Over the past 23 years, Defender readers have stayed abreast of high school sports through the reporting and photos of Darrell K. Ardison. In addition, Ardison is featured on “Gimme a Minute,” the Defender’s sports video series.

Ardison has retired as high school sports editor. Here, friends and colleagues pay tribute to him:

Ray Carrington III, “Gimme a Minute” photographer & Yates High School instructor – “It’s not often you can work with someone who is as professional as Darrell who still has the personality of humbleness. That’s Darrell! It’s like going to work with your best friend and at the same time knowing he’s coming with his best. For more than four years, it has been my pleasure to work with him doing something unique and trend-setting. I’m proud just to know him as it makes me produce more each and every time. He is always open to the approach “we” should take and always asks what I think of the game, the coach and the team.”

Max Edison, Defender pro & college sports editor – “I’ve known Darrell for over 30 years dating back to his time as a sports writer for the Houston Post. He has consistently been one of the foremost authorities on high school sports in the greater Houston area. Darrell has always been passionate in his approach to covering sports, especially in those urban areas where young folks’ positive exploits are often overlooked. I’ve enjoyed working side by side with my good friend for the past 15 or so years, despite him being a Southern University alum. They don’t make them like D.A. anymore! Best wishes partner.

Michael Hurd, author; former sports reporter; director, PVAMU Texas Institute for Preservation of History & Culture– “Darrell has been the consummate professional as a reporter and is just a great guy, in general. I’ve known him since the 1980s at the Houston Post so I had an opportunity to observe up close the start of his career and I’ve followed his progress since. He’s done a fantastic job covering the area’s high school sports with great knowledge, insight and depth, especially where the traditional Black community schools and their athletes and coaches are concerned. Congrats to him on a career well done.”

Sonny Messiah-Jiles, Defender publisher & CEO– “Darrell has been cherished member of our Defender family. He is thorough, dependable, a gifted writer and an editor’s dream. He never missed a deadline and submitted his copy and photos before they were due. Darrell enjoys working with young people and viewed high school sports as a calling, not just a job. Darrell interviewed hundreds of student-athletes and coaches who were excited to see themselves in the Defender. He traveled the city and state covering football, volleyball, basketball, track, softball and baseball. We will miss Darrell. Simply put, he is irreplaceable.

Daryl Wade, director, Houston Astros Youth Academy; former HISD & Aldine ISD athletic director; former coach– “I met Darrell right after college when I was a young coach at Nimitz High School and playing semi-pro baseball in the Houston City Baseball League. One of his college teammates was on the team and Darrell came out to watch games on occasion and we just hit it off as friends. In 2002, I became the athletic director in Aldine ISD and was the first African- American to have that position and he came out and did a story about me. Darrell’s personality made me feel he was prouder that I had received the position than I was (lol). It seems like whenever there was a big sporting event in Aldine ISD whether it was football, basketball, track, boys or girls sports he was there to cover it. He made sure the kids were being covered and that was very important to me.

“For several years Darrell would ask me to consider coming to HISD as the AD. In 2007, I became the AD in HISD and again I felt Darrell was as proud as I was to be coming to HISD. As I think about it now, he perhaps could have been the reason I was noticed as an AD in the Houston area and for that I am very thankful. There were times I felt coaches and other ADs were not giving him the opportunity to visit with them. I would always make myself and our kids available to him because I knew Darrell would write positive articles and cared about the fact that he was proud to give me, our student athletes and coaches of color an opportunity to be spotlighted when other journalists would not. The Houston sports community and all the schools in the area will truly miss his work and I am proud call him my friend.”