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Noted sports writer shares recollections in Claremont

Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times editor and longtime writer in the area of sports, attracted a considerable crowd during a recent appearance in Claremont at Pilgrim Place, discussing his theme of “A Writer’s Journey.”

Not a stranger to Claremont by any measure, Mr. Dwyre has, for many years, been involved with the Casa Colina Hospital for Rehabilitation and the establishment of Padua Village along with his longtime friend, the late John Rountree. The two shared a friendly rivalry in the sports world, with their respective support of Army for Mr. Rountree and Notre Dame, Mr. Dwyre’s alma mater.

The connections have continued, with Mr. Dwyre’s son Patrick, a budding artist as well as an employee in the Pilgrim Place kitchen. Patrick, his sister Amy and Mr. Dwyre’s wife, Jill, joined in the visit. Mr. Dwyre and his family make their home in San Dimas.

Always interested in sports from his high school athletic career at Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin onward, Mr. Dwyre jokingly shared that his son, who rarely hears his father speak, had warned him, “You better be good.” He shared as well that the editor of his high school newspaper in Sheboygan became his wife.

Mr. Dwyre’s journalism journey went from high school through college when he was the sports editor of the Notre Dame Voice, as well as playing on the Fighting Irish tennis team.

His professional career continued from the Des Moines Register through the Milwaukee Journal to the Los Angeles Times in 1981 at the age of 36. He began as assistant sports editor and was promoted to sports editor three months later. He changed to twice-weekly columns in 2006.

The spectrum of years and topics has been wide for Mr. Dwyre. He freely admitted that he receives what might be described (among newspaper people) as ‘guff’ for his opinions, or even lack of them, in the area of his writing.

Those years have included the experiences of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles—from riding a bicycle in the rain over the marathon course to overseeing and writing for the 44 pages per day of Olympic coverage. He remembers dealing with Peter Ueberroth, who oversaw arrangements for the Olympics, including traffic. It was, he joked, the last traffic-free period in the area, remarking about the ‘carmageddon’ he encountered between San Dimas and Claremont the morning of his Pilgrim Place appearance. During the late 1980s, the Times had over 100 people on its staff

Mr. Dwyre had praise for his co-writers over the years. Those have included the late Jim Murray, whom he described as “beyond description—”the greatest lines ever,” and T.J. Simers, noted for his acerbic style.

He included in those plaudits, Steve Lopez, not generally in the sports area, but voted by readers as a favorite among columnists. “I’m just hoping that I might be number two,” he admitted.

On the money involved in modern-day sports, Mr. Dwyre observed that in his view “corporate America has taken over.”

Among the highlights of a career where he has “seen a lot of things,” Mr. Dwyre counts a Special Olympics held at La Puente High School. “It was a ‘fixed’ race, but it was the best thing I ever saw in sports.”

—Pat Yarborough

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