by Jess Peters
My reflections of the New Pittsburgh Courier are basically good, some better and the majority of them the best memories of my life. Actually, I grew up with the Courier throughout the years I attended Herron Hill Jr. High and Schenley. I would go to the Centre Avenue YMCA everyday after school and see a lot of the Courier employees right across the street, Bill Nunn Sr., Hazel Garland and Harold Keith, to mention a few. Some of the pressmen from the Courier would bring copies of the paper over to the Y and I made sure to secure one to take home for my parents to read.
After working for a major pharmaceutical company in upstate New York I returned to Pittsburgh in 1969 and began to write sports part-time for the Courier. Bill Nunn Jr. was the sports editor and a scout for the Steelers. The following year Nunn devoted full time to the Steelers and just wrote a weekly column with the paper. Subsequently, I was offered the sports editor’s position.
As a sports writer and editor I covered some of the most memorable events in sports history, the 1971 World Series which the Pittsburgh Pirates won, two Super Bowls and several national and international track and field championships. Along with three Muhammad Ali championship fights. I also had the great pleasure of interviewing many celebrity athletes. Jesse Owens, Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and many others. However, two of my best interviews and stories were Pittsburgh’s own Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell of the Pirates. Another memorable interview was with Art Rooney Sr., owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mr. Rooney was a very community orientated person and he helped many local sports programs throughout the city.
Throughout my tenure with the Courier I had the tremendous pleasure of working with Teenie Harris, aka “One Shot.” Teenie would cover a sporting event and I would tell him that I needed some action shots and he had this big old speed graphic camera that was not designed for fast moving things but Teenie would come back with some great action shots.
Thinking back on all of the great events that I covered, it would have to be the 1971 Pennsylvania State High School Basketball championship, when Pittsburgh’s Schenley won the title with the likes of Maurice Lucas, Ricky Coleman and Jeep Kelly. Wow. That same year the Courier initiated the selection of the first Pittsburgh Courier All-City Basketball team.
Many years have passed since my time with the Courier. I’m semi-retired now as a wine broker. I split my time between New Orleans and Tampa, Fla. I also have a small finca (vineyard) in San Rafael, Argentina about 28 acres of malbec and cab sauv grapes. So I guess I’m also a part-time farmer.
I would like to thank all of the many fine people that I worked with at the Courier, especially Bill Nunn Jr., my mentor, and Rod Doss. Happy 100 to the New Pittsburgh Courier.
Jess Peters, Jess’s Sports Chest.