By CHUCK McGILL
DAILY MAIL SPORTS EDITOR
Dick Hudson, who wrote about sports for the Charleston Daily Mail for 36 years, died last Friday at 100 years old.
Hudson passed away at home in Shady Springs, Ga., surrounded by family.
Hudson’s Mountain State friends and former colleagues recalled him as a “gentlemen” and “sweetheart” who was “studious” and “scholarly” in his profession.
The Charleston native, who graduated from Charleston High School and attended West Virginia Wesleyan College, started at the Daily Mail on Jan. 5, 1935. He took over as the newspaper’s sports editor a year later, and became well-known for his daily “Warming Up” columns and an annual Christmas Day column dedicated to his only son, Terry.
“Dick represented the best of what was right about sports,” said Sam Hindman, a former publisher, executive editor and city editor at the Daily Mail.
Hudson covered high school sports, West Virginia University athletics and minor league baseball for parts of five decades.
“Dick was very much an institution at the Daily Mail,” Hindman said. “He and Shorty Hardman were, what you may call, a 1-2 punch in terms of a competitive era in newspapers in those days.”
Hudson teamed with Hardman, a former sports editor at the Charleston Gazette, to co-found the West Virginia Sports Writers Association Sports Hall of Fame and annual Victory Awards Dinner.
“I am sad,” Furfari said. “Dick Hudson was my best friend in the journalistic business. Dick Hudson was as fair-minded of a sports columnist as I’ve ever met in my life.
“I’m so saddened by his passing,” Furfari added. “He had a great life.”
Danny Wells, who started at the Charleston Gazette in 1962 and worked there for 39 years, called Hudson “folksy” and remembered him as a man with high morals who didn’t drink or smoke. Wells said Hudson wouldn’t publish photographs of champagne celebrations.
“He was just a wonderful, warm-hearted man,” Wells said. “I would go over and talk to him a lot from the Gazette ... he was a sweetheart of a guy and very knowledgeable about sports. My favorite columnist all-time in Charleston.”
Hudson’s reach in sportswriting wasn’t limited to those who worked on his staff at the Daily Mail.
Chuck Landon, who is the sports columnist at the Herald-Dispatch in Huntington and worked at the Daily Mail for 35 years, grew up reading Hudson’s work.
“He offered the best advice I’ve ever heard,” Landon said. “He said, ‘Don’t ever write anything about anyone that you wouldn’t say to their face.’ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of that writing columns.
“I’d go back and tone it down. I thought it was the greatest rule for a columnist and that came straight from him. That’s who he was.”
Landon added that Hudson was “quite a writer and he was a figure for sportswriters to strive to be like.”
Don Hager, who was hired by Hudson and later served as sports editor until retirement in 1995, worked alongside Hudson for parts of three decades.
“Dick wrote seven columns a week sometimes, laid out pages and covered the baseball games,” Hager said. “He was probably the reason I did too many things instead of passing the work around like I should have.
“Virtually everything I knew in journalism came from him ... he was a great example.”
Hudson and Hager were part of a four-person sports department at time. Hager said Hudson had only one rule: “Nobody could get sick.”
Hudson, who turned 100 last July, won the first-ever NSSA West Virginia Sportswriter of the Year Award in 1959. He also won in 1961 and 1967.
“I thought it was very apropos the first time we had Sportswriter of the Year voting, he won,” Hager said. “He just did a phenomenal job and he worked so hard.”