A quick goodbye to a good guy

By From page B1 | October 11, 2013

I guess the Aggies’ loss of radio voice Bill Herenda is the region’s gain.

Herenda announced his resignation as UC Davis men’s basketball sidekick to KHTK’s Scott Marsh, telling The Enterprise he’d finish the football season as sideline reporter.

He’s headed to Sacramento.

When Bill and I chatted this week about his new gig as the sports guy for KFBK (1530 AM) Morning News, he promised — promised — UCD sports would be a near-the-heart part of his regular broadcasts.

Herenda, who begins his new job Monday, will continue to walk the Aggie gridiron with KHTK (1140 AM) as part of the team that includes play-by-play wizard Marsh and the always colorful Doug Kelly.

But it will be during basketball, when the absence of Herenda’s insights and asides (in concert with Marsh’s Ready-for-Prime-Time calls) will leave a void.

“I have so many people to thank for the opportunity with UC Davis,” Herenda told me, making sure I promised to mentioned names. “Really there are so many: (former Assistant Athletic Director) Larry Swanson, (Swanson’s ex-boss) Greg Warzecka, current AD Terry Tumey, (former Aggie QB and Herenda’s brother-in-law) Ken O’Brien, the coaches — Jim Les, Gary Stewart, Bob Biggs, Ron Gould, the Aggies fans.”

Herenda was moved as he looked back.

He went on to send public shout-outs to Aggie Athletics Communications Director Mike Robles, Communications Assistant Eric Bankston and school Marketing Director Scott Brayton as just some of the many Aggie folks “who adopted me these past nine years.”

When it came to radio partner Marsh, Herenda collected himself before simply saying “Scott has been a great teammate.”

Herenda had to make sure his new position didn’t get in the way of his other loves, which include serving as executive director of the Sacramento chapter of the Positive Coaching Alliance and his many college on-camera appearances for ESPNU, ESPN2 and Time Warner Cable and his Comcast Hometown Network prep athletics’ work.

“From preparation, to post game to interaction with the players and their families and the coaches involved … I loved every minute,” Herenda told me.

Well, so did we, Bill.

The Flip Side of a Good Guy: I almost laughed out load when I read the headline:

“Sheryl Crow Testifies to Armstrong Doping.”

The sun’s gone down (on Santa Monica Boulevard?) for the seven-time Tour de France winner.

According to a forthcoming book “Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever,” singer and ex-wife Crow witnessed Armstrong’s blood transfusions, then Lance discussed what he was doing and told Crow “it was simply part of the sport, that all cyclists were doing the same thing.”

Armstrong’s story has hit too close to home for the self-proclaimed Bicycle Capital of the Nation.

When Armstrong cheated all those years ago, then lied and lied and lied about it, he helped let the air out of the tires of a sport that was gaining momentum in America.

Davis, which won the right to house the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame four years ago, has embraced road racing like few cities in the country.

We hosted legs of the Tour of California, we brought the shrine’s induction ceremony to town as a best-foot-forward moment in the campaign to secure the Hall of Fame. Heck, we even hosted Armstrong at a reception here — our special guest in an effort to further the image of cycling.

Accompanying his battle with cancer came the brilliant Livestrong Foundation and an avenue to not only raise money for cancer research, but a public-relations forum that raised awareness and helped care for survivors and their families.

Davis has hosted a couple of Livestrong Challenges.

Armstrong was a hero, especially around these parts.

But then came, “Say it ain’t so, Lance.”

And I’m not sure how to channel my anger.

(Taking another swig of Listerine. That taste just doesn’t go away.)

What we thought he did for the sport — and the American road-racing swagger — was of  mythological proportions. Now we know his talent was simply myth.

Armstrong’s charade has cost cycling much of its luster.

Hall President Anthony Costello has been quoted here about what Armstrong — and the other cheaters — have done to the sport, and by osmosis, how it’s impacted our local shrine.

But this week — just a day before reading about Crowe exchanging testimony for immunity in the case of Armstrong defrauding team-sponsor U.S. Postal Service — I walked through the local Hall of Fame.

I saw the plaques of the pioneers and legitimate riders.

I drank in the curious and evolutionary cycles on which we traveled the past 130 years. I saw the jerseys and bikes from what-seems-like-ancient (and clean) competitors.

I realized what a terrific resource our Hall of Fame is and how the work of the trustees of that organization have rolled up their sleeves to restore the image of cycling — and present the fascinating history of the bike in America and in our lives.

As for Armstrong? Let Sheryl tell it:

“I heard your name today,

“I walked away,

“Cause everyone’s still talking,

“I don’t need that in my life,

“Got better things to do,

“Than worry about you.”

— “Over You,” Sheryl Crow, 2002

— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff at writer at The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected]

Bruce Gallaudet

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