Los Angeles sports writer and broadcaster Brad Pye Jr. will retire from the County of Los Angeles after 24 years of service.
A gala celebration is planned for April 16, at 6 p.m., at the Proud Bird Restaurant, 1102 Aviation Blvd. in Los Angeles, and tickets for the event which is open to the public are $45.
“I have had a great career with L.A. County, but as I used to say on the radio, it’s now time to enjoy some of those ‘pretty little green ones,’” said Pye.
Long known for his trailblazing news writing and broadcasting about the world of sports, especially his tireless efforts to publicize African American athletes, few are aware of Pye’s instrumental role in aiding thousands of residents as a top deputy to former County Supervisors Kenneth Hahn and Yvonne Braithwaite Burke as well as manager of the Health and Safety/Return to Work Section of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
His county career began in August 1987 as a deputy in Hahn’s second district. Promoted to assistant chief deputy within three short months, Pye became a spokesperson for Hahn, and said, “I was his voice in ensuring that constituents were treated fairly and each complaint resolved in a timely manner.”
Pye was also still connected to sports, and he arranged for Hahn to attend various events and recognize athletes for their accomplishments. “Both Kenny and I had a special interest in high school sports,” said Pye. “So, when a team won the championship, they were treated to lunch with Supervisor Hahn.”
Recalling one of his most memorable moments, he said, “It was when Morningside High won the championship and basketball great, Lisa Leslie, was the first female to score 110 points in a single game. Naturally, we invited her to have lunch with Kenny.”
As a sports journalist, Pye was instrumental in helping spotlight the achievements of African American athletes. He did so in his various newspaper columns as well as through his radio commentaries. Anyone who ever heard these broadcast reports is definitely familiar with his signature “switch reels” comment.
But his involvement did not stop with covering sports. He was instrumental in nurturing the careers of many budding sports writers, and even helped the legendary Jefferson High basketball star Bill “The Hill” McGill, get back on his feet after a homeless stint.
And early in his career (1968) according to Jet magazine, Pye became the first African American appointed to the Los Angeles City Parks and Recreation Commission.
In addition to all his other activities, Pye dabbled in politics on the front end by running for city council in Los Angeles in 1991 and two years later in Inglewood.
Pye worked briefly for Braithwaite Burke, when she replaced Hahn as Supervisor and was able to gain her support in creating the Aquatics Foundation, a free program that continues to exist today. It helps youth to pursue their passion for swimming.
In 1993, Pye transferred to DCFS as a division chief. In this capacity, he has served as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator, managed the Disaster Services Section and directed the Exams/Recruitment Section.
“In every assignment, I tried my best to implement procedures to improve life for employees, volunteers, the disabled and citizens of L.A. County,” Pye said.
As for the future, Pye said he’ll devote his time to two areas. “I plan to continue my passion of writing sports columns and enjoy my grandchildren.”
Brad Pye Jr., who previously served as sports editor for the L.A. Sentinel for 30 years, currently writes a sports column in the L.A. Watts Times and Inland Valley News newspapers. He also serves on the board of trustees at Brookins Community A.M.E. Church.
For information about his retirement celebration, call Tracy Jacobs at (213) 739-6426 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cora Jackson-Fossett contributed to this article.