By: Colin Dunlap

Jim Colony is going to hate this column.

And I don’t care. Not one bit.

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I kind of like it that way.

You see, my friend and co-worker Jim Colony turns 60 today.

He hates attention, downright despises any clamor or commotion made about him.

Too bad, Jim.

I’m going to make a bit of a fuss.

Because you deserve it, because too many people only know the Jim Colony they hear coming through their speakers when they tune into 93.7 The Fan.

What you might not know — or maybe just have a brief glimpse into — is the dedicated friend, family man and professional Jim Colony is and has been.

No, too many of you probably just know that guy with the identifiable chuckle, sometimes feisty temper yet an incredible ability to laugh at himself who came rolling into our town — and onto our airwaves — in the early 1990s.

To know only that guy is an incredible disservice.

It isn’t hyperbole to say that I don’t know if I have seen a person still smitten, after all these years, the way Jim is when he talks about — and interacts with — his beloved wife, Linda.

It’s real, it’s authentic and it’s 100 percent genuine when Jim speaks of his steadfast adoration he has for his college sweetheart who he met at one of his other loves, The University of New Hampshire.

Jim’s affection for his two boys, Chris and Pat, is also something to behold — and something that has shaped me as a parent. Jim doesn’t know this (until now) but I’ve taken a ton of tips from him on how to raise my own kids after extracting snippets of conversations with him on how he handled a situation with one of his sons.

Then there is Jim’s other love … his job.

From just after 3 a.m. when he rises on most days until his duties are finished in one of the local teams’ locker rooms in the afternoon, Jim goes about caring for his craft unlike most I have seen.

If he ever-so-slightly flubs a sports update, as soon as it’s over it’s not uncommon for Jim to loudly proclaim — once the microphones have cut off — that “I SUCK!” in that booming Jim voice.

Point of order here, Jim doesn’t suck. He’s brilliant at what he does.

If there’s a player who spoke in a locker room and Jim didn’t happen to get audio of him because he was interviewing a different player, Jim apologizes for not being in two places at once.

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If he doesn’t work far more than the requisite or only gives about 175 percent, Jim apologizes.

What am I illustrating here? Jim cares about his craft. He cares about what comes through those speakers. He cares about the product, his reputation, the quality of everything he puts his name to and, perhaps most, he cares so damn much about the listeners.

In a time when far too many people who break into journalism are looking to cut corners, Jim refuses to ever take a shortcut.

To be truthful, I admire the heck out of him for his drive and determination.

I also admire his knowledge.

See, Jim is a well-read history buff. A man who would sit for hours and discuss the merits of James Monroe or how Alexander Hamilton helped shape this country with his involvement in the Federalist papers. What am I getting at here? He’s someone who possesses a much greater depth than just being able to tell you the particulars of how the Pirates beat the Brewers the night prior with a bunch of runs in the fifth.

Jim Colony has interviewed Super Bowl champions, men who have lifted the Stanley Cup, those who have pushed the baseball team in town to new heights, heavyweights in sports team boardrooms and just about everyone else who has ever made any semblance of an imprint on the Pittsburgh sports scene over the past quarter-century or so.

All the while, Jim has done it with his special brand of wit that comes tinged with a hilarious wry edginess but never strayed from a professionalism that has forced athletes, coaches, managers and front office people to unyieldingly trust him.

And like him. Not just like him, love him.

That’s what probably stands out most about my co-worker — and a man I’m lucky enough to know not just when he speaks into a microphone  — is that whenever his name is brought up in the company of just about anyone in the Pittsburgh sports scene, the responses are predictable.

You get an, “oh Jim, what a great guy.”

Or, “Man, Jim is hilarious.”

Sometimes some form of, “Jim operates to the beat of his own drummer, but I really like the guy.”

I really like the guy too.

I’d never tell him to his face because he’d tell me stop with the silliness, so I will do it here: I really admire Jim’s work ethic, the reputation he has formed and the general way he’s gone about doing his business in this, his adopted hometown of Pittsburgh, for the past 25 years or so.

I think I speak for many when I say, “Have a Happy 60th Birthday, Jim Colony.”

Even as I’m certain he will hate this tribute to him.

Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at colin.dunlap@cbsradio.com. Check out his bio here.

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