Tarleton State University's "Sports Doctor" Dr. Ron Newsome Passes Away

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STEPHENVILLE, Texas—The Tarleton State University community is mourning today after the death of Dr. Ron Newsome, affectionately known by many as the “Sports Doctor” and voice of Tarleton sports for 15 years. Newsome, 68, was found dead in his home April 17.

“Dr. Ron Newsome’s career at Tarleton spanned almost 30 years. He was a man of many talents and lived his life serving others,” said university President F. Dominic Dottavio. “From faculty member, coach and athletic director to play by play announcer, ‘Doc Newsome’ was always a consummate professional. I enjoyed the privilege of speaking with him on many occasions and each time he would express encouraging words about Tarleton and its bright future. The entire Tarleton family is saddened by the passing of Ron and extends its deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”

A native of Pittsburg, Texas, Newsome graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 1961. He enrolled at East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University-Commerce, where he eventually earned bachelor’s, master’s and a doctoral degree in education. Upon completing his bachelor’s degree, Newsome coached at the high school level for five years with stints at Bells, Round Rock and Huffman public schools.

He also was an assistant coach at Arkansas Tech, Ouachita Baptist and Southeastern Oklahoma before accepting a head coaching position at Western New Mexico. Prior to joining the ranks at Tarleton’s football program, he also worked at the University of Houston’s athletic department as academic coordinator.

In 1983, Newsome joined the faculty of the Department of Health and Physical Education at Tarleton as an assistant football coach and instructor. In August 2008, he retired as professor and adviser to the kinesiology department’s graduate students.

From 1983-86, Newsome served as defensive coordinator under head coach Bobby Fox with the Texan football squad before devoting full-time to teaching in the Department of Health and Physical Education.

In 1987, then-President Barry B. Thompson named Newsome as assistant athletic director—a position he held until the following year. Upon Dr. Joe Gillespie’s reassignment from athletic director in 1988, Newsome was named head of Tarleton’s athletics program—a position he held until 1993 when he stepped down to return to the classroom full-time.

An avid golfer, Newsome returned to teaching after his retirement and had served as an adjunct golf instructor for the Kinesiology Department.

“The Sports Doctor” remained connected to the university after his retirement and served as a familiar voice to Tarleton Texan and TexAnn sports fans who tuned into both radio and streaming online broadcasts provided by the Tarleton Athletics Radio Network and KSTV 93.1 FM.

Newsome logged thousands of miles traveling with the university’s football and basketball teams, and witnessed some of the athletic program’s most memorable moments as he provided play-by-play recounts of contests, including Tarleton’s trip to the 2001 NCAA football quarterfinals, the 2005 and 2006 Elite Eight basketball tournaments, and the 64-yard field goal kicked by Garrett Lindholm, which forced overtime in the Texans’ first-round playoff game at Texas A&M-Kingsville in 2009.

Through the years, Newsome gave much time and energy to the Texan Club, serving as its executive director and primary fundraiser for several years. His devotion to Tarleton athletics was formally recognized in 2003 with the presentation of the President’s All-Purple Award by then-President Dr. Dennis McCabe.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend Dr. Ron Newsome. I have known Ron for over 30 years, both as a colleague and friend,” said Lonn Reisman, Tarleton’s head men’s basketball coach and director of athletics. “In addition to his family, he loved students, sports and Tarleton. He was a kind and generous person. I will truly miss him and I know he will be missed by many, many others.”

Rusty Jergins, vice president of student life, expressed condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Newsome and said the staff of the university’s Counseling Center will be available to anyone grieving the loss. The counseling center is located in Room 212 of the Thompson Student Center, or by calling 254-968-9044 to make an appointment. There is no cost.

Memorial services for Newsome are pending.

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