Bio

Welcome.

The bottom line: I’m a 28-year-old go-getter with a passion for law and a pen sharpened by years in print journalism.

A second-year student at Texas A&M University School of Law, I’m currently pursuing a law degree at a great program with a new moniker (formerly Texas Wesleyan School of Law). This school is the result of a recent acquisition and has proved itself a scrappy re-invent with as much potential as it has ambition.

I can’t help but point out the parallels.

Prior to pursuing my J.D., I worked three-plus post-undergraduate years as a newspaper reporter covering a variety of beats on multi-platform delivery bases. My former employers’ circulation ranged from 35,000 to 55,000. I wrote Facebook posts. Blogged. Photographed (when necessary). Probed. Questioned. Re-posted. Re-blogged. Second-guessed. Photo-shopped. Third-guessed.

You get the picture.

These newspapers were, I assure you, also notably scrappy.

As a law student, I take pride in my probing inquisitiveness into the deeper nuance of the laws, always asking (sometimes even just to myself) the function of the deeper mechanics of the law. As a writer, I’m an obsessively meticulous craftsman. I’m also a pretty hard-toothed reporter who refuses to write PR and call it journalism.

Nothing has thrilled me more than the perfect pairing of my two passions.

One of my editors once had a motto: “If your mother tells you she loves you, get a second source.” Perhaps adherence to that maxim has built the perfect bridge between these two professions. Any way you cut it, I like to dig in and dig deep.

I tell folks that, regardless of whether I’m internalizing a judicial balancing test or covering a local city council, I’m not writing anything down.

I’m listening to officials or professors (and soon, judges). I’m talking to people, off the record or beyond the elements if necessary.

Then I collaborate and, often, write.

That’s my way of doing it. And I’ve found it works.

A returning Fort Worth native (insofar as any military brat can call himself a “native” of anywhere) after an early journalism career in West Texas, I’m an accomplished writer who has fallen in love with the law. Regardless of the profession, you might say I specialize in contextualizing stories.

Or you might say I’m a journalist lawyer. Or a lawyer journalist.

The way I see it, I’m both.

Take a look at my resume and writing clips. You’ll find it all here. The only thing I ask you don’t do is hesitate to call or email.

Enjoy the site.

 

 

Resumé

See this resumé in PDF format

MATTHEW J. McGOWAN

301 W. Leuda St. Apt. G • Fort Worth, Texas  76104 • (806) 445-3116 • matthewmcgowan7@gmail.com

EDUCATION

Texas A&M University School of Law, Fort Worth, Texas

J.D. expected May 2015, Sitting for Texas Bar July 2015

  • Class Rank:  Top 1% of class (1 of 246); 3.96 GPA
  • Law Review
  • Research Assistant to Prof. Timothy Mulvaney for the fall 2013
  • Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

B.A. in Journalism, December 2008

  • Dean’s list, summer 2006, for receiving 4.0 GPA
  • Financed 100% of living expenses through work

WORK EXPERIENCE

Freelance Journalist, Fort Worth, Texas                July 2011 – Present

  • Covered a variety of topics for several publications in Texas, including Fort Worth Business Press, Fort Worth Weekly and Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
  • Conducted research for full analysis and depth of coverage on topics ranging from real estate markets to local legal disputes

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Lubbock, Texas    Higher Education Reporter, 2009-2011

  • Covered higher education beat, particularly Texas Tech University
  • Published numerable multi-part investigative stories and spearheaded coverage of a variety of high-profile issues like the December 2009 firing of Mike Leach and subsequent lawsuit

Odessa American, Odessa, Texas                              Education/Features Reporter, 2008–2009

  • Covered features beat and spot breaking coverage of news ranging from local government scandals to health and courts
  • Wrote extensively about the Ector County Independent School District

AWARDS

  • Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Association third-place award, breaking news coverage (2010)
  • Texas Press Association recognition award for two feature stories (2010)
  • Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Association Features Writing Award (2009)
  • Daily Toreador Best Reporter, as selected by editorial board (2008)
  • Daily Toreador Best Reporter, as per reader poll  (2008)

ACTIVITIES & INTERESTS

Travel enthusiast. Spent six weeks during summer 2013 urban backpacking through Thailand, India, and Nepal. Also spent three weeks in May sailing across the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to Georgia. Interests include competitive mountain biking and fiction writing.

Recent Clips

Rose-colored returns: Football success gooses freshman applications at TCU

Fort Worth Business Press
Sept. 27, 2011

Few sports novelists could have fabricated a more nerve-racking scenario than the reality that unfolded in the waning minutes of the Rose Bowl last January in California.

With two minutes left on the clock, the football game was far from over.

Texas Christian University’s Horned Frogs, fresh from an undefeated regular season, clung to a precarious two-point lead over the University of Wisconsin as the Badgers’ offense threatened to tie the game with a two-point conversion.

The ball snapped. The clock ticked. And up came TCU linebacker Tank Carder’s hand as he swatted the ball to the turf, denying the tying score. TCU held the lead until the clock ran out, giving the Horned Frogs a 21-19 victory that many regard as the greatest in school history.

According to Nielsen Co., more than 20 million television viewers tuned in to the game’s broadcast, thrusting TCU – somewhat of
an underdog without major conference credentials – under a national spotlight.

“It’s such a boost of pride with everyone associated,” TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini said recently. “It’s excitement. It’s pride. It’s energy. That’s exactly what it is. It’s just an energy you can feel.”

Fast forward nine months, and early fall enrollment data suggest TCU could be reaping the rewards of that energy, as thorny as they can be to quantify.

PDF ♦ URL: http://www.fwbusinesspress.com/news/Rose-colored-returns.html?searchterm=rose+colored+returns

History of conference realignment drama comes down to growing TV money

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Oct. 2, 2011

Guy Bailey has been on the phone a lot lately, talking athletics.

Talking stability. Talking money. Talking heartland football.

These are uneasy days for the president of Texas Tech and his eight counterparts across the shrinking Big 12 Conference.

The 16-year-old league appeared to have averted another implosion last week when its remaining nine schools’ athletic directors met in Dallas to pick up the pieces after Texas A&M announced it would become the third member to leave the league in the last 16 months.

Various involved parties sent mixed signals about the league’s stability, which is still threatened as the University of Missouri reportedly considers following A&M to the Southeastern Conference.

One theme has emerged since the universities of Colorado and Nebraska defected last year: The Big 12, for now, is low in the college athletic food chain. It is prey to Pacific 12, Big 10 and SEC predators.

What’s driving all this?

Bailey said he can’t say for sure, but he has a theory — theories, really — about a confluence of factors gathering over the past few years.

Implications about the league, particularly, and the sport, generally, are at play in all this, Bailey said, as evidenced by similar conference swaps to the north, where last month two Big East schools announced they’ll move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2011-10-01/big-12-presidents-seek-best-students-institutions-amid-realignment-uncertainty#.TonvPnKLPOp

Tech raises tuition with rising costs

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
June 24, 2011

DALLAS – Texas Tech’s governing board on Thursday raised next year’s tuition with hopes the additional $8.6 million would help cushion steep state cuts poised to hit home this fall.

Tech’s Board of Regents agreed to the 5.9 percent tuition hike after hearing the most recent, and final, account of how Austin’s financial woes would slash $67 million from the university system’s state revenue over the next two years.

The average student at Tech can expect to pay an additional $500 annually to attend classes full time at Tech, bringing the price tag of two 15-hour semesters up from $8,560 last year to $9,065.

That 5.9 percent increase was the maximum ceiling under the framework regents initially approved this spring as administrators prepared a surgical approach to absorbing their losses.

Officials expect the additional income to help Tech shoulder more than $14 million in funding cutbacks over the coming academic year. That amounts to students picking up the tab for roughly 61 percent of state cuts.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2011-06-23/tech-raises-tuition-rising-costs#.TiX602F6Tms

Tech prepares orphaned bike roundup

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
May 24, 2011

Some relegated to this barbed-wire boneyard have seen better days.

Others on Tuesday appeared only a tune-up shy of mint condition.

And there they all sit, maybe 40 bicycles impounded at a lot on a northern tip of Texas Tech’s campus, growing more sun-bleached by the day.

These few dozen already in the lot were picked up earlier in the year after their owners left them illegally locked to, for instance, trees or light poles.

But Craig Cotton and his team will gather the estimated 200 additional bikes left two weeks ago in the wake of throngs of homeward-bound students.

They expect to fill the lot, and not just with bikes.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2011-05-24/tech-prepares-orphaned-bike-roundup#.TiX7FWF6Tms

Tech regents to set fall tuition

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
June 22, 2011

Texas Tech’s governing board is scheduled to set tuition for the upcoming school year Thursday during a special meeting in Dallas, where every university dollar could land under a microscope.

Regents’ meeting in the Metroplex comes nearly a month after lawmakers passed a state budget that shaved nearly 7 percent from the system’s budget, amounting to nearly $30 million in cuts from its Lubbock flagship alone.

Anticipating cuts, school officials asked the board in March to approve a tuition increase window of up to 6 percent.

Guy Bailey, Tech’s president, said he and his staff plan to meet today with finalized numbers in hand to nail down a specific request for the board. He anticipates he will ask regents to raise tuition at least somewhat.

Significant efficiency gains might have prevented a tuition increase, he said, had the state funding crunch not tied his hands.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2011-06-21/tech-regents-set-fall-tuition#.TiX7W2F6Tms

Tech officials hope clubhouse improves Rawls course shortfall

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
May 21, 2011

Texas Tech officials hope a new clubhouse at the university’s golf course will balance a budget that for years has drained school coffers.

The 8-year-old university-owned Rawls Course has yet to break even, let alone make the sort of money planners thought it would when Tech started it about a decade ago.

The golf course’s financial woes came to the forefront last week when the university’s governing board considered a $3.7 million clubhouse and golf team facility at the course.

Private donors have already given Tech the money it needs to build the facility, but regents remained cautious as administrators explained they would have a difficult time reversing the course’s fortune without it.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2011-05-20/tech-officials-hope-clubhouse-improves-rawls-course-shortfall#.TiSOzGF6Tms

Older Clips

Lubbock Avalanche Journal (October 2009-July 2011)

Tech: Up to 800 layoffs possible

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
May 12, 2011

Bare-bones budget scenarios in Austin augur as many as 800 layoffs across Texas Tech’s three-school system, according to the first estimates presented Thursday to the university’s governing board.

Tech’s Board of Regents heard the sobering outlook from administrators who reminded the board these early estimates reflect a worst-case scenario based on state higher education cuts proposed by the Texas House, where lawmakers face a tax revenue shortfall of as much as $30 billion.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2011-05-12/tech-800-layoffs-possible

Big 12 boasts huge FOX deal

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
April 14, 2011

A newly inked $1 billion contract between the Big 12 Conference and FOX Sports could double exposure and more than quadruple television revenue split among Texas Tech and nine other schools.

Big 12 officials are keeping financial details of the 13-year contract close to their vest, but sources have confirmed the once-imperiled conference will earn $90 million annually under the new deal, four times the $20 million it receives under its current contract with the network.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2011-04-14/big-12-boasts-huge-fox-deal

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Oct. 14, 2010
 
Months of growing unease among some of Texas Tech’s faculty came to a head Wednesday when the university’s faculty senate approved a resolution urging administrators to ease up on tenure policy changes.

The resolution comes in response to a letter provost Bob Smith’s office sent to deans late this summer directing them to tightly redefine acceptable letters of recommendation for faculty applying for tenure.

Smith’s proposed guidelines sought to narrow the scope of acceptable letters by requiring applicants to submit at least three recommendations only from their “personally unacquainted” colleagues at roughly 55 of Tech’s so-called peer institutions across six athletic conferences.

The provost said he designed the new standards to prevent abuses in the current recommendation system that has seen applicants earn tenure through “tepid assessments” from close friends and former students.

Faculty feedback varied, but most seemed concerned about the unusually narrow scope of the revisions.

But the issue at the heart of Wednesday’s resolution was whether Tech would grandfather into the former policy non-tenured faculty who began working at the university prior to this fall.

The senate committee that framed the resolution feared the new guidelines could pull the rug out from about 300 of these earlier hires, thus leaving the university vulnerable to possible legal recourse.

“Let’s be prudent,” Lewis Held, chairman of the committee, told the senate. “Let’s be cautious. Let’s be fair.”

A secret ballot passed the resolution with 36 voting in favor, three against and three abstaining.

The senate’s official action comes after months of behind-the-scenes friction between faculty and administrators over the proposed rules.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/education-/-tech/2010-10-14/tenure-tweaks-expose-tech-rift#.TinfLWF6Tms

Tech anthropologist works to save dying Comanche language

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Dec 18, 2009

The language of the Comanche people, a lifeline of its culture, is fading fast.

Its muted vowels and sapient cadence once echoed throughout the fenceless grasslands of the South Plains, but today it can muster barely a whisper.

That’s why Texas Tech anthropologist Jeff Williams and a handful of other researchers have devised a plan that could help save Comanche from confinement in history books.

With a recent $215,000 two-year grant from the Administration for Native Americans, they’ll shoulder the task on modern technology and a new generation of Comanche students eager to learn their ancestral tongue.

“Its important for any language to have its say, to be documented,” Williams said. “It’s interesting for Comanche because it rose to dominance on the South Plains so quickly, then to have it so quickly go into a state of complete demise.”

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/121809/loc_536884399.shtml

Tech students, survey: Non-straight students face tough campus climate

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Oct. 3, 2010

Houston Jones nervously watched the cursor blink on his computer screen.

Seconds passed. Then minutes.

Still no reply.

The 17-year-old glanced over his shoulder to the person on the other end of the Web chat, his roommate. The two were sitting with their backs to each other in their room in Hulen Hall on Texas Tech’s campus, each listening to earphones and exchanging instant messages.

Or, rather, they had been before Jones’ last line stopped the exchange.

“I think I might be gay,” it read.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/education-/-tech/2010-10-03/tech-students-survey-non-straight-students-face-tough-campus-climate

Blast probe finds 20 safety violations

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Aug. 4, 2010

Texas Tech investigators have linked a Jan. 7 laboratory explosion that severely injured a doctoral candidate to 20 surrounding violations of the university’s safety policy, according to documents released Monday.

University officials ordered the probe after a highly explosive chemical combusted in 29-year-old Preston Brown’s hands, sending him to University Medical Center with three severed fingers and a perforated eye.

In their April report to administrators, investigators concluded the chemistry department had failed to meet some 20 safety standards outlined in the university’s Chemical Hygiene Plan, or lab safety manual.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2010-08-04/blast-probe-finds-20-safety-violations

Tech researchers identify rare fossil of crocodile ancestor

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Jan. 14, 2011

Patricia’s toothy grin gave the old girl away.

She had managed to elude her hunters for a quarter-billion years or so — first the scavengers of the Triassic Period and, more recently, the paleontologists of the Red Raider Age — by blending in and keeping a low profile.

Then, in 2005, her game was up when Tech research assistant Doug Cunningham spied Patricia’s not-so-pearly whites protruding from a patch of soil just south of Post.

He brushed away a layer of dirt.

“I got a skull!” he whooped to a nearby colleague.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2011-01-14/tech-researchers-identify-rare-fossil-crocodile-ancestor#.TiX1-2F6Tms

Tech research push costs dozens of print shop jobs

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
April 8, 2010

Tony Martinez’s shock has now given way to worry.

With two teenage sons, a 12-year-old daughter and a mortgage, he will soon lose his job as a binder at Texas Tech’s University Print and Design Solutions.

School officials announced Friday they will shut down the 76-year-old in-house printing department in July to make room for more research facilities.

The university’s aggressive push to become a tier one, nationally recognized research school carries a heavy price.

Martinez now knows that. So do about 30 of his co-workers.

“We got the news on Good Friday,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s a good Friday or not.”

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/040810/loc_603324569.shtml

Description of shooter released

 LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Jan. 26, 2010

Devon Napper didn’t feel pain Friday night when the bullets struck his body – too much adrenaline, he says.

What he remembers instead are those horrific thuds.

“My adrenaline was going so fast I couldn’t feel the shots, but I could hear the thump when they would hit me, so I knew I was getting hit,” Napper wrote Monday in an e-mail to The Avalanche-Journal.

The nightmare started innocently with some late-night Mexican food.

Just minutes earlier, Napper was waiting in his truck in a fast food drive-through line when a silver four-door Honda rear-ended him and sped off. He followed.

It was a short pursuit to the nearby Wal-Mart in the 700 block of West Loop 289, where Devon cornered the hit-and-runner and got out of his truck.

“I asked him what his problem was, calmly, not raising my voice,” he said. “Then he told me to (expletive) off and mind (my) own business. He rolled up his window, so I knocked on it.”

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/012610/loc_554730565.shtml

Closing the educational divide

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
April 18, 2010

Janie Ramirez spoke that night in a seamless blend of Spanish and English.

Roughly 10 Hispanic high school students and their families sitting in the Monterey High School cafeteria watched as she outlined the problem.

One graph, one chart, one statistic at a time, Ramirez detailed the academic underachievement gripping the Hispanic community, a trend that could spell disaster for the country as a whole if left unchecked.

Her data left little room for doubt: Hispanics here and across the country are proportionally trailing their white, black and Asian counterparts in going to college and coming away with an undergraduate degree.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/041810/loc_611425817.shtml

Richard Garcia never made it to college.

His single mother, he now says, just couldn’t afford it.

She had her hands full just keeping up with the day-to-day expenses of her eight children.

“It was pretty tough for her,” he remembers, “just keeping a roof over our heads.”

After graduating from Lubbock High School in 1983, he went straight to work to take some of the financial burden off of his mother.

Today, years later, he works maintenance for Texas Tech’s Physical Plant, but still wonders how things would be different if he’d earned his bachelor’s degree.

“Even at my age,” the 45-year-old said last week as he sat on the couch of his home not far from campus, “you wish you could go back. You realize the importance as you get older.”

Delia, Richard’s wife, nodded next to him.

“Now our focus is on Alex,” she smiled. “We’re focusing on him 100 percent.”

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/041910/loc_611810149.shtml

Statistically speaking, Alex Saez should be in jail.

The 20-year-old Texas Tech student had all the odds stacked against him.

His mother’s schizophrenia spiraled out of control about 12 years ago. His father, a worker at a tire shop in the Austin area, couldn’t care for Alex and his younger sister.

The state stepped in and bounced Alex and his sister from foster home to foster home before they finally landed in one where he found some semblance of a home, a family and a hope.

He now remembers the anger more than anything, the frustration of a dissipating family coupled with the common teenage angst.

“It was tough at first,” he said. “I felt a huge amount of anger. Thankfully, I had a great foster mother.”

It’s been a tough road since, though Alex is only now coming to understand the magnitude of his accomplishments.

PDF ♦ URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/042010/loc_612171446.shtml

Odessa American (December 2008-October 2009)

Nine Lives

ODESSA AMERICAN
June 13, 2009

Nine.

That’s how many foster and adopted children from across Texas are currently on life support in Vicky Thorp’s “little intensive care unit” – to use her words.

The West Odessa facility is called Vicky’s Kids, and it’s a center for children who are under the state’s care who  suffered severe brain damage as babies and never recovered.

Today, they’re bed-ridden. And most are even unresponsive to visitors.

Inside the ordinary-looking home – an old welding shop turned medical facility – the subdued sounds of whispering respirators puff and whiff in rhythm with the beeps of heart monitors.

The room appears much like any other intensive care unit in any U.S. hospital, except for the purple dinosaur dancing and singing on a television in the corner, its volume turned down low.

A 27-person team of nurses and caregivers tend to the children in shifts around the clock.

PDF ♦ URL: http://www.oaoa.com/news/facility-32363-nine-care.html

Building better days

ODESSA AMERICAN
July 17, 2009

Strung-out, drunk, skinny, broke, broken and dejected, they trickle in one by one, seeking a shower or a meal and maybe even a kind touch and a prayer.

The emerge from the dirt and traffic fumes of North County Road West and knock on the door of Victory Life Church, an unassuming building that could probably use a new coat of white paint.

It is there in that building tucked behind a gravel parking lot that Pastor Albert Flores waits, day in and day out, for these men to come to him for help, their bodies razed by drugs and booze, by the alcohol on their breath and train tracks on their arms — and with nowhere else to go.

To them, Flores’ steeple is the end of the line, a transfer station where they can hop on a train in a new direction.

PDF ♦ URL: http://www.oaoa.com/articles/one-33938-building-knock.html

Survival of the tricked-est

ODESSA AMERICAN
April 14, 2009

Several years ago, Odessa truck driver Chris Andersen was somewhere in the Midwest, eastbound in a make-do truck when he looked in his rearview mirror and saw a familiar sight – a purple 2000 model Kenworth.

It looked a lot like the one he sold when they told him he was going to die.

“I looked in my mirror – now, I know there’s a lot of purple Kenworths out there, thousands – but I just knew that was my old truck,” the 56-year-old trucker said.

Andersen flagged down its driver, “a real big kid,” and approached him when they pulled over at the next truck stop.

The two had the same purple Kenworth in common, and Andersen confirmed it before telling the other driver that it was his old truck.

“He said, ‘You’re supposed to be dead,” Andersen recalled. “I said, ‘Everybody keeps saying that!’ ”

PDF ♦ URL: http://www.oaoa.com/news/looked-29360-truck-model.html

ECISD weighs budget shifts

ODESSA AMERICAN
Aug. 20, 2009

A proposed budget on the table at the Ector County Independent School district has the makings of a tax hike for local property owners, yet school officials and trustees are still tightening their belts in anticipation of a reduced local money flow.

Higher tax rate or no higher tax rate, overall property and mineral value drops across the county are projected to cause ECISD’s tax revenue to fall this year by at least $2 million from last year’s $104 million in tax revenue.

And all this is on top of $2.9 million in state-mandated pay increases for many of the district’s employees and only vague indications from the state about what the district can expect in the way of federal stimulus reimbursement.

With such uncertainties on the horizon, the district has scrambled to freeze or reallocate money from its locally funded programs — things like computer upgrades, teacher stipends for perfect attendance, and even a 5-percent departmental budget cut across the board — to pay for the pay hikes until federal and state officials clarify how much funding will be available and what it must be spent on.

PDF ♦ URL: http://www.oaoa.com/articles/tax-35564-county-property.html

Keepers of the Cathedral

ODESSA AMERICAN
Sept. 30, 2009

Ratliff Stadium, it’s Odessa’s pride and joy, a place that has been referred to as “the epicenter of high school football.”

In the autumn months when the dusk sinks into the horizon on Fridays evenings, the stadium’s massive lights flicker to life like a call to battle at Odessa’s truest monolith — a building that ESPN ranked among the nation’s Top 10 high school football stadiums in 2008.

That’s when the throngs of fans, part army and part pilgrims, converge on the stadium.

This is football on Odessa’s terms.

But despite all the poetic hyperbole surrounding football in West Texas, Ratliff is a building, and like any other building it needs upkeep.

PDF ♦ URL: http://www.oaoa.com/articles/ratliff-37443-stadium-.html

Turtle roundup

ODESSA AMERICAN
Sept. 7, 2009

On a recent afternoon at Blackshear, a crowd of students gathered in one of the school’s atriums and stared quizzically down at a couple of turtles that they believed to be fighting.

Their teacher, Sandra Elms, soon was on the scene, pushing her way through the crowd to catch a glimpse of the creatures.

“That’s not fighting,” she said to her students. “They’re mating — uh — the good kind of fighting.”

Everybody stood still for a few seconds, staring quietly down at the turtles.

“Guys,” Elms finally said, “give them some privacy,”

And then came the giggles.

In each student’s hand was a clipboard, and they were do exactly what any professional biologist would do in the field — studying nature, even when it gets a little R-rated, which it is sometimes prone to do.

PDF ♦ URL: http://www.oaoa.com/news/recent-36350-afternoon-roundup.html

Presidential address to students creates malaise

ODESSA AMERICAN
Sept. 3, 2009

An upcoming presidential address to local school children may bring the United States’ current fractious political climate to local classrooms.

A little more than a week after President Barack Obama announced that he would be delivering a speech directly to children in classrooms across the country on Tuesday, some local parents have caught wind and are up in arms about what they perceive to be the president’s ulterior motives.

PDF ♦ URL: http://www.oaoa.com/articles/address-36228-presidential-united.html

ECISD fails Federal AYP

ODESSA AMERICAN
Aug. 2, 2009

Once again, the graduation rate at the Ector County Independent School District has marred the district’s accountability ratings, this time on a federal level.

Despite general improvement at many of the district’s schools and a 100 percent passing rate at all of the district’s elementary schools, for the second year in a row, ECISD’s overall ratings failed to pass the federal government’s annual Adequate Yearly Progress report, which is the yearly assessment linked to the national No Child Left Behind program.

PDF ♦ URL: http://www.oaoa.com/articles/ecisd-34927-federal-government.html

Friday Food Ladies

ODESSA AMERICAN
July 2, 2009

You never know where Jesus Lopez is. He tends to kind of float around West Texas, from Amarillo to Odessa to El Paso and then across the border to Juarez, Mexico, and then back up north again.

At first, he’ll tell you he only speaks English “poquita,” or “a little,” but then the conversation seems to move along fine anyway, and he’ll tell you about his travels – his eyes still and looking off into the distance like something heavy and woeful tiptoes behind them.

On July 4, he said, he’ll be turning 56.

Some might call him a drifter, but Lopez said you’ll sometimes find him downtown on Friday afternoons eating a free meal under a shady tree at Noel Heritage Plaza, but only sometimes.

Thanks to a core group of people like Georgia Hayse and Greta Vaughan, scores of Odessa’s less-fortunate inhabitants like Lopez find a little food to put in their bellies every week.

PDF ♦ URL: http://www.oaoa.com/news/tell-33138-friday-poquita.html

MCH secretary claims trustee assaulted her

ODESSA AMERICAN
May 6, 2009

An Ector County Hospital District Board member has been accused of hitting the board secretary on her arm and “causing a bruise” after the woman went to his office to pick up paperwork he didn’t want to give her.

ECHD board secretary Delma Marin filed a report Monday with the Odessa Police Department accusing board member Abraham Torres of assaulting her by hitting her “upper left arm with a closed fist causing a large bruise,” according to a police report.

The incident, according to the report and a copy of an internal complaint filed at the hospital, reportedly occurred at about 10:30 a.m. Friday at Torres’ office in the 1000 block of South Crane Avenue.

Marin, whose name was redacted from the copy of the internal hospital complaint obtained by the Odessa American, wrote that she received a phone call from ECHD Board President Judy Hayes that morning asking her to go to Torres’ office to pick up paperwork all board members must file as a part of an application for increased Medicaid reimbursement for the hospital’s Family Qualified Health Clinic.

PDF ♦ URL: http://www.oaoa.com/news/torres-30549-report-incident.html

 

Mike Leach

Texas Tech’s announcement in the final days of 2009 that it had suspended its quirky, popular head football coach Mike Leach hit Lubbock like a firebomb. By the time school officials fired the coach after he filed a lawsuit seeking to remain on the sidelines during the upcoming bowl game, much of the university’s fan base was up in arms decrying administrators’ actions.

The university said it was acting in response to complaints Leach had locked a  player in an equipment shed — and again in an electrical closet — after he complained of a concussion.

Leach denied any wrongdoing and sued.

What followed was a bitter, protracted battle between the two sides that unfolded both in the media and in court.

Initial work on the story was done by a team of reporters spanning both sports and news, but I spearheaded most of the paper’s coverage of the heated and prolonged fight through the next year.

Although my entire body of work on the topic is comprised of dozens of stories, below are a handful of examples of my coverage.

Fans: Tech ‘NUTS’ for firing coach

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Dec. 31, 2009

A lone Texas Tech fan stood on a wind-blown corner near Jones AT&T Stadium on Wednesday afternoon holding a sign that simply read “NUTS.”

The man, who wouldn’t give his name, best captured the mood of Black Wednesday with his succinct statement on the sign: Mike Leach’s termination as Tech’s head football coach has left Raider Nation paralyzed.

Emotions ran the gamut, from mournful to outrage to wide-eyed disbelief.

“I always thought that he’d be that coach who’s here until he’s old and gray,” said Tech alumna Megan Vick as she sat at a bar near campus. “It’s sad.”

URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/123109/spo_541264799.shtml

Tech alumni association braces for donation cuts

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Jan. 5, 2010

Alumni backlash to last week’s dismissal of Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach could handicap the university’s fundraising efforts.

Many Tech graduates are bombarding the Tech Alumni Association with phone calls and e-mails threatening to halt donations to the university.

They’re also facing off with other former students who – though no less upset – are remaining loyal to the university overall and pledging to continue their financial support.

Bill Dean, the association’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, said administrators need to reveal more information about the circumstances surrounding Leach’s abrupt suspension and termination.

URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/010510/loc_542941456.shtml

Hance gives his version of why Leach was fired

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Jan. 10, 2010

The situation fell apart quickly.

It began with a phone call to one of Texas Tech’s regents and ended with the university’s fan base in revolt after the firing of Tech head football coach Mike Leach.

The following is Tech Chancellor Kent Hance’s account of what happened in the days leading up to Leach’s termination.

URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/011010/loc_544920864.shtml

 

Leach’s lawyers fire new salvos

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Jan. 13, 2010

(Co-written with A-J sports reporter Adam Zuvanich)

Team Leach – his legal team, not the ever-growing Facebook group – took its game to the next level Tuesday.

Attorneys for fired Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach filed a sharp legal rebuttal to claims by university administrators that Leach was responsible for his own termination.

In a third set of amendments to its Dec. 30 legal petition against Leach’s firing, filed in a Lubbock County court, the legal team has expanded its grounds for the lawsuit and is claiming Leach’s firing was based on factors extending beyond the football field and his alleged mistreatment of an injured player.

URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/011310/loc_547510035.shtml

Team Leach rallies on Tech campus

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Jan. 15, 2010

There was plank-walkin’ talk and mutiny afoot.

After weeks of garnering viral support online, Team Leach finally let loose its long-in-coming rallying cry in support of fired Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach.

“Look at us now,” organizer Blaze Butler howled. “They might have been able to ignore a T-shirt, but they can’t ignore us now.”

Sure, the crowd acknowledged, Leach’s ship has sailed. His replacement’s here. He isn’t coming back.

But this isn’t over, protesters insisted.

URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/011510/loc_549294365.shtml

Leach claims e-mails show inappropriate actions by Tech regents

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
May 6, 2010

Members of Texas Tech’s Board of Regents overstepped their bounds in December in the days just before the university fired Mike Leach, an attorney for the former coach said Wednesday.

Leach attorney Ted Liggett released a new set of e-mail correspondence that he believes shows members of Tech’s governing board meddled inappropriately in the disciplinary process surrounding Leach’s treatment of an injured player.

The new evidence, which Liggett and his team obtained during the discovery process for Leach’s lawsuit against Tech, includes an original draft of a letter Tech President Guy Bailey and Athletic Director Gerald Myers apparently intended to send to the coach.

In the draft, the university is threatening a $60,000 fine for Leach’s treatment of the player, Adam James, who had told trainers he was suffering from a concussion.

The draft – dated Dec. 28, two days before the university fired the coach – also includes stipulations that Leach heed trainers’ advice on injuries and that he not retaliate against James for the investigation.

The draft letter does not include any mention of termination or suspension.

Plain Text ♦ PDF
URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/050610/loc_634602407.shtml

Dollar signs pile up in Leach suit against Tech

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
June 3, 2010

Mike Leach’s attorneys are claiming Texas Tech owes the former coach $2.5 million he earned during his final season at the university, and that’s just the tip of the money at stake in an increasingly entrenched lawsuit.

Emboldened by District Judge Bill Sowder’s ruling that Tech must prove it did not violate Leach’s contract when it fired him in December, Leach’s attorneys on Wednesday redoubled their threats to make the university pay a heavy price for dismissing the coach.

They accused the university of withholding some $2.5 million owed to Leach for his work leading up to the Dec. 30 firing. But that’s a fraction of the more than $12 million – plus legal fees – they ultimately hope to take away from the case.

URL: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/060310/loc_648131457.shtml

Leach calls foul on trainer’s past

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
July 10, 2010

The newest addition to Texas Tech’s football training staff has infuriated former coach Mike Leach’s lawyers and reinvigorated their claims the university had ulterior motives when it fired him in December.

Leach’s newest attack on the university came on the heels of the university’s announcement it would hire Arnold Gamber as the football program’s new head trainer.

Gamber, who served as Auburn University’s head trainer under coach Tommy Tuberville for nearly a decade, is entangled in his own legal battle against former Auburn lineman Chaz Ramsey.

URL: http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2010-07-10/leach-calls-foul-trainers-past

Rocky football start vexes Texas Tech fan base

LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Oct. 19, 2010

An inauspicious start to coach Tommy Tuberville’s first season at the helm of Texas Tech’s football program has, for some, poured salt in 10-month-old wounds.

Tech’s 34-17 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday further soured an already strained relationship between the university’s administration and those within its fan base who have been screaming foul since the university fired its popular, quixotic head football coach Mike Leach in January for allegedly mistreating a player with a concussion.

Plain Text ♦ PDF
URL: http://lubbockonline.com/sports/2010-10-19/rocky-football-start-vexes-texas-tech-fan-base#.TiX1NmF6Tms

Appellate court deals major blow to Leach in case vs. Tech

 LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Jan. 22, 2011

An Amarillo appellate court dealt a heavy blow Friday to Mike Leach’s civil lawsuit against Texas Tech in a ruling that could ultimately land the case on the Texas Supreme Court’s doorstep.

The Seventh Court of Appeals, in the 22-page ruling that grapples with the thorny concept of a state entity’s legal immunity, threw out a state district court’s earlier ruling to let Leach sue the university on breach-of-contract grounds.

Plain Text ♦ PDF
URL: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2011-01-21/appellate-court-gives-tech-sovereign-immunity

Contact me

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Phone: 817-348-8213

Email: matthewmcgowan7@gmail.com

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