When the news broke that WRAL-TV Sports Anchor Tom Suiter was bringing his retirement full circle, stepping down from “Football Friday” and the “Extra Effort Award,” CBC’ers took to social media to laud the beloved sports guru. Although Suiter formally retired in 2008, WRAL-TV couldn’t let him completely leave. Suiter has been continuing to host “Football Friday” each fall and presenting the “Extra Effort Award.”
Here’s what his WRAL-TV colleagues have been saying:
Kelly Riner, WRAL-TV Assignment Editor
After 45 years, Tom Suiter is officially retiring. My amazing mentor, my forever friend, and the kindest man in the business has anchored his final Football Friday and given his last Extra Effort Award. He’s made an impact far beyond the WRAL newsroom through the young people he’s helped, the student athletes he’s profiled, and all of the random acts of kindness he’s shown to everyone who crosses his path. His chocolate chip cookies are the best, his random performances of Broadway songs are the highlight of any day, his nicknames stick forever, and his dedication to excellence is contagious. I know I speak for everyone you’ve helped along the way, Tom…enjoy retirement, and we hope to make you proud!
NOTE: Check out Nick Stevens’ (above photo) thoughts in an article he penned for HighSchoolOT.com: There’s only one Tom Suiter
Chad Flowers, WRAL-TV News Photographer
After 45 years of work at WRAL-TV….. My friend and mentor Tom Suiter is signing off for the last time. Tom is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and the most loyal friend ever. I got my start in television with the help of Steve Purvis and Tom. Tom gave me my first job in TV and it’s been all downhill since. LOL. ;). I hope you’ll join me in saluting Tom on a remarkable career and being an amazing friend. :). SALUTE.
Jay Jennings, WRAL-TV Documentary Photographer
After 45 amazing years, Tom Suiter hangs up the mic. I’m honored to call this legend, my friend. Thanks for all you did for so very many, Tom. Including me.
Julia Sims, WRAL-TV Reporter
There are some people who, without even trying, make a huge impact on your life. Sports anchor Tom Suiter has been one of those people. He took me in more than 20 years ago and made me feel like I really belonged in the newsroom. He was there through the tears and the rants in the early years of my career. When I was told I’d never be a reporter at WRAL- it was Tom who told me not to listen to the naysayers. He’s encouraged me and supported me and made me laugh for all these years. (heck- no one else calls me “Julia Andrews Lewis Sims Milstead”)
And the amazing thing- he encouraged dozens of folks just like me.
Thanks Tom… and after 45 years of lighting up the airwaves, enjoy your retirement. You deserve it.
Jennifer Joyner, WRAL-TV Assignment Editor
He sent me flowers when my dad died. He knew every single person’s name in the newsroom, from anchors to interns. He put so much heart into his work, it made you want to be better. I don’t know how to do WRAL without Tom Suiter, but I do know I will never, ever forget the generosity of his spirit. Love you, Tom. Happy Retirement.
Amanda Lamb, WRAL-TV Reporter
Such a truly great guy. Very smart, funny and gracious. I will miss him!
Benn Page, WRAL-TV ENG Editor
There are Sportscasters, and then there is Tom Suiter. A true Legend.
Phillip Boyd, former WRAL-TV staffer
Another influential person in my television career is hanging them up. Tom is always willing to listen and give you great guidance. Before I even started working at WRAL-TV he took time out of his schedule to talk to me about my sports broadcasting aspirations. Even after I decided to curtail my broadcasting dream for IT he would always want to know how I was doing. Then when I had a family he would always ask about them. When I left WRAL and came back to visit he would always sit down to talk…and we would talk for over an hour. He always had the best stories and anecdotes.
God bless Tom Suiter and I pray he finally gets time to relax and heal that Achilles. ha ha hah
WRAL-TV Reporter Tara Lynn
I don’t get to see Tom too much in the newsroom but when I do, he is always a joy! I will always be grateful for him introducing me to the movie “Hachi.” Tom always made sure to tell everybody to watch the movie and loaned out his DVD to everyone in the newsroom. I think the movie’s lesson of love and loyalty are a perfect example of why Tom is so loved and will be missed so much! Happy retirement!
Catherine Guy, former WRAL-TV staffer
Two very very special people in my life! I can still count on them to this day. WRAL will not be the same without you Tom!
Terri Overby, former FOX 50 staffer
Awwww love me some Tom! He has always been the nicest guy to me, and that goes all the way back pre-TV station to when I was a teen.
Bob Holliday, WRAL-TV retiree
Tom Suiter presented his Extra Effort Award 1000 times over 35 years. In 2008, on the occasion of his last 6pm show, we recognized Tom for his years of “Extra Effort.” Tom also received the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award that same night. This was a proud moment for all of us who have worked with Tom. He has continued to host “Football Friday” and recognize more outstanding student athletes with the E.E. for the past eight years, but now he has decided to retire. Tom, we will miss you, and we wish you all the best!
- Read the capcom story with pieces by Nick Stevens and WRAL-TV Sports Anchor Jeff Gravley for more about Tom Suiter, his legendary career, and the traits that endeared him to his viewers and co-workers: Tom Suiter Bids a Final Farewell to WRAL
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Kelly Riner, WRAL-TV’s Julia Sims and Catherine Guy for these capcom photos.