The Sports Magazine Years

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 6.35.32 AMMy past caught up with me. But in a good way.

A former student provided a link to back issues of SportsFocus and Second Look (now Sports Spectrum), two versions of the same magazine that I edited in two stints between 1984 and 1989.

The former student, Sarah Layne, now works for Sports Spectrum as director of partnerships, helping to keep this magazine going.  So of course, I’m indebted to her — both for alerting me to these links and for helping to continue the magazine we started 31 years ago.

For those of you interested in finding out more about Sports Spectrum and subscribing or supporting their good work, click on the magazine name for more info.  You can also see all of their available back issues, for all three titles, here.

It’s fun to look at the links and see the athletes profiled — not only because these are some of the top athletes of the 1980s, but also as an implied “where are they now?”  In some cases we know and in some cases we don’t know.

Check out the publications where I gained the experience that I apply in my classes as an associate professor of journalism at Auburn.  Not all are listed here, but a few that I worked on and wrote for.  The athletes are listed according to where they were at the time of the article.

SportsFocus, Volume 1, Issue 1

Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers

Dan Quisenberry, Kansas City Royals

Wayman Tisdale, University of Oklahoma

Willie Gault, Chicago Bears

Cheryl Miller, USC

Alberto Salazar, U.S. Olympic team

Pete Maravich

The above, unfortunately, is the only issue of SportsFocus available on  We didn’t print too many; our parent company folded and we went our separate ways after only about four issues.  (The last issue, in legendary manner, was at the printer with a cover article about Gary Carter that he did not like, but never made it out.)

After a couple of other brief jobs, including a year in Colorado, I returned to Southern California.  SportsFocus had re-emerged as Second Look, through a partnership with Radio Bible Class, publishers of the popular devotional Our Daily Bread.

Here are a few issues from those years:

Second Look, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Winter 1987)

Orel Hershiser, L.A. Dodgers

Jeanette Bolden, Olympic gold medalist, track

John Wooden, UCLA basketball head coach

(I was not editor for this issue; I joined the magazine soon after.  But I did contribute the Bolden article, and it’s one of the old issues still online, so it’s worth a look.)


Second Look, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Spring 1987)

Steve Alford, Indiana University

Ozzie Volstad, volleyball

Stan Smith, tennis

Jenna Johnson and Suzy Ryan, swimming


Second Look, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Summer 1987)

Steve Largent, Seattle Seahawks

Larry Sheets, Baltimore Orioles

Jeremiah Castille, Denver Broncos

I did the Castille article.  It was fun — not only as an Auburn grad interviewing a Bama athlete, but also because we did part of the interview in Westwood, near the UCLA campus.  That was always my favorite place to take Southerners who wanted to experience the SoCal life.

Second Look, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Fall 1987)

Scott Simpson, PGA Tour

Lynette Woodard, Harlem Globetrotters

Bob Boone, California Angels


Second Look, Vol, 2, No. 2 (Winter 1988)

Frank Tanana, Detroit Tigers

Mark Price, Cleveland Cavaliers

Anthony Munoz, Cincinnati Bengals


Second Look, Vol, 3, No. 1 (Fall 1988)

Glenn Davis, Houston Astros, and Storm Davis, San Diego Padres

Pat Williams, Orlando Magic

Therese Hession, LPGA Tour

The Glenn and Storm article was one of my favorites.  Being from Jacksonville, and friends with Storm Davis’s family, their intertwined stories particularly struck home with me.  If I wrote it today, I might have worked my own references into the story more directly.  But that’s not how we did it in the 1980s.


Second LookVol, 3, No. 2 (Winter 1989)

Jim Ryun, former mile record-holder

Brad Budde, Kansas City Chiefs

Dave Dravecky, San Francisco Giants

Dravecky anecdote: I moderated a discussion between Kyle Rote Jr., our companion TV show’s host, and Dravecky.  After the interview, the three of us said our goodbye’s, and I heard a phone click.  So I told Rote how impressed I was with Dravecky’s depth and insight and how well the discussion had gone. The response: “Um, John, I think Kyle has hung up.”

Maybe that’s why I was able to do a few more interviews with Dravecky over the years.

Second Look, Vol. 3, No. 3 (May/June 1989)

Reggie Williams, Cincinnati Bengals

Kay Yow, N.C. State

Ed Rush, NBA referee

This was my last issue of Second Look before I decided to make the transition to the academic life, first as director of public information at Azusa Pacific University.

As I transitioned from college administration to the classroom — first at APU, then Campbell University, then Auburn University — I also moved away from Second Look.  It eventually would change its name to Sports Spectrum, to emphasize the sports connection.

I wrote a couple of free-lance articles for them: one on Dale Jarrett and another interviewing several NASCAR personalities in conjunction with some PSAs they were filming in Charlotte, N.C.

But as I focused more on the college classroom, and on articles that were much longer and had a flood of footnotes, I left Sports Spectrum to the capable hands of Discovery House Publishers, and now as a nonprofit independent publication based in Charlotte.

I’m glad that their work continues, and that they have made mine available.



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