A newspaper legend has passed away, so today I turn the post over to his old colleagues Tom Cornelison, Jedwin Smith, Darrell Simmons and Tom Whitfield:
Frank Hyland was one of a kind, blessed with unique storytelling skills (written and verbal) and a knack for getting things done.
A native of St. Cloud, Minnesota, he arrived at the Journal, Atlanta’s afternoon paper, in 1968. At first he was a sportswriter, covering pro soccer, the Hawks and Falcons before moving to the Braves. Along the way he also covered Ted Turner’s victory in the America’s Cup.
When Turner bought the Braves, the team was terrible. But his promotional stunts were legendary, including an ostrich race with media representatives as the jockeys. Frank won despite falling off the beast twice and hurting his back.
By the 1980s, Frank had moved full time to desk work, “inside” they called it. On Saturday nights, he ran the copy desk for the massive sports section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which at the time covered every college football game in the South.
In the waning years of the Journal, Frank was part of a small team that handled the entire paper. When disaster struck on the morning of 9/11, he wrote a fine story on deadline. As wire editor, he diligently kept up with overnight developments from the wars that followed.
Soon the Journal was gone and so was Frank as he retired to spend more time with his wife Maxine and daughters Tracy and Shannon. He moved into editing books (including an acclaimed coffee table work on Elvis Presley), played more golf and found new adventures.
Frank was always up for adventure — multiple trips to Ireland, hunting and fishing back in his native Minnesota, a local access cable TV show watched by almost no one, and briefly owning a bar.
Every Saturday night when the paper was put to bed, Frank would rise from his chair, stretch and say, “Guess we’ve done all the damage we can do here.”
And so have we.
R.I.P. Frank. Your legend lives on.