Voice of Otahkians, Jackson plans his return home to Memphis

Thursday, October 2, 2003

By JamieHall ~ Southeast Missourian

Jeff Brightwell introduced Cape Girardeau radio listeners to boys soccer, a new women's college basketball coach and --according to his Missouri Broadcasters Association peers -- award-winning coverage of sports at Southeast Missouri State University and area high schools.

You'll have less than a month to hear his voice locally.

Brightwell has taken a job as the broadcaster of baseball and women's basketball at the University of Memphis, where he graduated in 1996. He will leave his position as news and sports director at Withers Broadcasting's five Cape Girardeau stations later this month.

"Any broadcaster would love to work at his alma mater," he said Wednesday. "It was hard to turn down. Hopefully it would put me in position to eventually handle the football and men's basketball too, so it's a good situation for me."

Brightwell's voice has accompanied area high school football, high school soccer and Southeast Missouri State University women's basketball for three years. The stretch has provided its share of high spots, particularly a change in coaches and added excitement in Southeast's women's program. After Ed Arnzen retired in early 2002, B.J. Smith took his place and led the team to its first Ohio Valley Conference championship game.

"I'll miss the Otahkians the most, and I have a feeling I'm passing up a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament with the women's team this season," said Brightwell, 31. "I love working with coach Smith, but I couldn't pass this up."

Brightwell was the 2002 Sportscaster of the Year, an award given by the Missouri Broadcasters Association. Among other highlights in three years was the company's first broadcast of Central High School boys soccer, which Brightwell helped coordinate.

He said his final assignment for Withers Broadcasting will be the play-by-play of Jackson's Oct. 17 football game against Poplar Bluff. His replacement has not yet been announced.

Wiffleballers unite this weekend in Cape Girardeau

The seventh edition of the Wiffleball World Series is planned for this weekend in Cape Girardeau. Twelve teams from Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois are entered. Proceeds will go to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

For information, contact Jeff Augustine (587-2083, 335-7945).

Corporate competition heats up, winds down

Procter & Gamble Blue, Hutson Furniture's Movers and Yellow Book USA all have a share of division leads halfway through the first annual Corporate Games.

The Olympic-style event sponsored by the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department began Sunday and ends Friday. In between is competition ranging from darts to golf to trivia at several locations. Teams earn points based on their finish in each event.

Before Wednesday's events, P&G Blue led the four-team Division I with 270 points, 20 ahead of Rubbermaid and P&G Green. Blue Cross/Blue Shield is fourth with 180.

Hutson Furniture Movers and Yellow Book USA are tied with 250 points for the Division II lead. MedAssets and Bob Evans are next with 230 points apiece.

Competition continues today with trivia, sand volleyball and racquetball, and ends Friday with softball and closing ceremonies.

Looking a week ahead to a worthwhile bicycle ride

Entries are in from cyclists in Nebraska, Michigan and more than 50 towns in Missouri for the Tour de Cape, a casual bicycle ride Oct. 11.

More than 225 riders have entered so far, and event chair Jan Gerard expects as many as 400 for the event. The ride will feature four lengths --100 miles, 62 miles, 30 miles or 15 miles -- and each one will depart from downtown CapeGirardeau. Proceeds help support The Mississippi Valley Therapeutic Horsemanship, a program that uses horses to provide therapy to children.

Entries still are being taken for the event. Call Gerard at 335-7366 or e-mail tourdecape@bicycling.com

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