I was an intern working under Josh Chapin and Myyon Barnes when I came back from watching a Centerville High School boys basketball game.
“How was your game?” Myyon asked.
“It was pretty good. Matt Schauss scored like 25, he’s pretty good,” I said.
It was either late 2010 or early 2011 and I was just getting my feet wet in what would turn out to be my profession after graduating from Earlham College that May.
“He’s a heck of an athlete,” Myyon responded, then sat down to type away as he always did, working on his own game story.
It was a short conversation. But Myyon always had a good eye for talent.
Looking back, it was a special moment that we shared. Myyon, a longtime sports reporter in Richmond, died later that basketball season and since that summer has been honored by our annual Myyon A. Barnes Palladium-Item Athlete of the Year award.
People continue to remember and ask about Myyon.
“Myyon was an individual that I really appreciated working with,” said Richmond football coach Matt Holeva, who was at Centerville at the time. “He was a great guy, he hustled and obviously as a reporter did a great job.
“What I remember most about Myyon was what he meant, at least in my situation, for football in our area. He did a great job in coverage of football in our community.”
It’s been five years, meaning that the first year’s finalists for the annual award are either wrapping up college careers, or getting ready to enter a career.
Schauss, one of the first finalists for the award in 2011, was back in Wayne County last week as he and older brother Drew Schauss hosted the Bethel College Skills Academy at Centerville High School.
“I remember after games, Myyon would come up and say, ‘Hey can I talk to you?’ He was always into it, always knew what he was talking about, was always great at what he did, and he loved it, he was passionate about it,” Schauss said. “So it was always great to talk to him, because he knew a lot – he knew more about the game than I did.”
Schauss recently graduated Bethel College as the Crossroads League Male Student-Athlete of the Year, the Crossroads League Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, a First Team All-Crossroads League selection, a four-time Crossroads League Player of the Week, the NAIA DII National Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, NAIA First Team All-American and NCCAA First Team All-American.
Myyon would be proud — and Schauss isn’t the only one to go one with collegiate success.
National Trail’s Kate Yeazel was the inaugural winner and went on to play volleyball at Pitt; Kim Demmings was also a finalist and has become one of the top women’s college basketball players in the nation by playing at Wright State University.
T. J. Schienbein went on to be a distance runner at Purdue University, while Cole Bartlett in 2013 and Michelle McKinney in 2014 also won the top award.
And with this year’s pool of talent, it only gets better.
Starting Tuesday, the first of six Myyon A. Barnes Athlete of the Year finalists will be revealed for the 2015 edition.
It’s been a great four years of team and individual success with historic runs from teams in Wayne, Union, Randolph, Darke and Preble Counties.
It’s paid off with Division I athletic scholarships, Tri-Eastern and North Central Conference championships, and even a few state titles.
“It was a great honor to be a finalist for that award, and it meant a lot to me, and I’m sure it meant a lot to everyone else who gets it,” Schauss said.
• 2011: Kate Yeazel, National Trail
• 2012: T.J. Schienbein, Union County
• 2013: Cole Bartlett, Hagerstown
• 2014: Michelle McKinney, Eaton