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DAVID FLORES: After 43-plus years, it's time to lay down my bucket and move on

Writing about sports for more than four decades has been an experience I never could have imagined as a boy growing up in a Corpus Christi barrio in the 1960s.
Credit: David Flores / Kens5.com

SAN ANTONIO — Today is a bittersweet day for your trusty correspondent.

After making my living as a sportswriter for more than 43 years, the last 11 with KENS 5, I'm stepping off the treadmill of daily deadlines and retiring Friday. Someday soon, I'm sure, my worn-out adrenal glands will thank me. 

To say it's been quite a ride wouldn't even begin to describe my career, which began at the Kingsville Record-News in April 1977 and continued at the Express-News two years later.

It's been a privilege to write about so many athletes, coaches, athletic directors, trainers and all the other people associated with sports.

While I'm looking forward to the next phase of my life with great anticipation, I move on with some degree of apprehension. After all, it's natural to have mixed emotions when you walk away from a job you've enjoyed doing for more than four decades.

These last few days, I've given considerable thought to what a wise man told me when I was a young newspaperman many years ago: It's always best to leave when you still have something left in your tank.

I never wanted to be the guy who stayed too long and had to be pushed out the door. When I turned 65 in January, I started thinking seriously about laying down my bucket and moving on.

I planned to be gone by early March but was persuaded to stick around until the end of the Spurs' season. Then the coronavirus pandemic turned our world upside down. So, I stayed until spring became summer. But now it's time to go.

Working with such an outstanding group of professionals at KENS 5 has been one of the highlights of my career. I started writing sports for Kens5.com in April 2009, less than a month after being laid off by the Express-News during the difficult days of the Great Recession.

Losing a job I'd had for nearly 30 years was a crushing blow. Then 54, I wondered who would hire someone my age. I was at home licking my wounds when my cell phone rang one morning in early April. It was Kurt Davis, then KENS 5's news director.

Credit: David Flores / Kens5,.com
Four of David Flores' grandchildren – Chelsea, left, and Deliah, and Chance, left, and Jesse – all will be in high school this year.

I didn't know Davis, but his phone call calmed my anxiety about my future. He cut to the chase quickly, telling me that Bob McGann, then KENS 5 president and general manager, wanted to offer me a job as a contract worker with the station's new website. 

KENS 5 had just launched its website that January. McGann called me the day after my first conversation with Davis and made his pitch. 

Within a few days, McGann invited me to lunch with some of the station's upper management and we hit it off. I couldn't sign my contract fast enough.

Joining the KENS5.com team gave me a unique opportunity to grow with a vibrant digital team that was passionate about becoming the best in the San Antonio area.

Although I was a free-lancer, or contract worker, until Executive News Director Jack Acosta got me on board as a full-timer in July 2018, my loyalty always has been to KENS 5. Looking back now, it was fitting that I landed at the station where the late, great Dan Cook, who was a colleague of mine at the Express-News for years, was sports director for decades. 

I forever will be grateful to McGann, Davis, former digital directors Jan Boyd and Jeff Anastasio, and current digital director Greg Matthews for making me feel so welcome from the moment I walked through the door at KENS. 

Of course, I owe a tremendous debt to Tom Cury, our current president and general manager, and Acosta for allowing me to stay on when they succeeded McGann and Davis. And I'll always be grateful to them for making me a full-time employee.

I will miss our crack digital team tremendously. I can't end this without noting what Matthews brings to the job every day. Highly organized and unflappable, Matthews is the anchor of the team with his steady leadership. 

So now it's over. I look forward to spending more time with my son and daughter and the rest of the family. I have five grandchildren and one on the way.

As I go, there are so many coaches, athletes and athletic directors I'd like to thank for sharing their stories with me – and through extension – our readers.

Yes, it's been a great ride. Thanks for taking me along.