Ken Burger, who joined The Post and Courier in 1984 and has served the newspaper as an award-winning Washington correspondent, executive sports editor and metro columnist, is retiring.

His final column will appear Sunday -- only in the newspaper's print edition.

"Ken's decision to retire is bittersweet for us at The Post and Courier," said Bill Hawkins, editor and publisher. "It is bitter because we lose a great columnist and colleague who has earned an enormous fan base among our readers. They will miss him.

"It is sweet because he gets to go out at the top of his game, as he wanted, with plenty of time to write books and travel. We wish him well."

A native of Allendale, Burger graduated from the University of Georgia. He worked for 10 years in Columbia before joining The Post and Courier. After returning to Charleston from Washington in 1988, Burger served as executive sports editor until 2008.

During this time he also wrote an award-winning sports column. In 2009, he began writing a metro column for the newspaper.

Burger, 61, was hailed as one of the country's best sports columnists three times by The Associated Press, and he also won numerous writing awards in South Carolina. In 1996, he was named the state's Journalist of the Year.

Burger published his first novel, "Swallow Savannah," in 2008, and his second novel, "Sister Santee," in 2010.

"I've enjoyed a great career as a newspaperman, which is what I wanted to be when I grew up," Burger said. "My small-town dreams of making a living as a writer actually came true.

"I am grateful to the many hard-working and dedicated reporters, editors and fellow employees at The Post and Courier for allowing me the privilege of helping them produce a daily newspaper. And, of course, our readers, without whom it is all for naught.

"Thanks, it's been a great ride."