DEGREES: B.A. in English, minor in classical tradition; M.A. in broadcast journalism, Boston University
JOB TITLE: Reporter at NFL Network
FAVORITE TRINITY MEMORY: I certainly loved my time on the football team and the relationships formed through that. We sacrificed a lot for one goal. I would love to do that all over again. There were those many hours spent in the dining hall, eating cereal for every meal and laughing with my friends about everything and anything. I met my wife there, and we have two wonderful kids. I wouldn’t change that for anything.
You have a football fan’s dream job. What path did you take to get to your position? I always knew I wanted to be involved in sports. Or be a lawyer (my mom said I argued everything for a while there). I thought I’d follow my father’s and brother’s path and be a football coach but do it on the college level (my dad did that at the tail end of his career). I had something lined up at SUNY Albany, but it fell through, so after I graduated from Trinity, I went home and bartended for a while and eventually struck up a conversation with the local sports editor of The Falmouth Enterprise. He asked what I wanted to do, and I told him I wanted to try what he was doing. He got me 10 hours a week, and I was hooked. Eventually, he moved to Costa Rica (true story), and I had done enough to get his job. Did that for three years but knew I wanted to try TV. With the encouragement of my wife (Sandra Sillman ’93), I took a shot, applying to only BU and Emerson. If I got in, it was meant to be. I got in. Interned under some really great professionals, got my master’s, and got my first job in TV as a sports director in Binghamton, New York. Fifteen months later, I was fortunate to be back in Boston and have been here ever since, first working for NECN, then Comcast SportsNet New England (which eventually became NBC Sports Boston), and finally, here at the NFL Network for the last three years. Being able to focus on one sport after two decades of covering them all is awesome. Dream come true … 12-year-old me would have never believed this would have happened.
What do you enjoy most about your work? The game. The strategy behind it. The people behind it. It’s the best reality show there is.
What challenges do you face? This business is so much about building relationships. Sometimes there is a level of distrust or an effort to control the flow of that information to best to protect the team or a player’s interest. Those can be difficult hurdles to overcome.
How has your work changed with the COVID-19 pandemic? Building those relationships, or renewing ones you already had, was severely hampered by COVID-19. There were no face-to-face conversations with players. It wasn’t allowed. I also didn’t step on a plane for over a year, and those road games I did attend, I drove to. Buffalo. New Jersey. Baltimore. But to keep my family safe, and myself safe, during this uncertainty, that was the only way I would do it. I also managed a half dozen teams and their Zoom calls daily. I’ll admit that there were plenty of times I had a hard time keeping the times straight!
How did your time at Trinity prepare you for what you do now? I wrote for the student paper at Trinity. I played football. And I learned how to handle hard deadlines and, on occasion, how to finesse people (professors) who had all the clout.
Was there a professor at Trinity who was particularly influential? Professor Dirk Kuyk, who recently passed away. I probably took a half dozen classes with him, and he was my adviser for my senior thesis. My roommate Justin Grigg ’93 and I used to joke that Professor Kuyk was William Faulkner. He knew that man’s material better than maybe even Faulkner himself did. He was a fascinating man and was the only person who ever threw me out of a class. I hadn’t done the reading. I got what I deserved. That didn’t happen again. Much respect.