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.

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Austin Murphy: Finding Stories Around the Edges

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 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, SI.com 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. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/12/what-its-like-to-deliver-packages-for-amazon/578986/ 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:

https://news.colgate.edu/magazine/2020/08/07/deliverance-a-laid-off-sportswriters-roundabout-route-to-reinvention/

Follow Austin on Twitter: @ausmurph88

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