Remembering Lorne ‘Coach’ Starko

This past weekend was a memorable one for several Alberta athletes, coaches and people who helped others achieve their goals in sport.

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame inductees were honoured with a banquet and the official induction into the hall which sits on the east side of the QEII Hwy.

Among the group was a man who never ran a record 100 metres, threw for an amazing amount of yards or touchdowns, pitched a no-hitter or could look back on an amazing career in hockey.

But you can be sure that Lorne Starko was present when many of those accomplishments were being forged and he would be armed with his notebook, pen and recorder in order to make sure the information was passed along to those who weren’t there to see for themselves.

Lorne ‘Coach’ Starko was one of those people in this business of media that made an instant impression on those who were being interviewed as well as his media compadres.

There are countless coaches, players, managers and organizers who were the subject of a Starko ‘interrogation’ and I can safely say, they walked away feeling comfortable that what was being reported at the end of the day was truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I had the pleasure of working alongside Lorne during many of those sporting events in and around Red Deer for many years and there was never a time when I saw him treat an interviewee with nothing less than professionalism and respect.

I do recall a time which underlined how Lorne approached basically any story he tackled. A coach from a local team decided he would give short, one-word answers for reasons only known to him. Lorne persisted with the questions long after the rest of us gave up and scrambled to find another interview.

Anyone who knew Lorne wasn’t surprised the next day when he had a little more information in that story from that same coach than the rest of us, simply because he would keep at it until he got what he came for.

It seems like such a short time ago that Lorne left us for good but I have this feeling deep inside that he is somewhere now, armed with a notepad, pen and a tape recorder, getting answers to questions from all those athletes and coaches who passed on before him and never experienced a Starko ‘interrogation.’

Cheers Coach!

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