Sports writer to speak on ventures

Tim Horneman

To many students, it sounds like a dream — rising quickly through the ranks and becoming a senior writer for a prestigious sports magazine just three years after graduating from college.

For Sports Illustrated’s Steve Rushin, it is a reality.

Rushin, a Marquette graduate, will be speaking at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Weasler Auditorium as the Pete and Bonnie Axthelm memorial lecturer. His speech is sponsored by the College of Communication.

Rushin is known for his quick rise to prominence at Sports Illustrated magazine. Soon after Rushin graduated from the now defunct College of Journalism in 1988, he started as a fact checker at Sports Illustrated. After several months in that position, he moved through the ranks at the magazine, becoming a senior writer, which he still is today. He also writes feature stories, including one recently on the sadness of both Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs fans after both teams lost this year in their respective league championship series.

Rushin said he enjoys coming back to Marquette. He has spoken at Marquette functions many times, mostly at dinners for incoming students in the spring. However, he was unable to speak at last year’s dinner because of his recent marriage. Instead, he was asked to give this year’s Axthelm lecture.

Rushin said he is not a speaker by trade. He is, first and foremost, a writer. The topic of his speech will be his “Ventures in Sportswriting.”

“I’ve been so many places and met so many people,” Rushin said. “I’ve been to Greenland and India. I’m one of a few sportswriters to go to Indonesia twice. I think that the audience can draw stuff like how not to behave as a sportswriter from me.”

William Thorn, associate professor of journalism, remembers Rushin fondly.

“He was a very good student,” Thorn said. “One thing that sets him apart was how hard-working he is. That hard work got him where he is today.”

Jim Arnold, a former professor of journalism, taught Rushin in three classes.

Rushin “has a natural gift,” Arnold said. “He had a lot of humor and wit in his writing. I make notes in a book about each of my students, and for him, after one class, I wrote, ‘top writer in the class.'”

Thorn and Arnold both said they had followed Rushin’s career since he left Marquette.

“He’s doing what a lot of freshmen want to do,” Thorn said.

Thorn said many freshmen learn that sportswriting is much more difficult than they thought. He credited Rushin with persevering.

The Axthelm Lecture was started in Marquette’s College of Communication after the death of Pete Axthelm, a prominent sports journalist. Several years later, his sister Bonnie died and her name was added to the program. The Axthelm family, in cooperation with the journalism department, also gives a scholarship to one student every year. This year’s recipient is senior Faiza Yunus, a journalism student.