Ed Whelan served as the light-hearted sportscaster for KOIN for 26 years, placing him in front of the camera for one of the most successful eras of Trail Blazers basketball. Whelan, who now goes by his given name, Wayland Boot, has been off the air for nearly 10 years, and is enjoying a new career path after years of hardship.
Following a sudden departure from KOIN in August of 2007, Boot struggled with depression and his finances while adjusting to life off of the air. That has all changed recently, however, as the 70-year-old is now happily employed as a dispatcher for a Portland-based towing company.
Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune sat down with Boot to discuss the changes that took place in the former sportscaster’s life in the decade after he left television.
Boot hasn’t lost his sense of humor when discussing the changes in workplace, and shared a few anecdotes with Eggers about re-entering the workforce after an extended absence.
"It's the first job I've held in 10 years," he says. "I feel like a convict who has been in prison and is getting back into the real world.
"When I left (KOIN), there were cords attached to the mouse on the computer. One day after I first started (at Gerlock), I was trying to move the mouse on the computer, and I was holding the stapler."
Humor aside, Boot is honest about what his new job has done for him emotionally.
"My outlook on life is so much better," says Boot, who will turn 70 in January. "My mom used to say you have to have an excuse to put your pants on in the morning, and it's so true. I just feel more useful. My spirits are up. I feel like the guy who was on television."
While his job title may have changed, Boot still keeps up with local sports, and he didn’t hold back when asked about the current Blazers squad.
"They remind me of a football team that can't run the ball. They can't stop anybody in the paint. As good as (Damian) Lillard and (CJ) McCollum are as players, there's not the connection with the community like there was during the Drexler era in the early '90s. Maybe that's because they're not winning as much. (Jusuf) Nurkic will make a difference to a point, but I don't see them getting to the NBA Finals without at least two more A-list players."
You can read more about Boot’s inspiring turnaround by checking out Eggers’ full article at the Portland Tribune.