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Letters to the editor: Rich Landers provided crucial service for more than 40 years

UPDATED: Sat., Dec. 9, 2017

Readers knew they could count on Outdoors editor Rich Landers to deliver each week. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Readers knew they could count on Outdoors editor Rich Landers to deliver each week. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

Landers provided important service for more than 40 years

Most folks don’t realize it, but The Spokesman-Review publishes an outstanding Outdoors section every Thursday and Sunday. There’s a reason for that, and the reason is Rich Landers.

All good things come to an end and, after 41 years as Outdoors editor, Rich has retired. Fortunately for the rest of us, he will continue to take pictures and write stories for the Outdoors section, but the heavy lifting is now someone else’s job.

There’s no app for putting out an Outdoors section. It requires attention to detail and a lot of dull desk work. Rich has done that work, with little thanks, for a long time. He deserves to take off his boots and sit by the fire.

In many newspapers, the Outdoors section is a man cave for for stories about huntin’ and fishin’ period. Nothing else.

Thanks to Rich, The Spokesman’s Outdoors section is a warming hut for a broad spectrum of activities – such as climbing, skiing and paddling, to name a few. Though an avid hunter and angler, Rich knows the great outdoors is about more than hooks and bullets.

A writer of elegance and grace, Rich also is a man of uncommon courage.

A little more than 10 years ago, Jim Zumbo – the longtime hunting editor for Outdoor Life magazine – lost his job in the blink of an eye for suggesting that military-grade AR- and AK-style (assault) rifles are inappropriate for thoughtful hunters. Quite predictably, America’s intolerant gun culture squashed Zumbo like a bug.

Most Outdoors editors kept their heads down, but Rich stood out because he stood up. Risking the same fate himself, he wrote that Zumbo had a valid point and his dismissal was dirty shame.

At that point in his career, Rich had been the Outdoors editor of The Spokesman for 30-odd years. He had one of the best jobs in American journalism, yet he risked it to speak truth to power.

Putting out a newspaper section week after week, year after year, can dull even the sharpest knife, but it never took the edge off of Rich’s blade.

Happy trails, Rich Landers. You’ve earned your reward.

Bill Brock


Leach’s reactions should match Cougars fans’

To Mike Leach:

The upcoming Holiday Bowl is not just “another football game.” To “The Cougar Nation,” this is a chance to win 10 games in a season for the first time in many years. In a similar manner, the recent Apple Cup was not just “another football game.” It was a chance to beat the Huskies, an important thing to all past, present, and future Cougars, in case you did not know. This is not to mention the fact that beating the Huskies would have led to 10 wins and a chance to play for the Pac-12 championship.

No Cougar Apple Cup, nor Cougar bowl game is just “another football game.”

Don Tomlinson


College coaches’ salaries way out of line

After reading that Texas A&M is paying Jimbo Fisher (famous at Florida State for condoning Jameis Winston and his crab stealing fiasco) $75 million guaranteed for a 10-year contract, I wondered just how we got here.

Admittedly, a major college coach if successful can bring in millions of dollars to the university and some publicity that might help the university. However, some might think the compensation is getting out of hand.

Back in the day (1958), when Bear Bryant left Texas A&M to go to Alabama (and it was thought the Bear was quite well off financially, thanks to the generous Texas A&M boosters), it was reported when he spoke to the Alabama officials about his salary he asked how much the president of the university made. When told $22,000 a year, the Bear reportedly said, “Give me $20,000. I’ll have enough trouble with the faculty anyway.”

Quite the bargain. I just wonder if it really requires millions of dollars to have a coach to make a university competitive in major college football … and is it worth it?

Ronald Garrett


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