Razorback recruiting writer Otis Kirk met with Democrat-Gazette executive editor Griffin Smith today, and the two worked out a deal where Kirk will continue to write his column for the D-G once a week.
Kirk turned in his resignation Friday to the D-G’s Northwest Arkansas office. Smith reached Kirk on Saturday by telephone and said, according to Kirk, that he would not accept the writer’s resignation and planned to meet with the writer in Fayetteville on Feb. 17. Kirk, who was in Little Rock on Wednesday to address the Little Rock Touchdown Club, told Smith he could meet him Wednesday afternoon.
“This could not have worked out any better than it did,” Kirk told the Times. “I wanted more time with my family. I had to cut out something, but this is the best of both worlds.”
Kirk also works for Rivals.com, which owns HawgSports, an Internet site that reports on the University of Arkansas’s sports recruiting. In leaving the D-G, Kirk planned to go full-time with Rivals.com. The D-G will consider him a full-time employee, Kirk said, allowing for health insurance, which Rivals.com did not have in its employment package. Kirk said he signed a three-year contract with the D-G.
“I have flexibility with the Internet that I don’t have with the newspaper, with the deadlines the newspaper has,” Kirk said. “This was Griffin Smith’s idea and I accepted.”
Kirk will write a recruiting column every Sunday. “I’ll no longer be traveling to games. I’ll just be going to home games. I’m burned out on the traveling. I’v ebeen to all 12 of the SEC towns now, that was my goal. I went to Vandy (Nashville) for the first time this year.”
Kirk’s resignation last week coincided with sports editor Wally Hall’s controversial column that took issue with UA football coach Houston Nutt actions of late as coach. Kirk said he had already written out a resignation letter Thursday night and slept on the idea of quitting before turning it in Friday, and Hall’s column had nothing to do with his decision.
“The only reason I didn’t take the letter in Thursday to Steve Goff in the [Northwest Arkansas] office is that it was a big decision and I really wanted to sleep on it. It was a big decision, a lot of money involved. I don’t like to go around threatening to quit. I wanted to make sure that’s what I wanted to do. I was torn between staying with the Democrat-Gazette or just going with Rivals.
“But this is the best of both worlds, and I still have my family as No. 1 and the jobs as being No. 2 in my life.”