A Front-Row Seat with the Sportswriters Who Sat There
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.
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 has become one of the nation’s most versatile and respected sportswriters since joining Yahoo Sports in 2003. He has reported and written about the Olympics, men’s and women’s World Cup, NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, NHL, college sports, NASCAR, UFC and boxing. Wetzel has worked on major Yahoo investigative stories on pro and college sports, including scandals at Miami, Ohio State, Connecticut, Oregon, USC, the NCAA, IOC, FIFA, and various sports agencies. He also specializes in sports crime, including covering high profile cases and trials of Jerry Sandusky, Nassar, Hernandez and others. His columns have been featured numerous times in the anthology “Best American Sports Writing.” He has been honored more than a dozen times by the Associated Press Sports Editors, and he has been induced into the U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame. Besides writing, he also hosts the “Yahoo Sports College Podcast” – a must-listen – twice a week along with Sports Illustrated writer Pat Forde. Wetzel is a New York Times best-selling author, a screenwriter of the 2014 movie “Life of a King,” and executive producer of the three-part Netflix docu-series “Killer Inside” about Hernandez. His book “Glory Road” with former college basketball coach Don Haskins was made into a Disney movie by the same name.
Adrian Wojnarowski, an NBA insider for ESPN, once posted this about Wetzel on Instagram: “Few have done so much, so well. The volume, depth and insight within the body of Wetzel’s work is staggering, perhaps even peerless. And yet, it barely begins to tell the story of Wetzel’s impact on the industry because he changed the whole thing. He influenced a generation of college basketball reporters, teaching them to reassess the stereotypes and prejudices that have long surrounded coverage of the sports. The so-called good guys weren’t always so pure, and the so-called bad guys weren’t always so flawed. In a sport full of bullshit guys, you were never bullshitting Dan Wetzel.”
Dan is a native of Norwell, Massachusetts near Boston. He’s a 1994 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was editor of the campus newspaper (The Daily Collegian) and majored in political science. After college, Wetzel interned at the Indianapolis News, covering the police beat. He moved to the Chicago Tribune, where he also worked on the news desk. After college, Wetzel started covering basketball for the Basketball Times, where he eventually served as managing editor. He then became senior writer for SportsLine, the official website for CBS Sports, in 2000 before moving to Yahoo Sports three years later as that website’s first sportswriter. He has served as fill-in radio host on “The Sports Inferno” in Detroit (AM-1270).
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).
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