Back in December 2002, I was compiling The News-Times All-County Football Team. When I came to tight end, I selected Augusta Christian's Matt Lane.
Lane had come out of nowhere. He went from being an unknown to averaging more than 24 yards per catch. For the season he caught 17 passes for 412 yards and scored four touchdowns, helping Augusta Christian post a 9-3 record in Bruce Lane's first season with the team.
Following his prep career, Lane was looking for a chance to continue playing ball and decided to walk on at junior college power Georgia Military. Coach Lane -- no relation -- tried to discourage Lane from heading to GMC, thinking he would have a better opportunity to play at a smaller program -- one not loaded with Division I talent like former Thomson and South Carolina standouts Casper and Jasper Brinkley, who had stellar careers in Milledgeville.
Still, Lane chose to make the move to Milledgeville, where he played with some amazing talent. In addition to the Brinkley brothers, he played with former Laney star J.K. Sabb and many others. He even worked his way into some time as a starter at tight end for GMC.
After his two-year stay at GMC, he walked on at Valdosta State to finish out his college career. While he was not an All American, or even all-conference in college, his playing experience was still extremely valuable. Lane soaked in all he could from the coaches he played for, like Bert Williams at GMC, a former Westside star.
At the time, Lane probably did not know he was preparing for his career. He was not going to be a pro football player, and he was not going into coaching. Instead, Lane decided to pursue a career talking about sports.
About two years ago, Lane came to the offices of Beasley Broadcasting, where I work, looking for a job. Just as I did 13 years before, Lane was willing to do anything the station needed to get his foot in the door.
I was unaware he had even been hired when I showed up for a remote broadcast to find him as my set-up person. We began talking football and instantly hit it off. He also impressed the management at Beasley with his willingness to work hard and learn the business.
Within a few months he was assisting me with my sports talk show, soaking in all he could about the broadcast industry. He even took a part-time job at one of the local television stations in order to learn that side of the medium.
In addition to serving as my co-host and producer of the CSRA Sports Hour (6 p.m. to 7 p.m. nightly on WRDW 1630 AM), Lane also fills in as producer for the Austin Rhodes Show and with traffic updates on WGAC 580 AM, and began helping out with a Saturday morning sports show.
When the opportunity recently presented itself, Lane took over the time slot as the host of his own weekly sports talk show. Beginning Jan. 8, listen in from 10 a.m. until noon for the Weekend Rundown with Matt Lane, presented by Sports Medicine Associates of Augusta. The first hour of the show will have a heavy local focus, with an emphasis on area high schools and colleges. The second hour will have more of a regional and national feel.
I know firsthand how much time and dedication Lane has put into this, so tune in Saturdays in 2011.
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