I moved to Orlando in May of 1989. It was the summer before the Magic played their inaugural season. I took a job at a place called the Florida Radio Network. I did news and sports updates and it paid about $11,000. I also gambled that I would be in the mix for the local sports radio show. I was given a shot and it paid $20 for a half hour show.
When I came to this town the first person who became a friend was Dennis Neumann. He was the sports director of that statewide news network. He had moved from Dallas and we connected and for me, a few months removed from college, it was a blast. I had my first apartment, a few nickels in my pocket and thought I lived the high life. But Dennis became a great friend. He was someone I appreciated and admired. A few years forward, I was ecstatic when he took a job with the Orlando Magic. I had been involved in the early years with the radio broadcasts because games aired on the station I did my nightly show. Dennis joined the broadcast team at the Magic and would take over as the radio voice when David Steele moved over to TV.
For 26 years, Dennis did his job and he did it well. He is an excellent play-by-play personality. His style of broadcast, enthusiasm, preparation and professionalism is equal to anyone. And the best thing about Dennis, is the person he is. It is easy to have a large ego in his profession. But Dennis, is as classy as you will find. But Dennis Neumann was more than a play-by-play voice for the Magic. He was an ambassador for their brand every day in-season or out.
Whatever the reason given for the team's decision to change its broadcast plans, it stinks. It stinks because Dennis deserves better. We all know these are tough times. I'm not even talking about the value of a pro team and its business decisions to maneuver its finances during a pandemic. I am talking about someone who has been a part of the fabric of the franchise for more than a quarter of a century.
My friend is still the same great person and he is still excellent at what he does. Thank you Dennis for being you and never stop being that person we can all look up to...
Notes: Many praising Ohio State Coach Ryan Day for his statement about wanting his team to play because they can win a national championship. He is being praised for calling out the Big Ten for its lack of transparency. Right. Coaches and transparency do not go hand-in-hand. From their newest trend of no depth charts released to hiding injuries to no social media policies for players- coaches are not the shining example of transparency...A cousin of mine and a dear friend took their life in the last decade. I saw their struggles and sadly learned of their decision to leave us. For Skip Bayless to use a national tv platform to call out Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott for admitting he has struggled since his brother took his life is beyond pathetic. Forget the likely apology, it's disgusting and now more than ever we all need to know that ourselves, family members and friends face issues that sometimes are too tough to handle without sharing or seeking help. Instead of mocking Prescott for some low rated show, do something and offer a hand...Former FSU player and broadcast Keith Jones was on the show Thursday. In addition to previewing the 2020 Seminoles, I asked Jones to remember the 1980 team he played on. That Bobby Bowden coached team went 10-2 and lost both games by 1 point each. The Noles went to Lincoln and beat Tom Osborne's Cornhuskers when it meant something and then came home and beat a Dan Marino led Pitt team that had more than two dozen players go on to play in the NFL, Despite the one point loss to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl(which I attended and stunned to see the Sooners pass the ball), that team is still one of the best to not win a national title. The defense was unbelievable. Here are some of the defensive stats:
--4th quarter points allowed: 0
--total second half points allowed: 21
--total touchdowns allowed by the defense: 8
--yards allowed per game: 208.2
--total sacks: 38
--total interceptions: 18
Final note: Despite many claiming its invention, a dentist is believed to be the first to introduce Cotton Candy in America. William Morrison introduced the sweet snack in 1897 and then widely distributed at the 1904 World's Fair under the name "Fairy Floss". In 1921, another dentist, Joseph Lascaux, created the machine to make the product quicker and in mass. Dentist and Cotton Candy? Hmmmm...what's the plan there?