Before Vince Koza became a household radio name, he made his mark in Northwest Ohio as the face of WLIO sports. I couldn’t tell you just how many years Vince anchored the sports at TV 35, (others surely have those stats), but I know it was *a lot* of years, and for a few of those *a lot* of years, I shared the anchor desk with him. Vince was the prime time weeknight sports anchor and I was the prime time weeknight news anchor and producer.
Working as a late night TV anchor is an interesting job. With the exception of the newsroom and production room, the TV station is very quiet, since all of the daytime employees have long gone home.
Vince and I spent about 3 years together, on that quiet evening shift, and there were many portions of those nights when Vince and I were the only 2 people in the newsroom.
I’ll Never Forget…
I’ll never forget something he told me one of those nights.
Vince, without a doubt, loved sports. He loved people. He loved his job. He loved being able to share the exciting aspects of local hometown heroes over the TV screen. Vince was boisterous and fun to be around. But there was a deep introspective side of Vince too. One night, out of the blue, Vince said, “Jennifer, I have decided to get confirmed.”
For those of you unaware, the act of “confirmation” is a common practice in both the Catholic and Lutheran churches, as well as other denominations. I was confirmed as an 8th grader at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ft. Wayne, IN.
Vince was a grown adult, but was going to be confirmed with a group of children. He knew he would be the only grown man in the group, and he was definite of his decision. “I’m really wanting to focus on the more important things of life,” he went on to share with me.
If I recall the conversation correctly, he had been attending confirmation classes at his church and was really excited about taking this next step in his life. A week or so later, he did exactly what he told me he was going to do. He stood before his church, proclaimed his faith, and he was confirmed.
That happened around 20 years ago.
I left my career at WLIO at the end of 2001, and Vince retired from his position as Sports Director in 2007. In 2008 he moved into a successful sports radio career and continued to do what he loved and did so very well, showcasing the local high school heroes of Limaland sports.
The changes in our careers meant we no longer had those pop up conversations. In fact, I think I went years without even seeing Vince, though we still lived in the same town.
Then I Learned Something New About Vince
But then, in 2011 I returned to the TV world by taking a position at WTLW TV-44, and that’s when I started working with a new sports director: Andy Lynch.
Just like I will never forget the day that Vince told me he had decided to go through confirmation, I will also never forget the day that Andy told me he was attending a weekly Bible study with Vince and his wife, Holly. From what I understand, these Bible study meetings at the home of Pastor Doug & Debbie Boquist, were a highlight of Vince’s weeks.
Who knew Vince’s life was going to be cut so short? It was just 3 months ago he learned that his aches and pains and difficulty breathing were due to cancer. Despite a daunting prognosis, he went right into treatment with full desire. He was willing to deal with the prodding, the needle sticks, the infusions, and said yes to new treatment options. For Holly and their girls, I can’t begin to imagine the emotional roller coaster they have been on these past 3 months. Please write all three names- Holly, Brittany & Sarah- on your prayer list and remember to pray for them regularly.
But for Vince, he too walked a very tough path these past 3 months. In 24 hours he went from calling a football game to sitting in a hospital with a cancer diagnoses, and from that moment of diagnosis, his life was never ever the same.
Never Ever the Same
His life was never, ever the same until January 3, 4:55am, when it moved into another realm of never being the same.
Even the most exciting moment on this earth will never parallel what life is like in Heaven.
The Contemporary Christian Group Audio Adrenaline sings a song called “Big House.” Part of the lyrics are as follows:
Come and go with me, to my Father’s House
It’s a big big house, with lots and lots of room.
A big big table, with lots and lots of food.
A big big yard, where we can play football.
A big big house.
It’s my Father’s House.
Of course, we don’t really know if we will find football in Heaven, but we do know that whatever we find will be like nothing we have ever known on this earth.
It will be better.
2o Years Ago
20 years ago, Vince looked at his life and wanted to take a step in his faith and go through the act of confirmation. In recent years, he has made weekly Bible study a priority. He made these decisions, not knowing that he would enter eternity at the young age of 61. But it happened.
Someday we can reunite with Vince again. Sports truly are awesome, and I am so thankful for all Vince did for sports in this region, but I have a feeling that if Vince could talk to us now, he would say that Heaven knocks everything out of the park.
What a beautiful tribute about wrote about Vince!!
I was teaching the 8th grade the year Vince decided to become confirmed in his Catholic faith. I spoke to our kids about making that decision. They kids looked up to him and were impressed by his faith. And yes he was the only grown man in that class, but he decided to do it and he did.
My heart goes out to Holly, Brittaney and Sarah. You will all be in my prayers.
Thank you for this. Great Tribute!!
Thank you for sharing your touching memory Jennifer!