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Dan Wetzel takes us into the gray netherworld of sports, where some writers aren’t willing to tread. We discuss how his experiences covering college basketball and AAU taught him to look beyond cliches. Hear about characters such as Sonny Vaccaro, Jerry Tarkanian and others who were easily cast into roles for a simple narrative. Dan puts us in the media room when John Chaney threatened to kill John Calipari. And the Yahoo Sports national columnist describes the tensions and emotions that existed in the court rooms when he covered the trials of Aaron Hernandez and Larry Nassar. Wetzel is the author of these books: · “Sole Influence: Basketball, Corporate Greed and the Corruption of America's Youth” with Don Yaeger of Sports Illustrated · “Glory Road” with former University of Texas-El Paso basketball coach Don Haskins · “Runnin' Rebel: Shark Tales of ‘Extra Benefits,’ Frank Sinatra, and Winning It All” with former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. · “Resilience: Faith, Focus, Triumph” with Alonso Mourning · “Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series” with Josh Peter and Jeff Passan   And he has written several sports biographies for children as part of the Epic Athletes series : · Stephen Curry · Alex Morgan · Serena Williams · Tom Brady · LeBron James · Lionel Messi · Simone Biles · Kevin Durant · Patrick Mahomes · Zion Williamson   Follow him on Twitter (@DanWetzel) and Instagram (wetzelsports). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Few sportswriters can match the lyrical and insightful work of Dave Kindred. His aim has always been to take readers with him, and make them feel what he felt. Dave does this for listeners in this episode as he recalls first meeting Muhammad Ali in 1966, covering 17 of his fights, and agreeing to a strange request from The Greatest in one of their 300-plus interviews. There was the time Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp called Kindred a SOB, and that magical moment at the ’73 Belmont Stakes when Secretariat ran like a beautiful machine in motion. He compares and contrasts Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, and reveals who he’d take if they were matched in their prime. And we hear how Dave found a community in the past decade by chronicling a girls high school basketball team in Illinois. Kindred forged a close relationship with Ali while working as a staff writer and columnist for the heavyweight champion’s hometown newspaper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, from 1965 to ’77. He went on to serve as sports columnist for The Washington Post (1977-84), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (1984-89 and 1995-97), The National Sports Daily (1989-91), and the Sporting News (1991-2007). Dave has been a contributing writer for Golf Digest since 1997, and he’s a regular contributor online for the National Sports Journalism Center. He also wrote a news column for several years while at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and he was the Washington D.C. correspondent for the Courier-Journal. Dave’s started as a sportswriter in 1959 at The Daily Pantagraph in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, while he was a student earning a B.A. in English at Illinois Wesleyan ‘63. He worked there for six years before moving to Kentucky. He went on to write more than 7,000 columns and 12 books, including the memoir, “Leave Out the Tragic Parts: A Grandfather’s Search for a Boy Lost to Addiction,” that was published in 2021. By his count, Dave has covered 75 major golf championships dating back to the 1966 PGA Championship. He also covered 44 Super Bowls, 43 Kentucky Derby races; 44 World Series, eight Olympic Games (Winter and Summer) and eight Wimbledon Championships, and three NBA Finals, He was in Munich, Germany for the ’72 Olympic massacre and in Lake Placid, N.Y. for the 1980 Miracle on Ice. And he likes to say that he’s lost golf balls in 22 countries on four continents. Kindred’s six-decade career – including how he has written in retirement about the Morton High School girls basketball team in recent years – was featured in a segment of 60 Minutes that aired March 28, 2021 on CBS. His books include: · “Morning Miracle: Inside the Washington Post: A Great Newspaper Fights for Its Life” · “Sound and Fury: A Dual Biography of Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell” · “Around the World in 18 Holes with Tom Callahan” · “Basketball: The Dream Game in Kentucky” · “Theismann” · “The Kentucky Derby: A Great American Tradition” · “Glove Stories” · “Heroes, Fools & Other Dreamers” You can follow him on Twitter: @DaveKindred Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Johnette Howard has never been afraid to stand her ground while reporting and writing about sports for four decades. Hear what she told Bill Laimbeer and Kirby Puckett when they challenged her early in her career. Howard has also always followed her curiosity, which has led her to craft award-winning stories and best-selling books. She tells us about hockey goons, the Bad Boy Pistons, and dramatic Olympic moments that remain seared in her memory. She also takes us to Centre Court at Wimbledon, and through the years with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova – a rivalry unparalleled in sports. We finish by going from tennis to beyond with Howard as she recounts how Billie Jean King impacted sports and life for women everywhere.   Howard worked as a columnist and on-air commentator for (2008-17), a general sports columnist for Newsday (1999-2009), and a columnist and enterprise writer for The Washington Post (1993-94). She was a senior writer for The National Sports Daily (1989-91) and Sports Illustrated (1994-98) after beginning her career at the Detroit Free Press (1982-89 and 1991-93) as an NBA and Olympics writer. Her long-form articles have been collected in nine anthologies, including “Best American Sports Writing of the 20th Century,” Sports Illustrated’s “Great Football Writing,” and “A Kind of Grace: A Treasury of Sports Writing by Women.” Her newspaper columns for Newsday were nominated for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in general commentary. Besides ESPN, she has also frequently appeared on radio and television for NPR, CNN, HBO, FOX, BBC TV, and Spike TV. She has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Athletic, Slate, The Times of London, House & Garden, Architectural Digest, and Golf for Women.   Howard collaborated with Billie Jean King on King's autobiography, "All in", which was released in August 2021 and debuted at No. 5 on The New York Times Best-Seller List. The Christian Science Monitor called “All In” the best sports book of the year, and The Washington Post named it one of the 50 notable non-fiction books of 2021. She is also author of the book “The Rivals: Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, Their Epic Duels and Extraordinary Friendship,” which was published in 2005. Howard has won national and local recognition from the Associated Press Sports Editors, Best American Sports Writing (five times), the Women’s Sports Foundation, the New York Headline Club, Long Island Press Association.   Howard’s account on Twitter: @JohnetteHoward Her website: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Vito Stellino has been writing about the NFL since the players needed off-season jobs to make a living. He covered the gambling suspensions of stars Alex Karras and Paul Hornung – in 1963. Hear about that and much more as Vito takes us on a ride through the past 60 years of pro football’s growth. The Hall of Fame writer witnessed the moving trucks depart on that snowy night in ’84 when the Colts fled Baltimore for Indianapolis. Vito puts us there. He also takes us behind the scenes with the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers and explains how one of the NFL’s greatest teams was impacted by the work of the too-often forgotten Bill Nunn. Oh, and besides football, Vito was also ringside for Ali-Frazier I, as well as courtside for Texas Western’s historic ’66 NCAA championship win. He has details. Join us.   Stellino’s distinguished career in sports journalism began in 1963 as a United Press International reporter in Detroit, where he covered the Lions. After a two-year stint in the Army, he rejoined the UPI wire service in New York before moving to newspapers in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Jacksonville. The majority of Stellino’s career was spent covering in the NFL, and his work earned him the Dick McCann Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989. At one point, Vito covered 40 consecutive Super Bowls. His first was in January 1973 when the Miami Dolphins capped their undefeated season. Vito was a beat reporter covering the iconic Steelers of the 1970s when Pittsburgh won four Super Bowl titles in six years. He later covered two of the Washington teams that won Super Bowls under Joe Gibbs. Before the NFL became a year-round beat, Vito reported on six World Series, the first Ali-Frazier fight, NBA and NHL games (including Gordie Howe’s record-breaking goal in 1963), PGA tournaments and tennis. Stellino is still writing about the NFL, as well as other sports topics on his personal blog “Vito’s Views” at . You can follow him @vitostellino on Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jarrett Bell has been writing about the NFL since 1981, including the past 29 years as a national columnist for USA Today. He learned long ago that you get the scoop by getting to know the people. Bell discusses some of the more memorable owners, coaches and players he has encountered in four decades. He takes us behind the scenes as two iconic franchises, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, transitioned in the late 80s and early 90s. Hear tales of Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, Joe Montana and Steve Young. Go on a home visit with Jerry Jones. Be there when Eddie DeBartolo vows that heads will roll. And go to dinner with Bruce Smith on Bell’s tab. More NFL stories, and to think they all came because Bell’s first love was . . . hockey?   Bell has covered pro football for USA Today as an NFL columnist since 1993. He previously served as a contributor at ESPN for four years (2013-2017), primarily featured as a panelist on “NFL Insiders” and “SportsCenter.” Since 1997, Bell has been a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee while also serving on the media panel that selects the Super Bowl MVP. He participated on a blue-ribbon panel that selected the NFL’s Centennial Team. Among hundreds of radio and TV interviews, he has appeared on programming for CBS (Face The Nation), NBC (Nightly News), ESPN, CNN, Fox Sports 1, NFL Films, The NFL Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Headline News, Comcast, ESPN Radio, NBC Sports Radio, ABC Radio, Rogers Sportsnet, Sirius Satellite Radio, Pro Football Talk and WUSA-TV.   In 2020, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) honored Bell with a Salute to Excellence Award. That same year, he won first-place honor for projects in Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest. Bell has won three writing awards from The Pro Football Writers of America: game analysis and breaking news in 2009, and breaking news in 2001. He’s won dozens of in-house awards from Gannett, owner of USA Today. He also was cited for an Outstanding Book Award from NABJ for “Resilient by Nature,” on which he collaborated on the memoir for former NFL linebacker Reggie Williams. Bell was featured prominently in two documentaries, “The Forgotten Four” and “Minister of Defense: The Reggie White Story.” He had a cameo role in the feature film, “Invincible.” For nearly 20 years, he was a regular “NFL Insider” guest on the Baltimore Ravens pregame show (2001-2018) on WBAL Radio.   Prior to joining USA Today, Bell covered San Francisco 49ers as a beat reporter for the for The Marin (County) Independent Journal (1990-1992). He was editor of The Dallas Cowboys Weekly in 1989 after working four years in the team’s publications department. Bell was sports director for Fort Worth-based KNOK-FM (1984-1985) and covered high school sports as a staff writer for The Dallas Times Herald (1981-1983) while also serving as a contributing writer for the Cowboys Weekly, which he joined shortly after graduating from Michigan State University in ‘81 with a bachelor’s degree in Human Communication.   Bell serves on the Alumni Advisory Board for the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State. In college, he worked as a student assistant in the Michigan State University Sports Information Office, a news reporter for WVIC-AM and as a teaching assistant for the Department of Communication. He also studied abroad at The University of London during the summer of 1979, participating in The Guardian’s Contemporary Mass Media program. The Detroit native’s career in sports began as a teenager when he was equipment manager for the Detroit Jr. Wings and as an aide in the public relations department for the NHL's Detroit Red Wings. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Malcolm Moran spent more than 30 years writing sports for Newsday, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today. Yet he feared his career had ended early while covering the New York Yankees of George, Billy and Reggie. Hear why. He shares stories about Lou Holtz, quipster extraordinaire as Notre Dame football coach. He takes us to the NCAA tournament as the event’s popularity soared in the ’80s. Find out what Jack Youngblood had in his pickup truck at a Super Bowl practice. And tag along with Malcolm and Bob Knight in 1981 when the Indiana basketball coach visited his player, Landon Turner, who had been paralyzed in an auto accident. During his distinguished career, Malcolm Moran has covered 40 NCAA Final Fours, 11 Super Bowls, 16 World Series, four Olympic Games, the 2002 World Basketball Championships, and more than 30 post-season college football games with national championship stakes. His journalism career began at Newsday in 1977, where he covered high school, college and professional sports. He moved to The New York Times in 1979, where he worked as a reporter and columnist for 19 years until joining the Chicago Tribune 1998. There, he was the Notre Dame football beat reporter while also writing commentaries and providing event and feature coverage on pro and college sports. Malcolm moved to USA Today in 2000 to cover college basketball and football, as well as write feature articles on pro and college sports. Moran has been the Director of the Sports Capital Journalism Program at IUPUE in Indianapolis since 2013. The center serves as a comprehensive institute for the study of sports journalism, and it is the official partner of the Associated Press Sports Editors and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He’s also a professor of practice in journalism. He has directed IUPUE students in their coverage of the Bowl Championship Series, College Football Playoff, NCAA Final Four, World Baseball Classic, NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis 500 and the Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro. Moran left newspaper work in 2006 to become the inaugural Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society in the College of Communications at Penn State. There, he directed the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism until 2013, when he left for IUPUE. He took Penn State students to the Final Four, the BCS National Championship game and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Moran, a 1975 graduate of Fordham University, speaks annually to the Sports Journalism Institute. He has hosted the Associated Press Sports Editors' Diversity Fellows program and continues to organize the USBWA's Full Court Press seminar at the Final Four. He has made presentations to the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association, the Associated Press Sports Editors, the Sports Management Institute, CoSIDA, and several major universities. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
My motto: Any time spent with Vahe Gregorian is time well spent. You’ll enjoy this hour with the sports columnist for The Kansas City Star as he shares highlights from his 35-year career. He puts us courtside in historic Allen Fieldhouse for the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri. He takes us to the Dominican Republic for the funeral of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura. Go with Vahe to the home of Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers, who was battling dementia before his death. Head to Australia where Vahe went behind the scenes of an agonizing Olympic loss. Spend time with Tom Watson and George Brett, icons of Kansas City. Hear how that city was galvanized in the past decade by the Royals and Chiefs winning championships. And we give a special nod to Vahe’s late father, Vartan Gregorian.   Vahe Gregorian will be one of five journalists enshrined in the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame this weekend at the Final Four in New Orleans. In 2017-18, he was president of the USBWA, which described him as “the ultimate teammate among his colleagues and a role model among his peers.” Gregorian has been sports columnist for The Kansas City Star since 2013 after spending 25 years covering a variety of sports for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He has covered 10 Olympics, three World Series, a Super Bowl, 22 Final Fours and multiple college football bowl games since the late 1980s.   In 2017, the Associated Press Sports Editors named Vahe the national winner for column writing for large market newspapers. He earned another top 10 columnist award from the APSE in 2016, and his work was also recognized as part of a reporting team that was named one of the top 10 projects for that year. He was a Pulitzer Prize nominee in 2000, won several Football Writers Association of America awards, and has been named Missouri Sports Writer of the Year multiple times. His work has been published in “The Best American Sports Writing.” He has published two books: one about former Northwestern football coach Gary Barnett, and the other about former Michigan State football coach George Perles.   Gregorian was born in Beirut, Lebanon and raised in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. He played varsity football at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1983 with a degree in English. He earned his master’s degree in journalism at Missouri in ‘88. In 2004, he was chosen as a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where he focused on history and the demise of sportsmanship.   Follow Vahe Gregorian on Twitter: @vgregorian Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Ron Higgins sure can spin a yarn, and he shares some side-splitting ones from his more than four decades of covering sports in the Deep South. Hear how Bear Bryant responded to Ron asking him to roll his Tide team off the field. Hang out with Steve Spurrier, Dale Brown and other characters who added spice to the gig. Hear about the wizardry of “Pistol “Pete Maravich, about Luc Longley’s strange request at the Olympics, and why Alvin Lee’s sneakers snapped a slump. Oh, and learn what a basketball-loving surgeon once ask Ron on the operating table moments before a certain procedure. Good lawd.   Higgins has worked at newspapers in four southern states while covering the SEC and national sporting events for 41 years. He has covered more than 50 bowl games, three Olympics, multiple Final Fours, the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, and Daytona 500. He’s the winner of 180 national, regional, and state writing awards – including being named writer of the year in both Tennessee and Louisiana multiple times by the National Sportswriters and Broadcasters. Ron is a member of the Tennessee Sportswriters Hall of Fame, and he served as president of the Football Writers Association of America in 2008.   Ron spent nearly 29 years at the Memphis Commercial Appeal (1984-2013) as lead college football writer and columnist focusing on the SEC. He’s also worked at the Clarion-Ledger in Mississippi (2018), the NOLA Media Group in New Orleans (2013-18), the Mobile Press Register in Alabama (1997-98), and The Advocate (1983-84) in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La., where he currently resides again. Since 2019, he’s been covering LSU sports as editor of Tiger Rag Magazine and columnist for His father, Ace Higgins, was sports information director (1954-68) at LSU, where Ron earned his journalism degree after graduating in 1977 from Angelina College – where he played basketball – in Lufkin, Texas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Austin Murphy takes us on a whirlwind ride through his 33 years of writing for Sports Illustrated in the magazine’s halcyon days. Hear how hanging out with Warren Sapp ended in a $150 cab ride. Travel with Lance Armstrong through his reign and fall as cycling’s king. Go with swimsuit models to Necker Island, where a discussion with Heidi Klum turns to . . . the fall of the Berlin Wall. Austin also provides insight about how he reinvented himself after being let go by SI in 2017. He tells of taking the fight to the universe as an Amazon delivery driver before finding his way back to journalism as a newspaper reporter covering everything but sports.   Murphy wrote thousands of articles for Sports Illustrated and its website, from 1984 until 2017. About 140 of his stories were featured on the magazine’s cover – once a status symbol in the world of sports. Austin covered 10 Super Bowls, eight Olympics, eight Tours de France, four Stanley Cup Finals, and a dozen college football national championship games. Oh, and he also covered the Calgary Stampede rodeo in Alberta, Canada. Some years for SI, he was on the road in the U.S. and Europe as many as 100 to 200 days a year. He interviewed Bono, Brad Pitt and five Presidents: Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.   His journalism career began as a sports reporter for the Bucks County Courier Times in Pennsylvania and then the Chronicle in Batavia, Ill. near Chicago. Sports Illustrated hired Austin in ‘84 after he sent the magazine his humorous essay about how he disappointed his father by quitting the football team at Colgate University, where he earned a Bachler of Arts degree in English literature. Originally hired as a fact-checker, Austin quickly moved to the National Hockey League beat at SI. He eventually moved up the ranks to senior writer, primarily covering the NFL, college football and the Tour de France.   In May 2017, Murphy lost his job at Sports Illustrated in a round of corporate downsizing by the magazine’s owner, Time Inc. He ended up delivering packages for Amazon – making $17 an hour – for five months in 2018 and ’19. Austin wrote about that experience at Amazon for The Atlantic, and the essay went viral. That led to his current job as a general news reporter at Santa Rosa Press Democrat in California.   Murphy is the author of three books: ·  “The Sweet Season: A Sportswriter Rediscovers Football, Family, and a Bit of Faith at Minnesota’s St. John’s University” ·  “How Tough Could It Be? The Trials and Errors of a Sportswriter Turned Stay-at-Home Dad” ·  Saturday Rules: A Season with the Trojans and Domers (and Gators and Buckeyes and Wolverines)   Read more about his time working for Amazon in the Colgate Magazine:   Follow Austin on Twitter: @ausmurph88 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Hal McCoy is synonymous with the Cincinnati Reds. The Hall of Fame writer for the Dayton Daily News has been covering baseball’s oldest professional franchise since 1973. Hal tells about the egos, talent, and inner workings of the Big Red Machine. Learn why the great Sparky Anderson was fired, and how Vern Rapp learned his same fate. Hear about Pete Rose’s return to Cincinnati and his ultimate downfall. Hal explains why Joe Morgan quit talking to him, why Eric Davis was his all-time favorite player, and why Lou Piniella once forgot to fill out a lineup card. And Hal explains how a pep talk from Aaron Boone kept him writing after he lost nearly all his eyesight. You’ll feel like one of baseball’s great writers is taking you out to the old ballgame.   McCoy was honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 as winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which is awarded annually “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.” He has covered more than 7,000 Major League Baseball games and chronicled the day-to-day news of three World Series championship teams (1975, ’76 and ’90) and nine Division winners. Hal has been chair of the Cincinnati chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America 22 times, and he served as the BBWAA national president in 1997. He has won 52 Ohio and national writing awards and was the first non-Cincinnati newspaper writer to be elected to the Cincinnati journalists Hall of Fame. Hal is a member of the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, as well as the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame. Dayton honored him with a stone on the city’s Walk of Fame, and the press box at Dayton’s Howell Field is named after him.   Hal officially retired after the 2009 season after making nearly ever road trip with the Reds for nearly four decades, but he has never stopped writing about the team. He still covers Cincinnati’s home games from the ballpark for “The Real McCoy” blog on the Dayton Daily News website and for His “Ask Hal” columns appear in the paper’s Sunday print edition. Hal writes about the Reds’ games from the road off television – and weighs in on other sports topics – for his “Observations from the Man Cave” column on his own website. Hal also covers University of Dayton basketball and football for   McCoy’s career began at the Dayton Journal Herald in 1964, two years after the Akron native graduated with honors from Kent State University’s School of Journalism. Hal played college baseball (first base) on a partial scholarship and was a teammate of Gene Michael, a future player and general manager for the New York Yankees. In 1966, Hal took a job at the Detroit Free Press to cover Michigan and Michigan State football, but he returned to Dayton in ’67 to work for the Daily News. His original beats were Dayton Flyers basketball and auto racing. He also covered the Cleveland Browns, the defunct NBA Cincinnati Royals, golf, the University of Miami (Ohio) and high schools. By the late 1960s, he was the paper’s backup Reds’ writer. In 1973, his editor asked him to choose a fulltime beat: Reds or Bengals. He picked baseball and has never left the game. Hal lives in Englewood, Ohio, with his wife, Nadine.   Follow Hal on Twitter: @HalMcCoyHOF   Make sure to check out his book: “The Real McCoy: My Half Century with the Cincinnati Reds.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
We’re talking hockey and much more with Helene Elliott, columnist for the Los Angeles Times and one of the most respected writers in the business. She recounts how Wayne Gretzky set 61 NHL records and triggered a hockey boom in LA as an ambassador. She also has a funny tale about the Great One’s fear of flying. Helene tells us why the Stanley Cup is the most difficult trophy to win in sports, how great players rise to the occasion like Messier for the ‘94 Rangers, and what it was like covering the Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Olympics. And hear how Helene overcame barriers faced by female sportswriters to become the first female journalist honored by the Hall of Fame of a major professional sport. Oh, and she has a story about Lenny and Squiggy.   Elliott has been writing for Los Angeles Times since 1989. She was a beat reporter for the Lakers and Angels, then spent many years covering hockey and Olympic sports before becoming a columnist in 2006. Helene has covered 17 Olympics, the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Wimbledon, men’s and women’s World Cup soccer tournaments, and and nearly every Stanley Cup Finals since 1980. She became the first female journalist to be honored with a plaque in the Hall of Fame of a major professional sport in 2005 as winner of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Elmer Ferguson Award, given to writers “who have brought honor to journalism and to hockey.” She won the Best Breaking News Story award from the Associated Press Sports Editors for her story on the labor agreement that ended the NHL lockout in 2005. Her career began at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1977. She moved to New York City in 1979 and wrote for Newsday for the next 10 years before going to the West Coast. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Elliott is a 1977 graduate of the Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, which inducted her into the Medill Hall of Achievement in 2020.   Follow Elliott on Twitter: @helenenothelen  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Rick Telander is curious by nature, and his drive to learn more through reporting and relationships has served readers well for five decades. He’s always dives deep on stories, and he takes us with him on this episode. Rick puts us in an NFL training camp, where getting cut as a player caused his writing career to bloom. We go with him to the heaven-like basketball playgrounds of New York City in the 1970s for his first book. We ride with Rick into the Wild West of college football in the ‘80s. He takes us behind the scenes with characters on the ferocious ’85 Bears. Hear about the childlike wonder and blazing inner-drive of the great Walter Payton. Rick also explains the mischievous and competitiveness of another Chicago icon – some guy named Michael Jordan, who could read any room like no one else. And Rick takes us from the heights of fame with Jordan to the tough west side of Chicago, where he chronicled how prep basketball players at Orr Academy must overcome much more than opponents. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jerry Izenberg earned his first newspaper paycheck in 1951, and he’s still writing as columnist emeritus at The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey. “It has been an active life,” he says. Active? Try one of the most amazing careers in sports journalism. We’re lucky to hear from Jerry in this second of a two-part episode about his 70 years in the business. Part 1 was all about Muhammad Ali. Jerry told tales from covering more of his fights than anyone. In this second episode, we hear how Jerry became a sports columnist, and how he learned from Red Smith and Jimmy Cannon. He tells us about the first Super Bowl and Pete Rozelle. Hear about Mike Tyson crying on Jerry’s chest, and about the magnificent Pele’s message to the crowd after his final soccer match. You’ll laugh about the pigeons at Jerry’s first boxing title match and smile about how a horse from Venezuela captured his heart. And you’ll learn about the fortitude of Larry Doby, the baseball Hall of Famer who broke the American League color barrier and later developed a special relationship with Jerry. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
If you want stories about Muhammad Ali, you go to Jerry Izenberg. We did, and now you’ll hear tales about Ali in this episode that you’ve probably never heard before. Izenberg’s career in sports media is so special we’re presenting a two-part episode with him. He’s 91 and still writing as columnist emeritus at the Newark Star-Ledger in New Jersey, where he was hired in 1951. We’ll cover his entire career in part 2, but this first episode with Izenberg is devoted entirely to his relationship with Ali. Jerry covered more of Ali’s fights than any sportswriter, dating to their first meeting at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. He takes us inside the vicious rivalry between Ali and Joe Frazier, including a ringside seat at their brutal Thrilla in Manila. Jerry gives us an inside look at the Rumble in the Jungle when Ali reclaimed his heavyweight championship with an upset of George Foreman in Zaire. He also puts us in Las Vegas on that sad night when Larry Holmes beat up his old friend. Hear this and much more about The Greatest from one of the greatest sportswriters ever. And don’t forget to join us for the upcoming part 2. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
For Bonnie Ford, being a sportswriter is about more than covering games and knowing statistics. She carved out a stellar career by acting on what she felt was a journalistic obligation: Digging into complicated social, cultural and financial topics related to sports. Bonnie did extensive work on doping scandals, especially in cycling, which made her an expert on the Tour de France and its superstar, Lance Armstrong. “I’m grateful that I had such a compelling figure for so much of my career to cover,” she says. Bonnie also discusses how she wrote about issues common to all athletes such as mental health. She shares how Olympic swimmer Allison Schmitt used her platform to talk about depression. She also tells us about covering the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, about profiling Art Modell as he moved the Browns from Cleveland, and what it was like at Wrigley Field after Steve Bartman tried to catch a foul ball. Bonnie was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford and a Fellow at the University of Maryland Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. She grew up in the New York City area, spent her high school years in Paris, France before earning a bachelor’s degree in 1979 from Oberlin College in Ohio. Bonnie is married to former Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist Bob Ford, who retired in 2020 after 32 years at that paper. Stories from early in her career were written under her maiden name, Bonnie DeSimone. Follow her on Twitter: @Bonnie_D_Ford Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Details always caught the eye of Timothy Smith during his three decades as a sportswriter. Small moments often revealed bigger things about his subjects. Tim recounts how the discipline of Evander Holyfield fueled the fighter’s confidence and warrior mentality. Oh, and hear what Holyfield shared with Tim about why he knew he’d beat Mike Tyson. Tim tells us about experiencing the wild range of Tyson’s emotions, and what it was like to spend three hours with Muhammad Ali. The Champ levitated. Seriously. Hear what it was like in the Bahamas when Orlando Hernandez came ashore after El Duque fled Cuba. Eggs were involved. And let Tim tell you about the babysitting skills of Sam Wyche . . . and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Hoops discusses how he fell in love with basketball, the Big 5 in Philadelphia, and that city’s famed arena, The Palestra. He takes us back to the Big East glory days of the 1980s, and we ride with him on the team plane of national champion Villanova after its upset of Georgetown. Hear about Kobe Bryant the teenage phenom, and how Magic and Bird changed college basketball as well as the NBA. Hoops recounts the season he spent with the fabled ’92 Kentucky team that fell in epic fashion to Duke. And he compares John Wooden and Mike Krzyzewski. Get a TO, baby, and listen up. This is a basketball treat. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Bill Livingston’s goal as a writer was to put readers at the scene. Hear about the memorable places he took them, and characters they encountered, during his nearly 50 years of covering sports. Bear witness to the all-time basketball artistry of Julius Erving and LeBron James. Sit courtside as free-spirited Darryl Dawkins, hailing from the planet Lovetron, shatters a backboard. Feel the emotion of Cleveland clinching a long-sought baseball pennant in ‘95. Even take a ride down an Olympic bobsled track. Listen to this and more from “Livy,” as he’s known in the business.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Bob Kravitz has been fearless in his 36 years of writing about sports. His strong opinions as a columnist have sometimes produced heated reactions from readers and sports figures since the early 1980s. Hear about some of those moments, including his introduction to Bob Knight that you won’t soon forget. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
History seems fragile when Bud Withers ponders his five decades of writing about sports. A free throw here. A turnover there. Tyus Edney going coast to coast. Small moments could have changed reputations and much more if they had gone another way. Withers recalls some of those March Madness memories from his Hall of Fame career at three major newspapers in the Pacific Northwest. We discuss the old-school coaching styles of legends Ralph Miller and Dick Harter, the rise of Gonzaga basketball, and how Ken Griffey Jr. impacted Seattle’s love of baseball. Oh, and there’s also a rental car story because, well, . . . sportswriters. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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