This is an opinion article.

When asked why he chose to return to Tuscaloosa in 1958 and become head coach of the University of Alabama’s football team, Paul William Bryant gave a retort for the ages.

“Momma called,” he said. “And when Momma calls, you just have to come runnin.’”

As a kid, I always heard that iconic line and never really gave it much thought. But as I’ve grown older and collected a generous amount of life experience, I can relate.

After picking up and moving my family to Covington, Georgia, and spending more than two years as editor and publisher of The Covington News, my wife and I got a call from “Momma.” We were burdened with the feeling that it was time to come home.

A professional opportunity arose for my wife, Kelly, who works at Peoples Independent Bank in Boaz, that opened the door for our return to the heart of Sand Mountain — the place I was born and raised, and the community in which my heart has always been.

While Kelly was able to advance her career, I took a leap of faith and walked away from a wonderful situation in Georgia. 

I was fortunate to work with a staff made up of truly special people that contributed to the newspaper winning the Georgia Press Association’s 2022 General Excellence Award. But while I will be forever grateful for the time spent in Covington, as Bryant said, we just had to “come runnin’” back to Alabama. 

As we’re finally back home, I’m also thrilled to be back on staff at my “home away from home” at The Reporter.

I was initially welcomed to The Reporter in 2017 as a staff writer. But before departing for the Peach State in 2020, I served as managing editor of The Reporter.

Now, in my second time around at The Reporter, I’ll take on the role of editor, in which my duties will include leading the newsroom, as well as the newspaper’s page design and layout.

I’m grateful to our excellent publisher Shannon J. Allen and The Reporter’s proprietor Patrick Graham, who also owns The Covington News, for allowing me this amazing opportunity.

When Bryant returned to Alabama — where he was a former player and assistant coach — it became apparent that the decision to come home was brilliant. As head coach, “Bear” guided the Crimson Tide to six national championships during his 25-year tenure and retired as the winningest head coach of all time.

As editor, my goal is to have similar success, in that our local news and sports coverage can be deemed “championship-worthy” by readers and advertisers.

I’m delighted to hit the ground running, but I also want to be receptive to the community. I encourage anyone to reach out to me with thoughts, ideas, criticisms and suggestions on how our news and sports coverage may be elevated, expanded or improved. Email me directly at taylor.beck@sandmountainreporter.com, give me a call at 256-840-3000 and follow me on social media where I’ll try to be more and more active each day.

I’m excited to be home. Now, let’s play ball.      

Marshall County native Taylor D. Beck is editor of The Reporter. A graduate of The University of Alabama, Beck is former editor and publisher of The Covington News in Covington, Georgia. He may be reached at taylor.beck@sandmountainreporter.com.

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