MACON, Ga. — Some celebrations call for a day; others, a week. This one requires the whole month!
This May, we want you to join us in the celebration of 40 years on the air for 13WMAZ's Frank Malloy.
To kick things off, sports anchor Marvin James takes a look at how Frank got his start in sports.
The year was 1982 -- The Georgia Bulldogs were still in national championship hangover mode, the Cardinals were World Series champs, and "Showtime" was the talk of the NBA.
And then there was the start of the Francis Xavier Malloy era here at 13WMAZ, a career that would impact not only his coworkers here, but the coaches and players, and -- of course, you, the fans -- all across Central Georgia.
When Frank Malloy arrived in Central Georgia from Columbus to continue his career in sports journalism, little did he know that just a few months apart, so would his doppelgänger and soon-to-be personal and professional friend, Barney Hester.
"Somehow, I guess because we came into town the same time, people get me confused with Frank. They'll say, 'Aren't you supposed to be on the news tonight?' or whatever the case may be," said Hester.
Frank's "twin" turned out to be 11-time state championship coach Barney Hester. Over the years while accumulating more than 330 wins on the gridiron, Frank and Barney, as well as their families, grew close and gained a mutual respect that would bond them forever.
"Football Friday nights in middle Georgia is Frank Malloy, bottom line -- still is. Even though he's out of sports except on Friday nights during the football season, he is synonymous with football in middle Georgia," said Hester.
It's not just coaches who were impacted by the man we affectionately call "the GOAT," or "the Greatest of All-Time."
Frank covered generations of players, including former Southwest Macon quarterback Joe Dupree. He starred at UGA and Georgia Southern before he returned home to become the head coach at his alma mater.
Dupree says Frank has always been there.
"Back then when I was playing, you thought you had arrived when Channel 13 and Frank Malloy showed up. It was time for you to put on a show and have a great game because you knew at 11, it was going to be on the news and he was going to have great coverage. He's just been a complete joy to be interviewed and he's just been a tremendous blessing to the city of Macon," Dupree said.
From the field to the office, the relationships were just as strong. Frank's first hire after a month on the job as sports director was a young Mercer grad named Brad Bibb.
He knew all about sports as a former student athlete, but lacked the knowhow of the TV business.
"Frank kind of took me under his wing and I had to learn how to write, edit, and shoot -- all of the one-man-band stuff you had to do -- but we got along great. He's very helpful and encouraging to get me started," Bibb said.
For 13 years, Frank and Brad tag-teamed sports, from the Braves World Series trips to Football Friday nights, an experience Bibb says he will always cherish and respect Frank for continuing to carry the load.
"It's not a normal working environment as far as what everybody else does, so for him to have done this for 40 years, I mean, my hat is off to him, because there's no way I could have done this for that long. As much as you have fun meeting people, but those hours are rigorous. Like I say, I tip my hat to him for being able to stay in it this long," said Bibb.
Marvin James also expresses his gratitude and respect to Frank, who has been a mentor and a friend throughout the years.
"I, too, share those same sentiments from those gentlemen, being both a colleague and a fan. During my time of 23 years working at the station, Frank has been the example both on and off-camera. He's been there for me and my family through our highs and lows, and I salute you, sir, Straight from the Heart," said James.