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R.K. (Bob) Speights - Publisher/Editor-in-chief

In 1992, 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.

The Hallsville 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 and Marshall.

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 Harleton.

Starting 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.

The GoCatsGo 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.

Speights' 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.

Speights' 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 Man."

His 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.

Sometime 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.

Speights, 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 A&M.

In 2001 Speights was approached to represent a sports journalist and author as literary agent thus began his career in book publishing.

Besides journalism, Speights owns an advertising business in east Texas.

Member: Texas Sports Writers Association, American Football Writers Association and Worldwide Freelance Writers Association.



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