Rich Clarkson ©Joshua Duplechian

Rich Clarkson ©Joshua Duplechian

We’re once again in the midst of NCAA March Madness and, as the tournament draws to a close tonight and Monday in Indianapolis, I’m joining back up with my former colleagues at NCAA Photos and be courtside for my 15th Final Four alongside my friend and mentor Rich Clarkson.

Clarkson is a living legend of college basketball, and when the final game tips off on Monday April 6th, he’ll be settling in to his familiar outside floor spot for an unprecedented 60th Final Four. The man has born witness to almost every tournament since following his Kansas Jayhawks and star Wilt Chamberlain to the finals in the early 1950s, hardly missing a game since, a track record that did not go unnoticed by the NCAA when they tapped him to create NCAA Photos in 1994. During my nearly 15 years on staff at NCAA Photos, I poured over his enormous archive countless times, noting all the once and future college and NBA star players and coaches that passed before his lens at each year’s national championship.

Rich Clarkson circa the 1950s.

Rich Clarkson circa the 1950s.

Ask him about the significance of this milestone and he’ll surely fall back to a favorite adage: “Guess I’m stuck in a rut.”

For my nearly 15 years on staff and all the good times since, I’m eternally grateful for the peak inside the world of college sports you’ve provided for me. Hat tip ‘ol man. It’ll be bittersweet helping  you up from your photo position at the close of the games Monday night.  Your permanent outside cross court position will should be preserved for eternity like a retired jersey.

 

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