Why I’m back as Osceola owner

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”


― Heraclitus

In April, I retired from the Seminole Boosters after two decades as Senior Vice President. Seven days later, I bought the Osceola, a newspaper I co-founded in 1982 and sold in 1999. It was a brief retirement.

Some friends were excited to hear “Jerry is back at The Osceola.” Others were alarmed, reciting the old expression: “You can never go back.”

But I found a much older expression, attributed to an ancient philosopher, which is way more fitting: “No man ever steps in the same river twice,” Heraclitus said, “for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

I love the river analogy because Florida State has changed a great deal since 1982 and I have too.

Six FSU presidents and seven athletic directors (counting interims) have each brought new ideas and management styles, faced unique trials and tribulations, and left the river a little different than they found it. Collegiate athletic departments serve at the pleasure of the university President so each time there is a change of guard in the head shed, change is soon to follow downstream.

Each of us learns from experiences and from people. We learn as much from the good as we do the blunders and there have been plenty of both. Heck, I have been at the table and had a voice in some of each.

Why the Osceola

When I read Hericlitus’ quote about the river and the man, I recalled a five-day white water rafting trip The Osceola organized years ago on the Salmon River. The guides had long forgotten how many times they had been down the “river of no return”. They knew every rock, hole and eddy like the back of their leathered hands and their experience turned a dangerous whitewater challenge into a series of thrilling and fun days.

But what I remember most about the guides was their respect for the river and their eagerness to share the ride with us. That pretty much nails “why” I bought The Osceola back. I respect this FSU sports river and I am still eager to share the ride with you.

So what does The Osceola have planned?

We plan to base The Osceola on one simple principal: stories should be informative and fun reads.

Sports are supposed to be fun, an escape from reality, so our goal will be to celebrate the good times with you and help you navigate those troubling issues with sourced reporting. You can count on us for high quality, interactive, in-depth conversations with current Seminoles and legends from our rich history.

In addition to the fun and games, we will take routine deep dives into the business of college athletics tapping into experience and sources developed over the years. We will report on FSU of course but add context to how FSU compares with other universities.

Jerry Kutz at the Don Veller-Seminole Golf Course with coach Trey Jones

The Osceola Experiences

In addition to covering sports, recruiting and business, we will place a major emphasis on finding and writing about your favorite experiences. We intend to create ways for our readers to find value, convenience and affordability and to customize FSU experiences when purchasing tickets, lodging and planning things to do. We have big plans to enhance your access and enjoyment of FSU sports. 

Coming next: you can look forward to soon-to-be-released Osceola stories about creative ticket and lodging packages, which will be released very soon.

Legacy reporting of good and bad news

Not all news is fun to read or to write. But when the inevitable bad news breaks, we’ll follow this old saying: “It’s not what you say but how you say it.”

We’ll report the bad news but we’ll take the time to report it in a context that will ask the questions: why did it happen and what is being done to minimize the chance it will happen again?

That was the legacy established when The Osceola began in 1982, when we hired an enthusiastic editor named Steve Ellis. Those of you who remember Steve know he was a whirling dervish who could not be beat as a reporter.

The Osceola has enjoyed a series of talented and committed editors including the current editors of the Democrat (Jim Henry), Warchant (Ira Schoffel) and Osceola and Unconquered Magazine (Bob Ferrante). Other notable editors include: former Democrat editor Jim Lamar, Seminoles.com columnist Tim Linafelt, Golf writer Daniel Mitchell and Dan Densmore who took his talents into the classroom.

When we talk about the river changing, nothing has changed more dramatically than the way the news is served to readers. The internet and 24-7-365 news coverage has certainly expedited the speed and quantity of news. The re-imagined Osceola will utilize digital, mobile and social channels to deliver the news but at a speed our legacy standards of reporting allow.

I learned the value of reporting “the why” and expect to see that legacy reflected in the writing of our current staff, which is led by Osceola’s managing editor Bob Ferrante. Bob and I have worked together on the Seminole Boosters Unconquered Magazine, which The Osceola will continue to contribute. We share a common vision and passion for the river.

Writers with a frame of reference

While this column reintroduces me to The Osceola, it is important to note the staff Bob and I have assembled is comprised of experienced writers with subject matter expertise. Half of Patrick Burnham’s professional career has been in College or Pro Football Operations. As the son of a former coach, Patrick has spent most of his life around college athletics. He has also covered the state of Florida as a Recruiting Analyst for two years for Fox and Scout.com. Similarly, contributing analyst Charles Fishbein is a full-time evaluator of high school football players in Florida and markets his services to colleges across the country. Contributing writer Mike McNamara makes his living as owner of the St. Marks Outfitters and the Coastal Angler magazine for the Big Bend. Vera Kutz is immersed in the local music and entertainment scene and passionate about the fan experience.

We have assembled this staff to provide information our readers can trust.

After 37 years of writing about Florida State, and helping to guide it, I have an enduring sense of wonder and respect for it. I can’t imagine anything I’d rather do than share the peaceful flatwater and the exciting whitewater with each of you, offering my perspective – and a bunch of stories — along the way.

Thank you for your support of the Osceola over the years. If you are not yet a subscriber, I hope you will join us on our journey by subscribing to the Osceola and sharing your experiences and feedback with us.

I’m thrilled to be back and sharing this awesome ride with you again.

Comments

  1. Dave Woods Reply

    I can remember the very first issue of this paper. After graduation, i lived in a Seminole Vacuum, out in the Rockies and the Osceola was the only pipeline to Noles News. There was a defined dropoff once the original writers changed. Sadly, there were spells where time and circumstances that left a couple of gaps in my subscription, but lighter load and retirement has me back in full force. I’m ready for the good ‘ole days.

  2. Jerry Kutz Reply

    Dave woods,
    I remember it too and I re-read one last week before writing the column. There were a bunch of typos. Ha! But that was during a time in which you used typesetters without spell check and when you had to cut and paste on a light table. Editing is so much easier today.
    When we started, it was us and the Democrat. No one else.
    As FSU improved, the dailies began to assign beat writers to FSU and then some actually moved writers to live here. I think Jim Henry, with Tampa Trib, was one of the first. Orlando Sentinel moved Alan Schmadtke up here. Pensacola sent Bill Vilona and Jax sent the Schmitter (Gary Schmidt) and later Bob Thomas who is now with sports information. The other dailies came up for big games and used Osceola staff, among others, as stringers.
    Now a days, there are numerous outlets covering the Noles and many doing a very nice job. I know most of them and look forward to collaborating with them on a subject we have mutual interest.

  3. Tomahawk Reply

    So is this a magazine or internet subscription or both?

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Tomahawk,
      Osceola will be a dynamic website you can consume on a laptop or phone.
      We do have the capability of formatting the stories we run into an Issuu issue which can be printed on a home computer and read like a magazine,
      You can click on one of the older issues of Osceola as an example.
      We’ll survey our subscribers to see their preference in the coming weeks.
      What is your preference?

      • Bob Parent Reply

        Bob Parent

        Hey Jerry, glad to see you are back in charge. I subscribed to
        the Osceola from the beginning but lost interest a few years
        ago. Look forward to reconnecting. Wish you much success.

  4. JMG Reply

    Welcome home, old friend. Full circle. I can’t wait to see what you do with this adventure.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Let’s have lunch or a beer. I need beer more than lunch. 🙂

  5. Robert Weldon Reply

    Had kinda forgotten about the Osceola….but you can’t keep a good thing (or person) down!!

    Nice to see you are back!! Since I have been away from Tally for the last couple years, this is welcomed news!!

    Can ya bring the old logo back??? 😉

    Congrats and looking forward to the Osceola future!!

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Man, I got my hands full bringing the Osceola back. I’ll leave the logo to someone else for now. Ha!

      I am thinkng of updating the Osceola logo. Any of you guys want to serve on a focus group. Its easy I’ll send you 10 versions and you share which one you like best.
      email me at jkutz@theosceolanew.com if you are interested.
      That’s how they should have done it.
      Make my point?

  6. Albert A. Washington Reply

    Good luck Jerry (not that you need it!)—I spent 30 years in the Marine Corps (FSU Class of ’72) and for many, many years The Osceola was my ONLY conduit to the beloved Seminoles; your efforts are much appreciated.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Thank you for your service. Another poster on this thread Witt V. is a retired Air Force pilot as is Jack Taylor.
      Glad we could be of service to you. I am class of 74. We old.
      JK

  7. Debra Billard Reply

    Jerry, this is amazing and exciting news! I’m still a subscriber after all these years and I am thrilled that you are back! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us. Go Noles!

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      I saw your name and Terry Vaughn’s name and a few others when they sent me the list. Glad to be back.

  8. Terry Vaughan Reply

    As a subscriber from the early days, I fondly remember staking out my mailbox in anticipation of the next issue. Before the Internet and social media provided a demand for immediacy in news, this was my lifeline to all things FSU.

    And then there was 1-900 The Recruiting Hotline. My monthly phone bill would exceed my mortgage payment. But what fun it was.

    Welcome home Jerry. Yes, it’s a different era. Yet, you are the perfect vehicle to merge the nostalgia of the past with the fast paced news cycle of our current times.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Terry,
      I may have told you and your wife the story of Derrick Brooks commitment. We had announced the time he would sign and forget it was Central Time so everyone called in and got charged the $2 for the first minute only to hear we had screwed up and they’d have to call back again, an hour later. Ha! Embarassing but profitable.
      Tom Block was the voice of the Osceola Hotline back then. It was his first job in “broadcast journalism”.
      Lot of stories. Lot more ahead.

      • Terry Vaughan Reply

        Yes, we have enjoyed that discussion-as well as reminiscing about the time we called the Osceola Hotline and somehow got patched through to a porn site! For at least one night, the call was more exciting than recruiting news! 🙂

  9. CubNole Reply

    Jerry:

    Glad to see you back in the river. As one of the early subscribers to the Osceola, I always enjoyed the information it provided (at a time when very little FSU info was available) and can remember eagerly anticipating the arrival of each edition. I dropped my subscription after it changed to a magazine format but am excited that you once again are back in charge. I look forward to finding out where the “new Osceola” will take me. I’m sure it will be a fun ride.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Cub, good meeting you at the football game last year. I always looked forward to you getting the Osceola because it meant we had successfully completed that one. I had that same feeling last night after we got this first new-version to bed. Lots more coming.
      thanks for the support

  10. Tomahawk Reply

    I still enjoy magazines

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Tomahak, I do too.
      We have a feature, I mentioned, that we may employ that allows you to print it out on a home computer and read like a magazine. I take it you vote yes to it.

  11. Panoles Reply

    I remember the days of the Osceola magazine as it was my go to for all things FSU sports related. Welcome back and I look forward to this journey with you.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Thanks PA. Glad you’ll be a part of the ride. I have a vision but who knows where it will take us.

  12. Witt Wittevrongel Reply

    Where do I sign Up Jerry. Used to spend a lot of time on the Osceola. Not into recruiting as much as I used to be so will not be making those calls to get the the latest on some hot recruit.
    Witt

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Witt,
      We will not have the Osceola Hotline for recruiting, so think how much money you will be saving!
      To subscribe simply go to this link or click subscribe at the top of the home page
      https://theosceola.com/register/
      See you at the coaches’ lunch soon, I hope.
      Jerry

  13. Jack Taylor Reply

    Jerry – You may not remember me, but we go way back to the early Bobby Bowden days. My wife, Patsy, and I live in Niceville, FL and have for 40+ years. We met you on one of the Seminole cruises that were hosted by Bobby and Ann. We were fortunate enough to be able to be part of more than 15 of those fun cruises and got to know many of the assistant coaches over those years. In those days, you worked for or owned the Osceola. I also had the pleasure of playing golf with you at one of the FSU away games, but don’t remember when or where. In those days, I always looked forward to receiving the Osceola in the mail. My preference would be to subscribe to an online version, which could be easily downloaded and printed out. It would please me if it contained the same type of content as the old Osceola when you were the editor. There are four things that I think of when I think of Jerry Kutz: (1) a great writer of sports articles; (2) a great Seminole Booster; (3) a lover of FSU: (4) a great person who is fun to be around. The very best to you. We can’t wait for the next edition. Jack Taylor (Colonel USAF, retired)

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Jack,
      Of course I remember you and Patsy. In addition to loving those cruises, and the golf tournaments, I have a fond place in my heart for the covered dish dinners the Ft. Walton Seminole Club used to feed me when I came to speak to your club. John Bobel and Witt and Marty and the gang always made me feel welcome and I’m just a sucker for covered dish dinners. Southern cooking and baked goods. Tough to beat.
      Jerry

  14. Joe Wise Reply

    Jerry good to hear the news. I remember my subscription to he Osceola back in the day, and still excited to receive it in the mail, even though it generally arrived at my house after the next game had already been played, but who cared, it was great Seminole coverage.

    I will let your friend J know about this and of course we always have a beer for you at our tailgate. Best of wishes in the renewed venture.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Joe,
      The mail was always a challenge. Thank goodness we’re not dependent on that any more. I will say this about the USPO, however, they delivered better than 95 percent on time (as far as we could tell) which amazed me considering the logistics. And, by and large, their employees cared.
      We had an employee (PJ Klena) call each plant manager every Tuesday to see if it had cleared their plant and then she’d call each of the “challenging” area post masters on Wednesday to see if they had received it. A lot of those PO employees just assumed it was junk mail because it was a tabloid and didn’t notice the periodic postage indicia. PJ’s calls alerted them and we got better service thereafter. They got to be on a first name bases and expected her call. People make it happen.
      But it was like Whack a Mole. Everything would be good in an area as long as the same employees where there and then it would deteriorate once they changed employees and the education process would begin again for PJ.

  15. Mike Dasher Reply

    Jerry, this is awesome news! I fondly remember reading the Osceola on campus in class rather than paying attention to the lecture. I couldn’t wait for the next issue. You will do fantastic! It was fun to work with you for several years at Seminole Boosters and I look forward to many more years ahead. Cheers!

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Mike,
      Osceola On Campus… my contribution to keeping college kids in class. I’m noodling a digital version of Osceola On Campus for students. My intern, a student, will be my muse. Look forward to continuing to work with you on Osceola and Unconquered stories and podcasts where you have the subject matter expertise, maybe some of the big projects you are raising money for.
      Jerry

  16. Alan Schmadtke Reply

    Jerry,

    Reads like you are following your heart and your gut. This seems like a nice fit. Look forward to seeing the next chapter at The Osceola from afar. Congratulations, and many good wishes for you, the staff and the publication. Enjoy the ride.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Thanks Alan. I enjoyed your writing in the Orlando Sentinel and spending time with you when you were here. One of the fun things about this launch has been hearing from so many Osceola employees from the past, writers like yourself and former players. I am looking forward to sharing the “inside the meetings” perspectives for sure. I’m also really charged up to create something I think is innovative with Osceola Experience, which will cover all the fan-oriented subject matter like lodging, tickets, entertainment, outdoor adventures available to enjoy with FSU sports throughout the year. Osceola used to cover just sports and while we will still do that, I think I can add value to the reader’s subscription if I can offer options they did not know exist, or will save them money, or enhance a memory. So, the creative juices are flowing. Give me a call if you have time 850.508.8690.

  17. Steve Reply

    Used to be an Osceola reader for a long time but faded out as the internet came on and got stronger.

    Things I would like to read about:

    * What’s really going on with the Defense?
    * What in the world is happening with Special Teams now? Are ST’s being addressed in practices? Who’s in charge……background…..anything?
    * What’s going on around the campus? After graduating a lot of us have moved on to other states and even other countries and rarely get back to Tallahassee. Would like to see a column about what’s going on with the campus and also what some of the students are up to and what they think.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Hey Steve,
      How’s life on the ditch? Are they still doing the Cayuga race?
      We plan to take the deep dive into the defense and the special teams play for sure. You’ll see many articles in the coming weeks that will address those questions. Your suggestion about what is going on around campus is a good one. I do think there is interest in campus stories from time to time. I think a video tour would be fun maybe with some current student-athletes sharing what students are up to and think. I would put this into the category of Osceola Experience where we are planning to promote campus tours on football weekends. So many of our alumni come back for a game, tailgate, and go home without having walked campus in 10 or 20 years.
      Jerry

  18. Zander Wahl Reply

    Congrats, Jerry. Looking forward to reading and following. Hope things are well.

    • Walter Grace Reply

      Jerry, your return brings back a flood of memories. The first is being in Bobby’s living room, where I met you and Steve and you told me about the coming Osceola. My recollection is that Buck (Bill Buchalter) was there that night. Welcome back !!

      • Jerry Kutz Reply

        Now you are going back. Miss Buck. Really enjoyed him and his passion for high school athletics and track and football in particular. See you soon.

    • John Mobley Reply

      Welcome back Jerry! Seems like only yesterday that I would stop by and talk with you, Daniel and John and get my latest Seminole fix. My how time flies! Doesn’t seem that long ago that we were playing BBall in Moore with Andy, David, you and Brian…..can’t wait to see your contribution again!

      • Jerry Kutz Reply

        It was yesterday, wasn’t it? Or was it this morning?
        Glad you are going to be joining. Your subscription will help me pay for what I believe is a quality staff of full time writers.
        It is funny to think that you, me, Andy Miller, David Coburn, Jamie Dukes, Mark Richt, Tom Carlson, Bill Shults and so many other FSU staff would play those pickup games on the basketball practice court of the Moore Center. What I remember is getting a lot of shots blocked, missed layups and that Jamie Dukes never fouled me even once. What a graceful guy he was.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      How have you been? Let’s check in. Thanks for your support?

  19. Rodney Hughes Reply

    Jerry….I am so glad you’re back. I will join your accumulated teams of professionals.

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