MOULTRIE — On his last day on the job at The Brunswick News on Dec. 23, Murray Poole had to leave work early.

Not that anyone could begrudge him the time off.

Not only was his first grandchild being born prematurely in Savannah and he needed to be with his family, but Poole also had spent more than 40 years writing sports for the paper and he was slipping into a well-earned retirement.

The Moultrie native went to work for The Brunswick News in 1965 after graduating from the University of Georgia and stint in the military and became the paper’s sports editor the following July.

Over the years, he has covered the Risley High’s state basketball championship in 1969; Glynn Academy’s 1973 baseball championship; the University of Georgia’s 1981 Sugar Bowl victory over Notre Dame that gave the Bulldogs their only national championship; the first-round drafting of Glynn Academy pitcher Adam Wainwright by the Atlanta Braves and Terrors’ basketball player Kwame Brown by the Washington Wizards in back-to-back years; and a World Series and a Super Bowl featuring Georgia’s high-profile professional teams.

And plenty of other games, matches and other stories in between.

“It was a fruitful career,” Poole said recently from Brunswick, where he still lives. “I really loved it. I saw thousands of games.”

The Georgia Sports Writers Association honored him at their annual meeting last summer.

And his work covering Glynn County and the surrounding area was recognized at reception in his honor in Brunswick just before he retired.

At the reception he received a lifetime pass to sporting events in Glynn County.

And although he intends to use that pass, Poole did quip that his retirement means “Barbara (his wife) won’t have to be a sports widow so much.’

Poole is the oldest of three brothers, all of whom grew up playing and enjoying sports in Moultrie.

In fact, he remembers a vacant lot on Fifth Street Southwest, where, when he was a boy, “there wasn’t a day that went by that there wasn’t seven or eight of us playing football or baseball.”

It wasn’t long before he decided he wanted to stay around sports.

Poole did not play play sports at Moultrie High but well remembers the 1959 Moultrie High football team that went 7-3 and featured such outstanding Packers are Mac Faircloth, Don Porterfield, Dewey Cobb, Billy Chesnutt, Tony Ragan, Clyde Isom, Danny Hortman, Gerald Beverly, Charlie Marshall and others.

Especially memorable was the Packers 40-21 victory over Valdosta that fall at Cleveland Field.

Poole went to Norman College where he played on the baseball team for two seasons.

And although he had always been a Georgia Tech fan and considered going to Atlanta, he decided to enter the journalism school at the University of Georgia.

While at Georgia, he worked for the Red and Black, the school newspaper, and wrote the front page story on the first basketball game played at the new Georgia Coliseum in 1964.

“They had 13,200 people in there,” Poole said. “I think the fire marshals turned their heads.”

After graduating from Georgia and doing a stint with the Army Reserves, he took a job in the news department at The Brunswick News in 1965.

He covered news and sports until the summer of 1966 when he became sports editor.

Poole said he considered returning to Moultrie to work, but once in Brunswick, he fell in love with the beauty of the coastal area.

It was there that he met his wife and raised their two sons.

Both sons followed their father’s lead and graduated from the University of Georgia.

Older son Jeffrey, 35, is in the banking business in Brunswick and is the father of Rachel, born two days before Christmas.

Younger son Chris, now 29 and an assistant manager at the Sherwin-Williams store in Conyers, pitched for Brunswick High and is still No. 2 on the school’s all-time win list.

Poole said one of the biggest thrills of his journalism career was being able to watch and cover his son play baseball.

Glynn Academy coach Chuck Fair said that he was impressed Poole was able to be objective in his coverage of his son, despite obviously rooting for his success.

But Poole had many memorable moments during his four decades in Brunswick and he enumerated the top 10 in a column he wrote just before he retired.

They included Georgia’s national championship win in the Jan. 1, 1981 Sugar Bowl; Wainwright and Brown becoming No. 1 draft choices a year apart; Brunswick High’s run to the 1999 state championship football game; Glynn Academy’s 1973 state baseball championship; the 1999 Super Bowl featuring the Falcons and Denver Broncos; the Jacksonville Jaguars becoming and NFL franchise in 1993; the 1999 World Series featuring the Braves and the New York Yankees; the 2003 Masters, which featured Glynn County’s Davis Love III and Jonathan Byrd; Risley High winning the 1969 Georgia Interscholastic Association state basketball title; and the opening of the Glynn County Stadium in 1986.

Another thrill came in the early 1980s when he got a chance to interview Mickey Mantle, his favorite boyhood player, at Sea Palms.

Some of his bittersweet memories were covering games involving Glynn County teams playing his alma mater.

He watched Ray Goff and the Moultrie Packers football team defeat Glynn Academy 26-8 in the 1972 state playoffs.

The next spring, the Terrors knocked Goff and the Packers out of the state baseball playoffs and went on to win their only state championship.

Colquitt County’s football team went to the coast to defeat Brunswick 28-14 in 1997 and Glynn Academy 34-7 in 1998.

Poole says he is enjoying spending time with his granddaughter and working out more often at the YMCA.

Winner of 58 Georgia Press Association and Georgia Sports Writers Association awards over the years, Poole will continue to write stories and columns for Bulldog Illustrated, which has become a labor of love.

And he hopes to be able to continue his streak of not having missed a Georgia-Florida football game since 1961.

Poole still comes as often as he can to Moultrie, where brother Larry is the area director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Randy, the other Poole brother, teaches and is the assistant baseball coach at Northwest Whitfield High.

“I never thought I’d stay in one place 40 years,” Poole said. “But the Lord’s been good to me.”

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