Regular readers of The Paducah Sun will recognize Fosko as the standard bearer of the Sun sports section for the last 20-plus years. He cemented himself as the go-to guy for high school sports coverage in the Jackson Purchase.
Fosko, 46, died early Monday morning after suffering a massive heart attack.
I met Joey for the first time in 2001 when I began writing for The Murray State News while working toward my journalism degree. In addition to high school coverage, Joey was also a fixture in the press box at Racer basketball and football games for many years.
I got to know Joey better, though, while I was working at the Marshall County Tribune-Courier, where my path and Joey’s often met. I was a newcomer to Marshall County, and Fosko’s perspective on 1st Region sports was invaluable to me.
In my time as general manager of The Cadiz Record, regular trips to the Sun office usually included a stop at Joey’s desk to talk about local sports and his recent battle with cancer, which he had won hands down.
Fosko’s coverage didn’t bring him to Trigg County all that often, but he was always highly aware of the state of Wildcat athletics and shared with me several memories of past Trigg athletes.
It’s odd to think of a local sports scene without Joey in it. Much like Trigg County’s resident sports encyclopedia Scott Brown, Fosko knew everything about Jackson Purchase-area sports and most everything about sports in the Commonwealth.
It’s a loss on many levels, first and foremost for his family and friends. But his absence will also be felt by the Sun’s readers and listeners of the various sports radio broadcasts he often joined, as well as his colleagues.
On a personal level, it’s heartbreaking. I knew Joey before he was diagnosed with cancer. I saw him not long after he had surgery and watched how it affected him.
His work never missed a beat, which is a testament to how much he loved his job. He was clearly born to cover high school sports.
I was inspired by the way he approached that battle. The last few times I saw him, it was almost impossible to detect that he’d ever had cancer or how difficult things were for him for a while.
And that, to me, it what makes this a real tragedy. He faced a foe, didn’t back down and came away from the experience a better man, only to have it all snatched away in an instant.
I don’t question God’s timing. If it was Joey’s time, so be it. But for now, that knowledge doesn’t make his passing hurt any less.
So long, Joey.
Justin McGill is general manager of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.