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Crimson Query with Gregg Doyel

New Indy Star sports columnist and former columnist Gregg Doyel answered some of our questions this morning via email. In the Q&A, Doyel dicusses his latest piece on Tom Crean, his transition from a national to a regional publication, and his brief but successful stint as an amateur boxer.

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1. Let's start by discussing yesterday's column about Tom Crean and IU basketball. I really enjoyed it and thought it was an appropriate take on the situation with the team. Was this one of the tougher columns you've had to write? And was your perspective shaped at all by having a college-aged son and knowing Coach Crean?

It wasn't tough at all really. I wrote it knowing I like Crean, and thinking he likes me, but that doesn't matter really. Guys I like are going to be the subject of this kind of column. Guys I don't will get hugs on occasion. Gotta be fair to the truth, not just to "people I like." My truth could be wrong, of course. I don't mean, my truth is RIGHT. But it's my truth. Gotta be fair to it.

My son in school softens me a little toward the IU players. I'm not just crushing them for drinking. I get it. But at the same time, man. Enough's enough. Without a kid of my own in college, maybe I'm throwing fire at every person who's ever had a drink on the IU team. And wouldn't that be stupid?

2. How much do you think Devin Davis's accident will affect IU's season going forward, in terms of the team's morale and camaraderie?

On the court, not much. I really don't think it will hurt the team, unless there are facts we don't know. Accident? Young players tend to rally around each other, not disintegrate, at times like this.

3. What are the biggest challenges as you now transition from a national to a regional publication, and what drew you to both the Star and Indianapolis? Will you be focusing on the Indy area for the Star or will you continue to have a national scope like you did with CBS?

I'm focusing solely on Indy, but every now and then a "national" story will speak to readers in Indy, and I'll address that when I can. But by and large, I'm the Indy Star's columnist and I'm writing for Indy readers, and I love that honor. No challenge at all, either. A good story is a good story, and I can find them around Indy just as easily as around Sheboygan or New York or anywhere else.

The Star's leadership blew me away with their passion and kindness, and the sports staff is an impressive group I wanted to join. The last two hires being Stephen Holder and Candace Buckner? Impressive. I want to join a staff moving in that direction. Two great hires. Plus I love Indiana, and Indianapolis. My kind of state and city and people. I'm going to fit right in here.

4. You wrote a feature in August on Dugger, Indiana, and how sports have helped to save both the school and the community. First of all, how'd you learn about this story? And can you give us an update on Dugger's progress since August?

A Dugger alum tweeted me about the plight of the school, and I was intrigued. I mean, who wouldn't be? An incredible story of perseverance and proud people standing up to "progress" and saying, "We're not going down. Not here." Sadly I have no update to give on Dugger. Wish I did.

5. Your CBS bio mentioned your brief but stellar career as an amateur boxer. Tell us a little more about this.

Ha! They were "smokers," not sanctioned amateur fights. A step above Tough Man competition. Or maybe a step below. All I know is, I fought four times in front of crowds with judges, and all four times I was older by 10 years or more (I was in my late 30s) and I was also smaller by 10 pounds or more. And I won all four (three knockouts!). I'm pretty good, for an aging amateur. I'll walk you down and take three shots to hit you with four. And my cardio beats your cardio. So does my craziness. It's about to go down when I get in the ring. All of which means, I'm not the smartest fighter ever. Smiley face.

6. Finally, since Crimson Quarry is a college athletics-focused site, we probably have a lot of students reading our site. What advice would you have for young aspiring journalists who might be reading this?

Read more than you're reading now. Write more than you're writing now, whether for the site or the school paper or a journal. Can't get stronger without getting on a bench and pressing. Can't write better without getting behind a keyboard and writing.

Also: be humble. You're not nearly as good as you think you are. Trust me. I was you in college, and I wasn't NEARLY as good as I thought I was. Almost every young writer I've ever worked with, and there have been (and are) a lot, all thought they were better than they are. It's just something we deal with, but it's something that sets all of us back, me included. Don't be me. Don't be everyone else. Be humble, because the world likes humility. Trust me on this.

And humbly speaking, I was 4-0 with three knockouts woohoo!!!!!!!

Thanks again, Gregg! We look forward to your work with the Star and appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions.