroke and went on to University of North Florida where he worked until he retired in 2007. Dr. Patterson was a University of Tennessee graduate and he helped steer another player of mine Abdul Ghaffar to graduate school there. He also helped get Newy connected with a number of important contacts in our television market.

Oscar Patterson III depicted below

Oscar Patteson

Another mentor that touched Newy’s life was Dr. Sylvester Wooten. Thankful for the many opportunities and awards he received, he created the Dr. Sylvester Wooten Scholarship at UNC Pembroke in 2007. The scholarship announcement in 2007 came as a surprise to Dr. Wooten, a 30-year administrator in higher education who was director of UNCP’s Office of Continuing Education for more than 20 years.

Newy and Dr. Wooten

Also at the scholarship announcement Omega Psi Phi fraternity members including Newy and Ken Spencer a former player of mine presented Dr. Wooten with a carved wooden medallion of the fraternity symbol. Dr. Wooten put it on, saying “I have not worn this in 40 years.” He was an Omega at Winston-Salem State University. Dr. Wooten passed away on May 27, 2012 at the age of 71.

Newy also had a man who didn’t work at Pembroke but influenced his life greatly. Newy as a high school kid growing up in Fayetteville wanted to become like Tom Suiter from WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC. Newy eventually became friends with Tom Suiter who is a legend in the state of North Carolina and beyond. He got great advice from Tom at various stages of his life and considers him a great friend.

The Friend-NEWY SCRUGGS

Newy

The Friend of the Friend- TOM SUITER

Tom Suiter

The Extra Effort Award

Tom Suiter started at WRAL-TV (Raleigh, NC) in 1971. He retired in 2008 as sports anchor but agreed to stay on with the station in a limited capacity. Today he is still on the air every Friday evening  honoring outstanding prep athletes with the Extra Effort Award. It is a segment where he profiles an outstanding high school athlete. When you watch these pieces you can see the joy that Tom truly has in talking about young people.

Link below is this week video tribute that Tom Suiter did for WRAL-TV

http://www.highschoolot.com/extra_effort/video/14641261/#/vid14641261

Suiter joined WRAL in 1971 after earning his degree from Erskine College, a small church-related school in upstate South Carolina. He had gone there to play basketball but, after making the team his freshman year, Suiter realized his teammates were much better athletes.

“He thought it would be great to be on television,” so he wrote every television station in North and South Carolina. Only two wrote him back.”

One was WRAL. Suiter received a personal letter from Jesse Helms, the future U.S. senator who was executive vice president of the station at the time. Helms became famous in North Carolina for his viewpoint editorials before being elected as US Senator.

Jesse Helms

Jesse Helms encouraged the young man. Though Suiter lacked experience, Helms gave him an opportunity in the sports department. “

There may not be anyone in television broadcasting history that had a better first interview than Tom Suiter. There may not be anyone in television broadcasting history who got coached up better than Tom.

For his first television interview, he interviewed legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden at the Campbell basketball camp.

Photo below of John Wooden teaching basketball in Carter Gym at Campbell.

John Wooden at Campbell

To prepare, Tom stayed up the night before, writing out his questions in longhand and rehearing potential dialogue in his mind.

As soon as the camera started rolling, his mind went blank.

He held his notebook close to his face, reading every question verbatim. About five minutes into the one-on-one interview, Wooden patted the raw sportscaster on the knee and said, “Son, just talk to me like we’re having a conversation.” Today Tom Suiter does just that.

Despite a great career that includes all types of award Tom was quoted in a newspaper article below:

To me,” said Suiter, who is 60, “the highlights are not so much on camera, but the help (he has given) getting kids get their start in television.”

One of those kids is Emmy Award Winning Sports Broadcaster named Newy Scruggs. Tom thanks for the extra effort!

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