Like so many other sportswriters, I was a part of the large ESPN staff writer layoffs in April 2017. I decided I would spend the first hour of my "unemployment" the way I have spent most big transitions in life — writing. I sat in my car at a Eugene, Oregon Starbucks (yes, I had been at the University of Oregon's spring practices when I got the call) and wrote. This is what came out.
After a near amputation, a very special dog came into Oregon tight end Pharaoh Brown's life and helped him on his way back to the field. My first foray into TV writing allowed me to write on another love of mine -- dogs.
In 2015, Tom Hackett was the best quote in college football. His unique brand of humor (coupled with his lighthearted take on the sport itself) made him one of the most fun interviews for any reporter in the business. So, when his Subaru went missing in early November 2015, this mystery naturally deserved a fun deep dive into the situation. Complete with animations, Snapchat videos and some of the more off-the-wall interviews I ever did for a "football" story, this one has it all.
In 2012, I helped edit and produce a Michigan football book for the Michigan Daily, the University's student newspaper. One of my favorite press clippings I came across was a 1902 story that featured a young couple that had decided to base their nuptials on the outcome of the 1902 Michigan-Minnesota game. I decided -- 110 years later -- to try and track down whatever evidence I could to see if this actually happened, or if it was just a cute story. After a trip to the Toledo Public Library to view microfilms, a visit to the Washtenaw County Clerk's office and an ancestry.com account later, I discovered the truth behind this interesting tale.
Having spent part of my childhood outside of Ann Arbor and my college years at the University of Michigan, I had heard countless Bo stories. But during my first year at ESPN I managed to uncover one of the untold stories of Schembechler and his softer side while chatting with his widow Cathy. The tradition Cathy and Bo started was one that was so sweet I decided to carry it over into my own life. Now, a container full of wine corks with different memories written on them in Sharpie sits on a shelf in our kitchen.