Mr. R.K. Speights began his career as
journalist covering high school sports in
East Texas for the Hallsville Herald
(weekly paper) as a freelance journalist.
His basic coverage was the Hallsville
Bobcats and at that time district 17-4A.
In 1999, realizing the need to
give the Bobcats more coverage on a daily
basis Mr. Speights created a website
called GoCatsGo and added a
semi-weekly newsletter--via email--to
Bobcat fans across the country.
The GoCatsGo Sports
Highlights Newsletter's subscriber
base topped over 500 Bobcat fans and area
high school sports enthusiasts. Bobcats
fans from as far away as Hawaii,
California, New York, South America,
Australia, England, Germany, Japan and
various places from around the globe
joined the subscriber list.
Herald closed it's doors in March
2001. The former Hallsville Herald editor
subsequently opened a new paper called
the Sentinel Oak in June of that
same year. He elected to solely cover the
Bobcats without extra staff coverage. The
Sentinel Oak closed it's doors
in May 2002.
In the summer of 2001,
the Marshall News Messenger
employed a new sports editor, Aaron S.
Lee. Lee wanted to expand the papers
coverage of area high school sports so
Speights came on board as a freelance
reporter for the paper covering the
Bobcats and other high schools in the
area. Speights averaged five articles per
week covering sometimes, three and four
schools in the same article and at
different sporting events. The most
montumental coverage event was covering
13 baseball games in three days time, at
the Dr. Pepper Classic held in Hallsville
In April 2002 Lee left
the Marshall News Messenger to
tale a sports writing position at the Palm
Beach Post and then went on become
managing editor of the American
Football Monthly. The new editor at
the Marshall News Messenger
chose to feature more of the Marshall ISD
sports than the surrounding area.
Speights had been
toying with the idea of starting a weekly
newspaper dedicated solely to the area
high schools sports. Finding news about
other area teams was like "Looking
for a needle in a haystack." Not
only in area high school sports but
across the Region, too.
On Aug. 4, 2002, he
launched an online newspaper covering Hallsville,
Carthage, Tatum, Beckville,
Waskom, Atlanta, Jefferson,
Karnack, Elysian Fields, Marshall and
with the GoCatsGo subscriber
base, the subscribers almost doubled in
the first four weeks--by word of
mouth only. Also, in those four
weeks two more things happened: 1) The
demand for high school news increased
from area coverage to coverage of Texas
high schools sports in Region II; 128
schools 2) The North East Texas
Sports Gazette was born.
website was phased out and the new N.E.T.
Sports Gazette was introduced. To
date since September 2002 the site has
had almost 62,000 hits. During the
playoffs this past season Speights
started a special edition of the paper
that goes out to the Texans in the
military each week.
first columns were published in the
Hallsville Herald under the title
"Hallsville Sports News" once a
month. In the Marshall News Messenger,
the column became known as "WUZUP in
Hallsville Sports." It received it's
trademark title when the author began
signing off each column with Till The
Last Buzzer Sounds.
love and knowledge of Texas high school
sports, especially East Texas has earned
him the nickname of The Man. The
nickname The Man came late one
Friday night when a sports writer emailed
with a plea of help. He needed the mascot
for a school he was doing an article on
and the deadline was approaching.
Although Speights didn't know first hand
what the mascot was, a quick search on
the internet produced the needed name.
Less than five minutes had gone by when
he emailed the response back. The reply
email said, "Thanks, you The
articles have been published in the Longview
News Journal, Marshall News
Messenger, Houston Chronicle,
Dallas Morning News, Panola Watchman,
Red River Rooster, Henderson
Daily News, TXPreps, Texas
Coaches Magazine, Toledo Bend Tribune and
the American Football Monthly.
in the summer, he will publish his first
book called, Run the other play,
Coach! A book of humor from stories
and saying from high school coaches
across the state. He is now working on a
series of books called Lonestar Legends.
The first volume is entitled, Lonestar
Legends - The Coaches.
a native of Lousiana, now calls Carthage
his home. He has been married to his
wife, Donna, for 31 years. They have a
daughter, Kristen, who attends Texas
Speights was approached to represent a
sports journalist and author as literary
agent thus began his career in book
journalism, Speights owns an advertising
business in east Texas.
Texas Sports Writers Association,
American Football Writers Association and
Worldwide Freelance Writers Association.