I am thrilled to be back even though I never left.

After serving as assistant sports editor at The Shawnee News-Star for 13 years from 1989-2002, I am back as the new sports editor.

The past 17 years have truly been an awesome experience working, and at times seemingly living on a college campus, at East Central University in Ada.

For the first 10 years I was ECU's sports information director and the next seven communications coordinator. Yes, I spent several nights sleeping in my office when I was SID. But it was certainly a great learning experience and one I will treasure always because of those I worked with and learned from, along with the friendships developed.

Despite that 17-year stint in the world of higher education, I never left Shawnee. Commuting back-and-forth while spending one-hour and 50 minutes on the road each day, Shawnee has been my home all along.

I never moved to Ada because of meeting the love of my life and wife Dedra here nearly 17 years ago and we've been married for 15-plus years. She's a trooper because she has been putting up with me for that long.

My son Ethan is a sports junkie like me, particularly with soccer and basketball. Unlike me, he can tell you what is going on with soccer in Europe and other places abroad. I'm good to focus on this country's leagues with MLS and USL. We enjoy attending Oklahoma City Energy and Tulsa Roughnecks games. We love basketball – Thunder, OU and the University of Tulsa – along with college football and baseball.

I also have a daughter Brenna and two granddaughters – Hannah and Emma - who live out of state.

I look forward to covering the area high schools once again. None of this would be possible without former News-Star Sports Editor Fred Fehr, who mentored me in my younger years as assistant sports editor. As a retiree, he has helped guide the ship here recently at the News-Star in the transition between sports editors. Kudos also to Managing Editor Kim Morava, who is taking a chance on me. Kim and I worked together in the past and I guess I wasn't too much of a problem.

My home is here because of my family, my home church Temple Baptist Church of Shawnee and the fact that I have lived here for more than 30 years.

Another reason I came back is my belief in local journalism and its importance to the community. The News-Star does indeed have its place in Shawnee and I look forward to helping tell the numerous success stories and hard work of student-athletes and coaches.

My goal is that we can reflect those successes, not only in Shawnee but from surrounding communities and that we can be an information source that readers can count on.

Please feel free to contact me about story ideas at bjohnson@news-star.com or at 405-214-3932.