David Lamm, who impacted area sports for nearly four decades passes away

David Lamm Lou Gehrig once said about his chosen profession.

“I am the luckiest man on earth” He told Mike Lyons During a 2019 interview with the Jacksonville Broadcasters Association on YouTube. “I never planned this, but I’ve had a great career.”

Lamm’s self-proclaimed luck has favored sports fans on the First Coast who have read, watched and listened to his bombastic but insightful and knowledgeable works for nearly four decades.

David Lamm went from being the chief sports columnist for the Florida Times-Union to a longer career in radio and television sports.

Lam, 78, died on Friday, according to a Facebook post by his son, Alex. Lamm worked for the Florida Times-Union beginning in 1977, eventually becoming a senior columnist and sports editor where he was a fixture in Florida-Georgia games, players championship, Nascar races in daytona, the Plain And the Crocodile bowl.

“It is with immeasurable sadness that the Facebook community learned of Pops’ passing today,” Alex Lam wrote.

He added that plans to erect the memorial will be announced at a later date. Lamm is also survived by his wife of 58 years, Ellen “Bo” Lamm, his other son, Tom, and his five grandchildren.

David Lamm “won everyone”

The son of a mailman in Rocky Mount, N.C., Lamm was first and perhaps foremost a print journalist, starting when he covered the high school football team, then at the Daily Tar Heel when he went to the University of North Carolina.

Lamm rose quickly, working as a columnist in Greensboro, then at the Times-Union when he was hired by managing editor Fred Seeley—Lamm’s editor at the Daily Tar Heel.

Seely said his sales pitch to the late Times-Union publisher John Tucker It is that Lahm was thinking and writing outside the box.

“I told John that David was a great man who would open up the athletic department to new ideas,” Seeley said. “The guy is a great writer and we need to take a look at him. Tucker loved him – mainly because David loved golf as much as he did – and said, ‘This is the guy we need.’

Lam’s personality, while often over the top, “attracted everyone,” Seeley said.

Lamm earned a column and quickly established himself as one of the voices of Southern sports.

“He was there for every big game,” said former Atlanta columnist and CBS college football commentator Tony Barnhart, who replaced Lamm in Greensboro. “David lived for the big matches, the big golf tournaments. He was a journalist in the strict sense of the word. He cared about the craft and didn’t back down from anyone.”

Lam had a “courageous” approach to his job

Lahm has never been shy about questioning coaches on play calls, personal decisions and when they break the rules. Likewise, it will task PGA Tour players with selecting club and tour executives to make their decisions.

“We didn’t always agree,” the former PGA Tour commissioner said. Dean Beeman. “But David has been a huge supporter of golf and the PGA Tour coming to the First Coast. He’s been supportive of everything we’ve ever done and how important the tour and the players are to the community and charities.”

Former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio laughs at a question from David Lamm during a 2007 news conference at Everbank Stadium.

Lam was rarely without an unlit cigar in his mouth, and he would remove it to ask the tough questions.

Mike Bianchi, a former Times Union columnist who now works for the Orlando Sentinel, said Lamm was “fearless.”

“It didn’t matter if he was writing or on the radio, he had no filter,” Bianchi said. “He would give you his opinion. It might not be politically correct or what people wanted to hear, but it was his opinion. He would ask questions in press conferences that no one else would dare ask. The funny part was how respectful everyone was.” charity Steve Spurrier And Bobby Bowden But he used to appear in matches and press conferences and they still embraced him.”

It was Spurrier who is credited with inventing the nickname “Lamm Chop.”

Former Gator coach Doug Dickey Building relationships was more important than trying to get coaches in “gotcha” moments, Lamm said.

“Deep down, David was a very good man,” Dickey said. “He was very comfortable to be around, very personable and you could talk to him without worrying that everything you said would be in the newspaper the next day. We respected him and were always happy to have him around.”

Lamm has had great success on radio and television

Lam began his second career in television and radio starting in 1983 and continued regularly until 2015, working at two radio stations and two television stations. He has attacked electronic media in unconventional ways, such as his alter ego “Blabbermouth Lamm” (with a cheesy fake mustache).

He hosted “Lamm at Large” on WTLV and Continental Cable and collaborated with Sam Kouvaris on WJXT with their show “Sam and Lamm” and later on “Sports Talk Live”.

Most recently in 2019, Lamm did color commentary for Jacksonville University football on ESPN+ and within days of his death was still recording short commentaries on the sport for 1010-XL.

“People say there’s no sports talk radio show in Jacksonville without Jay Solomon,” the Jaguars broadcaster and 1010XL personality said. frank frangi, In reference to the former broadcaster in Al-Ittihad and the pioneer of sports radio. “But I also believe there is no sports talk radio show without David Lamm.”

Covaris said he and Lam engaged in a fierce competition for breaking news. But it did not stand in the way of their personal relationship.

“If I was going to break a story, I knew I had to stand up to David,” Kouvaris said. “When we started collaborating, we almost never agreed on anything. But it worked because there was a level of respect between us. I would tell him he was out of left field. He would tell me I was wrong. We would make each other defend our positions but it wasn’t Never personally and make the show even better.”

Lam enjoyed his big picture

Lam also enjoyed the life of a sports media personality. He was an avid golfer, but anyone in his group at Hidden Hills or Amelia Golf Club, his two favorite courses, knew he needed to play at his own pace.

Lamm also enjoyed charity golf tournaments, the 19th holes, media hospitality rooms, the Old Island Club at The Players, talk sports in hotel bars and lobbies or on long trips to SEC venues with teammates.

“It made road trips much shorter,” Franji said. “We would get in the car to head to Gainesville or Tallahassee or Atlanta or Birmingham and time would fly by because we would talk about sports and life. When you were on the road with David, you had no choice but to have fun.”

Seeley said he will never forget the sight of Lamm at the old Gator Bowl Ball party in the 1980s. This was a black tie affair, but BYOB.

“David walked into the hotel ballroom wearing a business suit, a Miller Lite can slung over his shoulder,” Seeley said. “That was his idea of ​​BYOB.”

Corvaris said Lamm was never ashamed of being a celebrity in Jacksonville.

“No one enjoyed being David Lamm more than David Lamm,” he said. “He enjoyed being larger than life.”

“One of the greatest men in the world,” Seeley said. “He was nothing but a joy to be with. He took his fame well.”

He brought Lam back into the community

There was another side to Lam’s personality, once people peeled back the layers of his larger-than-life personality: he was a big guy with an even bigger heart.

David Lamm (center) with his son Alex and three grandchildren at a Santa Lamm event.  Lamm, a former Times-Union sports columnist and longtime local sports radio host, started the annual event in 2002. His sons, Tom and Alex, keep the tradition going.

Lam began Christmas parties “Santa Lam”. In 2002, more than 4,000 children participated. He coached Little League baseball. He mentored young sportswriters and radio journalists and read and listened to everything that came from a First Coast media outlet, quietly fielding compliments and advice.

“Santa Lam really mattered to him,” Frangie said. “He was making a difference before foundations and charities were in vogue. He was always looking out for young people, giving them advice and praising them.”

Past Chairman of the Gator Bowl Rick Catlett Lamm said he was quick to embrace First Coast sports projects such as efforts to acquire the NFL, USFL, Gator Bowl and the Players.

“If you need to get something, David will help you,” Catlett said. “When we got the USFL he was on board because it helped Jacksonville. He supported the Gator Bowl because it helped Jacksonville. He would kick you if you did something stupid but if you did something right he would support you.”

Lam’s on-air presence has diminished in recent years due to back problems and other health problems. Frangi regrets that the current generation of sports fans may have missed out on the best of David Lahm

“I hate that they never get to read a David Lamm column,” Franji said. “I hate that they never saw Lamm at Large on TV. He was unique, authentic and honest and never changed who he was. The greatness of David Lamm is that there was no one like him.”

But Lahm said five years ago that he was the lucky one.

“How many people fall into something and it turns out to be the love of their life? They don’t even know it at the time,” he said during a 2019 interview with Lyons.

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