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Derek Buerkle: Signing off as KPAX sports director

Posted at 8:20 PM, Sep 23, 2019

MISSOULA -- Monday is my last day at KPAX. I returned to school to work on a master's degree in education so I can become a teacher. I came to this decision about a year ago for a couple very important reasons.

I started a career in sports journalism for the same reason most people enter this line of work: I love sports. And I wanted to be in the middle of the action.

For 12 years, I've been right there for some of the best moments for the Montana Grizzlies and others in western Montana. I often get asked about my favorite game. I have two: When the Marc Mariani-led Griz made an impossible comeback versus South Dakota State in the 2009 FCS playoffs, and then, just five months later, Anthony Johnson led Montana back from 20 points down at halftime to beat Weber State in the Big Sky Conference championship.

But recently the games I enjoy the most have changed.

Over the past year, my favorite Griz game wasn't covering another basketball championship. It came in November, when I took my 3-year-old Zoey to watch the Lady Griz. She talked about it for months. I'll never forget it.

I grew to realize covering everyone else's great achievements forced me to miss out on priceless moments with my family. There will always be another high school football game on the next Friday night. But 1-year-old Aiden chugging his first milkshake only happens once.

I have greatly enjoyed 12 years working for MTN Sports and KPAX and spending a little bit of each evening with you in your living room. Now it's time to spend some more time in mine.