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Sports & Recreation Podcasts

Sit down with host Todd Jones and other sportswriters who knew the greatest athletes and coaches, and experienced first-hand some of the biggest sports moments in the past 50 years. They’ll share stories behind the stories -- some they’ve only told to each other.

Sit down with host Todd Jones and other sportswriters who knew the greatest athletes and coaches, and experienced first-hand some of the biggest sports moments in the past 50 years. They’ll share stories behind the stories -- some they’ve only told to each other.


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Sit down with host Todd Jones and other sportswriters who knew the greatest athletes and coaches, and experienced first-hand some of the biggest sports moments in the past 50 years. They’ll share stories behind the stories -- some they’ve only told to each other.




Damon Hack: “Don’t Put Your Foot on the Furniture.”

Damon Hack reflects on his 16 years as a sportswriter and how those experiences informed his work in the past decade as a TV journalist at the Golf Channel. Learn protocol lessons taught by the San Francisco 49ers of Steve Young, Jerry Rice and Chris Doleman. Damon takes us to a Super Bowl party with Peyton and Eli Manning, into Adrian Peterson’s home, overseas for the Olympics, and into the mascot costume of Ricky the River Rat. Damon also discusses being a Black reporter covering the...


Elliott Almond: Catching a Wave of Sports Memories

We surf waves, climb mountains, and dive into odorous media mixed zones with Elliott Almond. He has earned a reputation as one of the top Olympic writers and sports investigative reporters during his adventurous career of nearly 50 years. Elliott explains how Edwin Moses led him to break a major story about steroids before the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games. He recalls the bunker mentality needed to report on the tragic death of Hank Gathers. Why did Marion Jones talk to Elliott after a...


Art Spander: “We’re all Running out There in our Pajamas.”

There’s much to unpack from Art Spander’s joyful journey of six decades as a sportswriter. The indefatigable Bay Area legend recalls the rise of young Tiger Woods and offers an intriguing theory. Art recounts covering iconic games such as The Catch, and The Miracle on Ice. He puts us at the Cal-Stanford game when “the band is on the field!” Art shares his love for major sporting events, especially the Rose Bowl. And he laughs about receiving a special delivery from Candlestick Park’s sod...


Alexander Wolff: A Global Search for Basketball Tales

Take a trip around the world with Alexander Wolff, one of the most lyrical writers of his era. He shares some gems from chronicling basketball’s international growth during his 36 years at Sports Illustrated. We’re in a car with him, Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra at 3 a.m. We tag along to remote Asia where royalty wasn’t keen on man-to-man D. We hear about Jerry Tarkanian making an offer that Alex refused. Go to Tobacco Road and learn the differences between Dean Smith and Mike...


David Steele: “He said Len Bias is dead. It just sounded so insane.”

David Steele recounts the many twists and turns in his nearly four decades as a sportswriter. He takes us to Maryland in 1986 when the death of Len Bias shook the sports world. Go into the Garden on the night Anthony Mason sat in the upper deck during a Knicks game while he was suspended. Hear how David got the first print interview with Latrell Sprewell after the player choked his coach P.J. Carlesimo. David tells us about the greatest moment he ever covered: Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals...


Bill Koch: “Well, There’s My Second Source.”

Bill Koch knows Cincinnati sports as well as any journalist after covering his hometown for more than 40 years. He goes deep into his story vault about Hall of Fame coach Bob Huggins, the subject of Bill’s new book. Hear about the time they played each other in basketball, what Huggins was like to cover as a daily beat reporter, and why players have such strong allegiance to their former coach. Oh, and Bill tells the classic DMFHF story. He recalls chronicling University of Cincinnati...


Mark Whicker: “We Turn to Athletes to Reaffirm Who We Are.”

Our 40th guest on Press Box Access is the esteemed Mark Whicker, one of my all-time favorite writers and people in the sports media business. He takes us on a winding road through his career of nearly five decades. We’re in locker rooms with Julius Erving, Darryl Dawkins, Pete Rose and Tug McGraw. There are late nights with a baseball GM known as “The Pope,” fan fights at The Vet, and police horses on a World Series field. Mark puts in the Forum Club for the jammed press conference when...


Jerry Tipton – “Every Once in a While, You Feel Like You’re Witnessing History.”

Jerry Tipton knows where all the bones are buried when it comes to University of Kentucky basketball after covering the Wildcats for 41 years. The Hall of Fame writer takes us courtside for the Dream Game with Louisville in 1983 and the legendary Duke game (uh, Laettner) in ‘92. He tells what season stands out more than any other and why, and what he admired about Cawood Ledford as an announcer. Hear how Rick Pitino handled the spotlight, what made Jamal Mashburn a special player, and why a...


Melissa Isaacson – “Michael Never Saw Us as the Enemy.”

Melissa Isaacson takes us into old Chicago Stadium, where smoke rose to the ceiling while Michael Jordan soared into history. She recounts chronicling the 1990s dynasty of the Bulls, with its crazy circus, gracious characters, and poignant moments. Hear about her visit to Birmingham, Ala. when Jordan was playing minor league baseball and mourning his father’s murder. Oh, and there was that time Phil Jackson walked in on a simulation of childbirth involving a basketball. Melissa also recalls...


Bud Shaw: “He’s Three Inches from my Face, and his Eyes are Bulging.”

Take a spin around the Cleveland sports scene with Bud Shaw, who spent nearly 27 years there as a columnist with a keen and irreverent eye. Bud puts us with the 1997 Indians when they had World Series champagne on ice. Oops. He recounts a confrontation with glowering Albert Belle, which prompted sage advice from ready-for-battle baseball scribe Paul Hoynes. And Bud recalls covering the tragic boating accident that killed pitchers Tim Crews and Steve Olin. We also hear about a young LeBron...


Tony Barnhart: Going Deep with Mr. College Football

Tony Barnhart takes us on a trip through some of his favorite memories covering college football for more than four decades. Mr. College Football tells us about Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson, Tim Tebow, and other legendary players. He shares insight about coaches Steve Spurrier and Vince Dooley. Tony examines how SEC expansion in the early 1990s led to today’s conference realignment. He recalls the greatest game he ever covered: Texas over USC for the BCS Championship in the Rose Bowl. Hear...


Dan Wetzel: Looking Past the Black Hats and White Hats

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...


Dave Kindred: Taking us along with Ali, Tiger and Secretariat

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...


Johnette Howard: “Why Do You Think You Can Say That to Me?”

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...


Vito Stellino: “I was Lucky to be in the Right Place at the Right Time.”

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...


Jarrett Bell: Getting personal with the NFL

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...


Malcolm Moran: “So Reggie is holding court before the game . . . “

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...


Vahe Gregorian: “What do I do With This?”

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....


Ron Higgins: “Are you that new sportswritin’ fella?”

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...


Austin Murphy: Finding Stories Around the Edges

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...