The Front Nine with Geoff Calkins

This article originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of MemphiSport.

Geoff Calkins made history when he became the first person ever to defeat Jarvis Greer in the M Awards’ “Best  TV Sports Personality” category.
An award-winning Commercial Appeal columnist and TV host, Geoff takes a few minutes out of his hectic schedule to answer nine  questions for MemphiSport. Click here for the full list of winners in the 2011 M Awards.


Who is the best interview you have had on the TV show?

I had Gary Parrish interview me once. Does that count? Nah, I’d say Lionel Hollins was really good, especially because that one surprised people, the way he opened up. But we’ve had an interesting mix. John Kilzer, the former Memphis basketball player turned rock star turned minister, talking about addiction. Gene Bartow, unable to get through an answer about his old star, Larry Finch. Tarik Black and Will Coleman were hilarious. Houston Nutt was much better than I thought.

In all your coverage of sports in Memphis, what story stands out? 

More than anything, I’ve been impressed by the way the sports universe here has been transformed, almost entirely for the better. AutoZone Park was built during my tenure. The Grizzlies arrived. John Calipari had his glorious rise and fall. Mike Tyson fought here twice. And now, people are actually starting to get off their couches and move around, thanks to the Green Line.

Howard Stern calls himself the ‘King of All Media’. You might be considered the ‘King of all Sports Media in Memphis’, with TV, newspaper and radio gigs. Do you have any other irons in the fire? A book or a movie?

I recently turned down a two-hour radio show because, honestly, I’m already overcommitted. I’m not the king of anything. I’m an NBA halftime show, trying to keep all my juggling dishes in the air. I would like to assemble a book of columns, though. Possibly coming soon.

Are you concerned that you are contributing to the unemployment problem by having so many jobs?

I am concerned I will be contributing to my own personal unemployment problem if I don’t keep hacking away.

What has been the most fun part of your three jobs (newspaper, radio, TV)? 

I’m a columnist at heart. I like telling stories. That will always be my favorite part of any gig. But the TV show has been much more fun than I thought. I can even read off a teleprompter now, like a certain other Harvard Law graduate who is in the news from time to time.

What do you spend all your money on?

Legos for my three boys and chicken feed for my four bantam hens.

With all the awards you have won, you could get a job in nearly any market, why do you stay in Memphis?

I moved every two years until I got here. When I arrived, I thought I’d probably move again. But Memphis is home now, in every sense of that word. At some point, you realize that if you’re happy, you don’t have to go chasing jobs on the off chance that they might make you happier still.

What do you take away from your win this year in the M Awards for ‘Favorite Local TV Sports Personality’?

A handsome cash prize, with any luck. Also, profound concern regarding the legitimacy of the  judging process.

If you were going to put together a band with only media members, who would be in the band and what part would you play (singer, violin, guitar etc)?

I’d play electric tuba. I’d put Jeff Weinberger in charge of chicks. George Lapides could handle promotions. Between sets, Gary Parrish could tell stories about himself. Chris Vernon would… you know, this whole enterprise is too perilous. I better stop now. Truth is, I like and respect most Memphis media members, especially – and, yes, I’m sucking up – my bosses at The Commercial Appeal.


Written by Mike Bullard, photo courtesy of WKNO. 

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