Goodbye, Flint; Salt Lake City, here I come

MLive-Flint Journal sports reporter Eric Woodyard stands by the J-Note statue outside of Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. (

Nervous. Excited. Confident.

As I entered the front doors of the Flint Journal building at 200 E. First St., emotions moved through my body every which way.

"Am I good enough?" my mind wondered as I entered the building a reporter for the first time Jan. 17, 2011.

I was fresh out of college, a 22-year-old who graduated from Western Michigan University not even a month before getting hired to write for my hometown newspaper.

Here we are, six years later, and as good as the ride has been, it’s time for me to accept another challenge in my life.

I’m pleased to announce I have accepted an offer as a Digital Sports Writer to cover the Utah Jazz for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Yes, Utah. Crazy, right?

This is truly a dream come true. I’ve always imagined covering an NBA team on a full-time basis and was willing to do whatever it took.

As ET The Hip Hop Preacher often says, "When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful."

I truly lived by those words and it’s gotten me to this next stage of my career.

For the past six years, I’ve worked as a Multimedia Sports Reporter for MLive.com and The Flint Journal.

I’ve found ways to becoming an award-winning reporter, give back to the community and lift spirits amid an ongoing water crisis, violence, depression and many of the other issues happening in my city.

MLive has helped me grow in more ways than you can imagine, and now I look forward to a new opportunity.

But I won’t forget where I’m from or what made me.

For those who follow my work, I’ve been blessed to develop some strong relationships in the community, which I will miss.

People like Norm Bryant, Judge Duncan Beagle, Jason Crutchfield, Courtney Hawkins, Mike Williams and Steve Schmidt are gems to the community. Leon Lawson Jr. is another good guy who will go to war with the world over his family and I’ll love to have him on my team any day.

I’ve witnessed Coach Williams build a dynasty at Beecher High School; Claressa Shields capture two Olympic gold medals and become a women’s boxing legend; Monte "Man-Man" Morris and Kyle Kuzma grow from baby-faced high school kids to NBA rookies; Anthony Dirrell beat cancer to become a world champion; and Miles Bridges emerge as an Michigan State basketball phenom.

I’ve chronicled so many other amazing journeys along the way that will inspire me forever.

Nothing can top that. Those memories will never fade.

I couldn’t make this jump without the support of my family so thank you for understanding. Your excitement is giving me courage to be the best I can be.

My advice to the community is to keep believing in yourself. We’re Flintstones so let’s continue to take pride in that.

I’m living proof that dreams do come true. I’m just a kid from Avenue B Street with failed dreams of reaching the NBA and now I’ll be writing about the league’s biggest stars for a living.

Thank you, Deseret News, for taking a chance on me because I won’t let you down. No matter where I go, or who I encounter, you can remember one thing: Flint made me.

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