Former Sports Writer Loses Battle, Leaves Behind Sublime Legacy
I hadn't seen Dirk Facer for awhile. Actually, it has been a couple of years.
But I can tell you one thing, I never had a negative interaction with Dirk, the legendary sports writer who passed away yesterday of kidney failure.
Sports writing is a brotherhood. A strange one, but a brotherhood nonetheless.
You see, rarely do you cover an event with one of your coworkers, unless they work for a different media outlet. College hoops, high school football, NBA. Yeah, you're usually on your own.
But I got to know Dirk mostly through emails and on occasion we would bump into each other at a state tournament or even Utah Tech game.
One thing you learn in sports writing is to get the stats (in high school, you were usually on your own), get some postgame quotes and get the story filed quickly before your night editors had a cow.
Deadline writing can be a rush, knowing sometimes you have 20 minutes or less to put together a coherent story that summarizes the game you just witnessed.
Dirk always used to say that your writing will never be as good as a great game and never as bad as a terrible game (I once covered a high school girls basketball game in Idaho where the final score was 23-2).
One time, Dirk called me the day after I had covered a game for the Deseret News. It was a strange thing to do and my first thought was "Oh crap, did I screw up?!"
I don't remember the story. I don't remember the game. But I do remember Dirk's call. He just wanted to tell me that he really enjoyed my story.
In a business full of giant egos, Dirk humbly said, "I love the way you turned that phrase. I wish I could do that."
He could, and often did. He covered the Utes and Cougars for the Deseret News for many years (as well as the NBA, prep sports and various other assignments) and was a joy to read.
With a name like Facer, you may expect Dirk to have been an in-your-face kind of guy. He was not. He was humble, unassuming, kind and talented.
Dirk's son, Austin, made the announcement of his father's death last night, saying "I have something really important to share."
He then said his Dad passed away in the ICU, but will always be his hero, and even was a hero in his death for donating his organs to help others.
My friend, Jody Genessy, who worked daily with Dirk at the Deseret News, posted this fitting tribute today:
Heartbroken over the loss of my buddy, Dirk Facer. He was like a big brother to me at the Deseret News, where we worked together from 1994 through 2020. Over the years, Dirk relentlessly teased me and endlessly supported me. He loved to have fun and poke fun, and, when it came to sports writing, he was just a dang solid reporter and a consummate professional. We started at about the same time and got laid off on the same day. He called me often afterward to make sure I was OK (and/or lament together when neither of us were).Fittingly, the last place we worked together was the Utah Sports Hall of Fame. Dirk's a Hall of Famer as far as I'm concerned. He was an old-school sports writer who was loved by everybody.I wish that I'd reached out to him more in the past year as his health deteriorated. He did like my Happy Birthday message I sent the other day, so I'm glad he at least had a positive moment with me before he headed up to the Big Pressbox in the Sky.Man, we had some fun times covering high school sports, the Utah Jazz, the University of Utah, NCAA tournaments, etc., together over the years.I hope you read this while dining at Crown Burger in heaven. It warms my heart that the last photo I saw of Dirk was him holding his grandchild — two beautiful bald human beings enjoying each other's presence.Love ya, Dirk.Thanks for being a good writer, a good dad, a good man and a good friend.