Welcome to episode No. 46 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch. In this podcast, which is published weekly, Deitsch interviews members of the sports media about their work and interesting people about the sports media. This week’s podcast guest is ESPN senior writer Ivan Maisel, who specializes in college football. Maisel has covered college football on a national level longer than anyone currently on the beat.
In this episode, Maisel discusses why the sport continues to appeal to him, the most and least accessible college football programs, why certain head coaches don’t want assistant coaches to talk, why Jim Harbaugh has been a tough get for him, why the sport produces so much animus among certain bases and much more.
A large part of the podcast focuses on the death of Maisel’s son, Max, who died on Feb. 22, 2015 in the icy, turbulent waters of Lake Ontario near Rochester, N.Y. “We assume that he put himself in the water,” wrote Maisel last week. “He put himself on the end of the Charlotte Pier on what may have been the worst night of an endless winter. That is all we know. The rest is logic, connecting dotsivan mai, coming to the rational conclusion that revealed an irrational act.”
Maisel discusses the process of working through grief within his job, how Max’s death changed him as a college football writer, the support ESPN gave his family during its toughest time, the surreal nature of being a news subject as opposed to writing news, the people in college football who offered support and more.
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