Mark S. McDonald
McDonald and his Dust Devil Books publishing team cherry-pick one or two projects a year, typically memoirs or non-fiction generously drizzled with sports or history. Sometimes both, as in the case of Dizzy – Dean of Baseball & My Podnah, a journey through a simpler, sweeter America of yesteryear. In a memorable collection of period photos, and first-person observations by his producer Gene Kirby, pitcher Dizzy Dean emerged from the Great Depression era to build a Hall of Fame career, then joked his way to even greater heights in broadcasting – laughing all the way. Dizzy was America’s quipster, at a time when the nation needed a laugh.
In 2018, McDonald and his team is due to release Honor & Pride – The Arkansas-Texas Shootout, a fond look back at the monumental 1969 football and culture clash between two national powers. The players that fateful day somehow ignored the social chaos — race riots, assassinations, draft card burnings, Vietnam, peace rallies and President Richard Nixon sitting in the stands. In the decades since, McDonald and his collaborator, Mike Looney, who produced a companion video, traced the lives of damaged men who have overcome their hate and prejudices to find the higher ground of faith, self-esteem and mutual respect.
The study is McDonald’s ninth non-fiction project, following Dizzy and the 2016 release entitled They Gave Us Baseball – Now Look at What We’ve Done. This cautionary tale serves as a road map for parents and youth coaches who hope to salvage their sanity while mentoring young athletes.
A Kansas native, McDonald reached Texas soon after he was potty-trained, growing up in Spring Branch, then a peaceful suburb outside Houston, now virtually inner city. He attended Roswell (N.M.) High, graduated from Midland Lee where he lettered in football, baseball and spit-wad delivery. He is a journalism graduate of Oxford on the Interstate (University of Texas at El Paso – UTEP) where he started two years for the Miners football team.
The author survived starvation while variously working in newsrooms of Texas dailies – El Paso Times, Abilene Reporter-News, Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald (R.I.P.) and San Antonio Express-News. His writing won numerous state, regional and national awards for stories ranging from the endangered whooping crane to the Jack Nicklaus family of golf fame.
McDonald has hosted a call-in talk show on KRLD radio in Dallas, scripted radio features for WOAI in San Antonio. Over the years, he was a frequent guest on hunting and fishing shows on cable television networks. He is past president of the Texas Outdoor Writers Association. For six years in the early 2000s, McDonald was editor, then later publisher, of Texas Sporting Journal, a four-color bi-monthly that formerly won statewide awards for editorial excellence. (R.I.P. for that one, too.)
In more recent years, McDonald has worked in marketing for an engineering firm, where he handled the company branding, and fostered public outreach with stakeholders in New Mexico and West Texas. He produces an unauthorized, Pulitzer Prize-losing newsletter on UTEP football called Miners Are Forever. While serving as president of the non-profit Permian Basin Bookies authors support group, he edits the organization newsletter The First Draft and is the managing editor of the group’s anthology, West Texas Lore & Legend. The collection is produced for the benefit of the West Texas Recording Library, where volunteers read to the blind and disabled.
McDonald lives in Midland with the former Susan Lee Porter and their three spoiled dogs. The couple has two sons in the oil/gas industry – Turk (Mark Jr.) and RobRoy – also of TallTown. The author enjoys hunting, light-tackle fishing, growing drought-resistant plants and making burnt offerings at his backyard grill.
As he pursues his next writing/editing project, McDonald enjoys stories told around mesquite campfires that can be seen from the moon. He was a long-time volunteer coach in youth sports and, to his sheer disgust, still plays bogey golf – on a good day.