I'm taking my talents to Pacific Beach

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For the past four-plus years, ValleyoftheSuns has been one of the most important elements in my life.

In this time I have written 1290 posts and edited every piece of content that has appeared on this site. I’ve put my heart and soul into this blog, and that’s why it’s difficult to announce that I will be stepping away on a day-to-day basis to pursue a master’s degree in sports business at San Diego State University.

You won’t be getting rid of me just yet. I still own the blog and thus I still have a vested interest in making sure the site does not miss a beat with the same professional tone and quality analysis that we have always tried to bring you. I still plan on writing columns analyzing the team’s future and how potential moves affect it, and during the offseason I will still tell you what I think about the team’s direction. Being in San Diego, this should be our best year of training camp coverage yet.

ValleyoftheSuns will continue to hum along as usual behind the steady hand of Kevin Zimmerman. I have known Kevin since he was a freshman balling with me at the U of A rec center, and the guy is a true vet having been through the battles covering Arizona basketball for the Daily Wildcat and UA sports for Arizona Desert Swarm. I fully expect him to uphold our reputation and continue to grow the blog.

With my departure on a day-to-day standpoint, we have decided to add Matt Petersen to our staff. You might remember Matt from his Suns articles for Fanster.com a few years back. Matt currently works as a professional sportswriter for the Daily Herald in Provo, Utah, where he covers college and high school sports. Matt’s a versatile journalist who’s never afraid to provide a good take and is equally comfortable in front of a camera as he is writing a postgame recap. He’s also a whiz at packaging content, and I think overall you are going to enjoy reading his work.

As for me, my time running ValleyoftheSuns on a day-to-day basis has been thoroughly enjoyable. Before heading off to real grad school, I always used to think of VotS as my own personal grad school in which I could experiment with video interviews, postgame shows, advanced stats, SEO and many other elements of a modern sports site. When I started the blog, I was equipped to handle the journalism aspect, but there are so many different elements of running a web site that I have had to learn on the fly and that in the end have made me a much more versatile journalist.

Perhaps most of all, I’m proud of the community ValleyoftheSuns has become. When I first started the blog before the 2008-09 season, along with being a home of smart Phoenix Suns analysis with old school journalism principles in a modern blog format, I most wanted this site to become a place where Suns fans could come for intelligent discussion with each other. I know sometimes the conversations in the comments get a bit off topic, but overall I feel that has happened.

Now on to the mushy part. First and foremost, I’d like to thank ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz for calling me in October of 2008 right after the Dodgers team I had been covering for MLB.com was eliminated to pitch me on the idea of starting a Suns blog for the soon-to-be-created TrueHoop Network. My thought process going into the call was that if he even said the word “Suns” I was in, so needless to say I was hooked from the start. Henry Abbott deserves the same recognition for always being there with advice and some juicy links on TrueHoop.

I could not have done this without my good friend and former Daily Wildcat colleague Bryan Roy. When I visited him at UA Homecoming in 2008 with the idea to start a Suns blog, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. He took my incessant calls throughout that first year and helped me with the most minute of problems as well major things like designing the site and the logo we still use — all on a moment’s notice. When this site has had issues on the back end, B-Roy is usually the guy to save us. In a similar vein, Matt Manske created the design for ValleyoftheSuns’ summer of 2010 redesign, and James Constable coded it and has been on hand to answer any site design/Google Analytics questions thereafter.

I’d also like to thank everybody who has written for this site, as after a lonely first season I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of help running the blog. First and foremost, Mike Schmitz was my right-hand man for three seasons and has since gone on to bigger and better things as an assistant video coordinator for the D-League’s Bakersfield Jam. From his video breakdowns to his idea to create player profiles, this site would not be what it is today without Schmitz’s insatiable work ethic and talent. Tyler Lockman contributed two years of excellent reporting to this site and has since gone on work as a reporter for Fox Sports Arizona, which makes me very proud. Brandon Haraway, Andrew Lynch and Tyler Emerick have chipped in as well.

I’d like to thank my current staff as well: Kevin Zimmerman, Ryan Weisert, Dave Dulberg and now Matt Petersen. I know I’m leaving the site in good hands.

Finally, I’d like to thank you the reader for always challenging us to be better and for helping us create the community that ValleyoftheSuns is today. It’s been quite the ride.

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