I’m taking my talents to Pacific Beach

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.

  • john

    Thanks for the top-tier content, Michael. I hope this site remains the best Suns blog on the web even after your departure.

  • George Z.

    Good luck on your Masters! Now that Gentry is gone how about you use your connections to get us Nate Mcmillan!?

  • scott

    Good Luck with your schooling. I have grew up in Seattle a Sonics fan but always like the Suns because my Aunt lived here and I’d come down every year and go to a few games. I moved to the Valley full time in May of 2008 and it just so happened my beloved Supersonics were stolen by a scumbag that very summer. I then became a full time fan of the Suns for the 2008-2009 season and your blog has been a great place to get my Phoenix Suns news. I wish you luck in your future endevours and will look foreward to any future contributions you make.

  • Cam

    Best of luck with the pursuit of your master’s degree. Too bad SDSU just lost to my Rebs. Don’t forget to take a few moments everyday to sit back and relax. Hopefully we hear from you now and then on the blog. Go Suns

  • DBreezy

    Damn!, sad. First the Fat Boys break up and now this…..

    jk Good luck to you Michael!

  • TucsonSunsFan

    I too am doing my masters right now. I wish you good luck and thanks for a quality site for us Suns fans

  • Alvin

    good luck dude! And thank you for all this!

  • Marion#31

    Come on man , everybody is leaving the Suns !D’Antony, Nash, Gentry !!! and now you :D !
    Who’s next ? Saver ? The Suns in Sacramento ?

    Whatever, I wish you the best, I hope there will be no big changes on this website ! Thanks for everything you did

  • Scott

    Michael Schwartz was a good man, always kind to his forum posters. His hard work helped make VotS what it is today. He goes, now, to a better place.

    May he rest in the Pacific.

    (hands Schwartz a virtual fruity beverage with an umbrella in it)

    As for Gentry, it looks like Sarver is still getting bad advice. He should have fired Blanks before Gentry. What’s the point of firing Gentry without first firing Blanks?

    BTW, did Babby say something about what a good job Gentry was doing in the last few days, and how important he was to the team? Just curious.

  • silver

    UA fan… Good riddance.

    Just kidding.

    NOOOO! I just found the site this year. Thanks for investing so much into our beloved Suns. You put together probably the best Suns website in the world. I hope you’re able to finish your degree quickly so you have more time for VOTS because we love your work. Good luck and thanks for giving us a great site to love as much as the Suns.

  • MKM

    Thank you Michael! I always enjoy your quality articles. Good luck and best wishes!

  • Tristan Welz

    Good luck Mikey…

  • Artur Mascarenhas

    Thank you Michael and best of luck for you.

    San Diego is in my top-3 cities in the world, so I know you will enjoy your time there!


  • BCrayZ

    Good luck Michael.

    Is this why you have not replied to me about Channing Frye?

  • Antonio

    I have been reading this site for several years but have never once posted. I’d like my first post to thank you, Michael Schwartz, for stewarding this virtual place for us to celebrate and commiserate with one another about our beloved Suns. I live much farther away from Phoenix that I’d like, but I always feel a little bit closer when I visit this site and read the analysis and comments. Thank you for your effort, and best wishes on your pursuit of further higher education.

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    Thanks for this blog and the work you put in it :) Good luck and have good time in SD.

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    P.S. Now that you’re leaving maybe you could answer me a question I have stated many times in my posts: why is it impossible to edit comments here ;) ?

  • Bill-in-Tokyo

    Thank you for providing a ray of sunshine from the Valley of the Sun for me in Tokyo. Still thinking about Stat or other metric applications to B-ball. Perhaps you might contribute some postings on how it is influencing the current management approach to sports. Best of luck and if you got some stat questions, you can ask a UCI Ph.D. who is here in Tokyo for free advice.

  • Pablo

    Thanks, Michael. I never post here but always read your posts and the discussions in the comments. Good luck with your studies.

  • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Michael Schwartz

    Thanks to everyone for the nice comments! They really mean a lot, and I’m lucky to have you all as loyal visitors of this site.

  • Aneet

    Congrats, Mike! I’m glad to hear your amazing news. I’m also glad that there are still people out there cheering for the Suns, despite the season they have been having. Good luck with school!

  • Abby

    Congrats, Michael! You’ve done a wonderful job with the site, though I’m still bummed I never got to be a guest blogger…

    Good luck in SD!