Today Detroit wrapped one of their own in their arms and embraced him for his work in the paper, the community and as a human being. It was a perfect example of the feelings that Detroiters have for one another, even though at times we aren't always given credit for the caring soul of our city.
Killer's death was heartbreaking but what makes you want to cry even more is the sincere compassion of his collegues, competitors and fans. Today I heard genuine compassion for a guy that most don't even know personally. It is a tribute to Tom that so many fans loved him. It isn't easy to win the fans over in this day and age, but I think Lion fans really connected with Tom's passion for the Lions and their fans. Unlike a lot of us, he didn't lose his cool with fans, he keep it real and he kept his cool, even when he was annoyed.
The response and fallout from Killer's passing has been heartwarming and a great source of pride for a displaced Detroit sports fan. If you would of asked me this morning who's death in the media would have elicited this type of response, I think Killer would have been at the top of the list, but it was bigger than I could have ever expected.
WDFN gave Tom his start on the radio, thanks to a recommendation from his co-worker at The Oakland Press, Pat Caputo. I signed Tom up and quickly realized he was a hit. I know he was frustrated with me because I never offered him a show, but there was never an opening that I thought was right for him. Maybe I typecast him as a "football guy" and for that I am forever wrong.
He was funny however, every year when it came time to negotiate a new "insider" contract he would push really hard for more money. I knew he was offered more money from other stations, but I just didn't have any extra money in the budget for him....he always stayed....because he loved WDFN and the fans. We had a good laugh every year at negotiation time, he'd bust my balls and I'd laugh and tell him he loved the radio station too much to leave. Luckily I was right and Killer NEVER left.
The outpouring of love and respect for Killer today was the sum total of his life's work and he would be proud of that! I'm proud of the Motor City today.
Rest in peace Tom. You did great work while you were here and we will miss you!
Please leave your comments....I'd love to hear your thoughts on Killer!!!