One of the most popular and recognizable sports writers in Alabama, Al Burleson recently retired after more than 30 years with The Huntsville Times, where he held the title of assistant sports editor. Now a freelance writer, he still writes a weekly golf column for The Times. Burleson, the son of William and Margaret Burleson, was born September 8, 1940, in Decatur. He is a 1958 graduate of Athens High School and holds a bachelors degree from Florence State (now the University of North Alabama). In college, he was a member of Florence States varsity golf team and was named to a spot on the All-Alabama Collegiate Conference team. During his newspaper career, Burleson worked at the Decatur Daily (1964-65) and the Huntsville News (1 965-66) before returning to Florence as the universitys sports information director. He moved to Huntsville in 1972 to join the sports staff of The Times, where he covered the entire spectrum of sports, ranging from college and pro football to college basketball to the national horseshoe championships. Burleson won a number of writing awards in a variety of sports from The Associated Press and the Alabama Sports Writers Association (an organization which he served as president from 1968-88). But he is probably best known for his coverage of golf, a sport that he and his brother, Jim, learned from his father, W.S. Bill Burleson, a longtime golf professional in North Alabama. My dad had the greatest impact on my career, Burleson said. He introduced me to baseball, football, basketball and what I regard as the greatest sport of all, golf. The knowledge I gathered early helped me in my chosen profession. Plus, my dad taught me to appreciate good, clean competition and to always try to be a gentleman. Now, both Al Burleson and his father are hall of famers; Bill Burleson was inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame three years ago.