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WCPO's 'Sports of All Sorts' salutes John Popovich

Retiring Sports Director created show 39 years ago, and it's still going strong
Posted at 3:06 AM, Dec 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-23 10:26:30-05

CINCINNATI — WCPO Sports Director John Popovich is retiring this week after 40 years at the Cincinnati TV station, but the signature Sunday night show he created, "Sports Of All Sorts," will go on.

Popovich joined the show's new host, Reggie Wilson, on Sunday night to reminisce about the show he started 39 years ago.

Watch Part 1 of Popovich's farewell show in the video player above and watch Part 2 in the video player below.

Three of Popovich’s regular expert guests – former Bengals Dave Lapham, Jim Breech and Rodney Heath – discussed Popovich’s secrets to success in shaping the longest-running sports talk show on Cincinnati television. Popovich hosted the show for more than 33 years and it's still going strong.

"One thing I always respected about John Popovich's 'Sports Of All Sorts,' no matter what the situation, this guy was a pro's pro," Lapham said. "In the decade of the 90s, it was tough duty coming in and talking about a team that was struggling – I mean, really struggling, like this year's team, for an entire decade – and John Popovich approached it the same way every single 'Sports Of All Sorts' show."

Through the years, Reds managers, Bengals head coaches and assistants, and coaches from UC, Xavier and other area universities made it a point to appear on Popovich's show, even when it used to air live from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

"Popo is so selfless, and it was never about him," Breech said. "I think doing the shows live, you just never knew what you were going to get, and the way he handled it, it was so seamless. I knew there was crazy stuff going on."

"You'd get a [caller] who might be a little bit wasted or you could tell he was upset," Heath said, "and Popo would cut that call real quick – 'click' – and it was like, 'Oh, man, I didn't get a chance to answer,' and 'Nope, on to the next one.' He just kept his composure."

But as the title indicates, "Sports Of All Sorts" wasn't just about football, baseball and basketball, and it wasn't just about pros and colleges. Popovich's subjects and guests ran the gamut – from high schools to running to rugby to fishing, and more.

"He'd go out and do stories in the community and put everybody in a good light," Breech said. "Popo was always there with a great story."

WCPO will have more tributes to Popovich on air and online this week.