My name is Bruce Smith. This funny-looking guy on the right is me. I have lived in Utah for almost 20 years. I am a former newspaper sports writer, and I've also spent time working in the travel business. I look at myself these days as an entrepreneur.
Years ago, I worked as a prep writer for the Salt Lake Tribune. I left the business when I got married because I discovered that being a sports writer and being married didn't work. That was 1995, and my life has changed a bit since. Last year, I started working on a part-time basis, helping covering prep sports for the Deseret News, and I really enjoyed it. My goal here is to be able to do something I really enjoy, and provide a product to the players, fans, media and scouts that makes them more knowledgeable.
The idea of "Matchup" started in Fall 2007, shortly after I began working as a part-time sportswriter for the Deseret News, covering high school football.
I noticed that at about half the games I attended, the schools couldn't provide basic rosters. I thought that was kind of strange, especially since most of the games I attended were big schools, with at least 2,000 fans attending.
I approached various athletic directors and it became apparent that a game program, or even rosters, was not a prority, so I thought I could help.
I spoke to a friend, Steve Wells at Action Printing in Murray, and we came up with an idea to provide programs. I contacted Jim Wall, the publisher of the Deseret News, and he quickly jumped aboard. So did KJZZ and Morris-Murdock Travel, and they became the primary sponsors. I contacted more athletic directors and six schools - Cottonwood, Olympus, Judge Memorial, Highland, Hunter and Granger - offered the programs to their fans for 2007-08 basketball season.
The programs were a big hit, and every school I contacted after that - now at 24 - came aboard. Now, we provide programs for almost all the high schools that offer football in the Salt Lake City area, as well as Tooele and Grantsville.
We could have got more schools involved. But right now, I felt 24 was enough. We'll see how it goes.