by Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan)
The Northwestern Homecoming Committee announced Wednesday night that Medill ’92 alum J.A. Adande will be the grand marshal for the 2012 Homecoming events.
Adande is an NBA writer for ESPN.com and frequently appears on ESPN’s TV show Around the Horn. He has also covered sports for The Chicago Sun-Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s something I wasn’t really expecting,” Adande said of being named grand marshal. “It’s really exciting. I never would have imagined something like that would have happened to me. I was already planning on coming to Homecoming for my 20-year reunion.”
Adande’s extensive experience covering college and professional sports started at Northwestern, when he was a beat writer for The Daily Northwestern his sophomore year.
“They went 0-11 that year,” he said. “I had a stat once, I’ve seen them lose in eight different states in my life — Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Texas, California, Florida, so at least eight states in my lifetime. They lost every game that they played that year. They won 7 games total when I was at Northwestern.”
Despite the losses during his time at NU, Adande, a Los Angeles native, has remained an NU fan and been through the remarkable seasons, as well.
“I was there when they went to the Rose Rowl in the 95 season, I went to the Outback Bowl (three) years ago, I had to be there when they played at Wrigley field,” he said. “I’m used to watching them every Saturday morning. Before I walk the dog, I watch Northwestern.”
Adande will return to a different football atmosphere than he saw as a student at NU. The Homecoming game against Iowa on Oct. 27 figures to be close to a capacity crowd, if not a sellout.
“Fans weren’t excited to go to the games (when I was in school),” Adande said. “You just went and hoped they’d keep it close. It really wasn’t the thing to do. Just my freshman year, I went because that’s what I thought you were supposed to. Now I definitely think it’s the thing to do.”
In addition to attending the game, Adande will be in the parade and pep rally on Friday, Oct. 26. He will also be responsible for crowning the Homecoming king and queen, in addition to participating in other various events throughout Homecoming week. The theme of the week is “Let the Good Times Roar.”
“I don’t even remember attending all those activities,” he said. “There’s a sense that there’s a more enthusiastic environment. There are a lot more new traditions and new activities and new things on campus now that weren’t there 20 years ago.”