Well, it’s time.
After a year of running this website, Davis and I are stepping down as editors-in-chief. If you don’t know by now, the site is in capable hands with Noah Coffman as the new EIC, Joe Weinberg and Avery Zimmerman as managing editors and a lot of other talented younger writers who will get deserved opportunities to take bigger roles.
I’m not going away for good — I’ll be back writing in the fall when Northwestern begins its pursuit of a second consecutive division title (yes, let that marinate), just not in the same day-to-day leadership role. With that in mind, I wanted to say a few things about what this site has meant for me and, more importantly, say thank you.
For me, Inside NU is so meaningful because it’s given me every bit of the work I’ve put in, and then some. There have been a lot of late nights, a lot of long drives and too many trips to Denny’s (scratch that, not enough trips Denny’s). I’ve missed out on tailgates, and at times, the site has gotten in the way of friends, school and other things. But, when it’s 5am and your eyes desperately want to shut, you write, because Northwestern just won the Big Ten West, and because there is a group of readers who are counting on you. I tried my best to put emotions and feelings from games and moments into words on the site, and I had a ton of fun doing it. And that’s where you come in, readers. It’s really cool that in some small way, this site helps a lot of people connect with Northwestern.
I’ve come to find that the Northwestern sports universe is a funny one. It’s small, but as fiery and passionate as any. Northwestern’s sports community isn’t like its Big Ten counterparts, mostly because of its size and its history, which has been more bad than good. Because of that, the Northwestern experience is communal and tight-knit. If you root for Northwestern, you must have a pretty darn good reason because, for most of most people’s lives, it hasn’t been winning.
Because of those things, student journalists get a great deal of access at Northwestern. Getting a sit-down interview with Chris Collins, having lunch with Pat Fitzgerald and talking to Clayton Thorson on the phone in the middle of the summer are opportunities I’m truly thankful for. It’s hard not to be cynical about college sports with scandals seemingly coming out weekly, and, believe me, I am pretty jaded at this point. But, the truth is, there are a lot of really talented athletes and coaches at Northwestern who have given up a lot to put their sport first, and those stories come through when you talk to them. If there’s been anything that makes this site what it is, it’s the features, the stories that tell you where Isaiah Bowser came from or go deep into Chad Hanaoka’s incredible path from Hawaii to Northwestern. Inside NU does that better than anybody, and that’s something I’m proud of.
In my time with Inside NU, I’ve been lucky. As a freshman, I covered the best basketball team in school history, the team that, as you all know, finally made it to March Madness. The football team has won a bowl game in all three of my years as a student; I was at all three of those games, and in the press box for two. Northwestern won the Big Ten West this year, and played in a conference championship game — and gave its fans something to be proud of when they got there. Seeing the purple Northwestern corner erupt when the NU players ran onto the field was a moment I’ll never forget. Inside NU has given me a way to travel all across the country to learn, observe and write. From Madison to Minneapolis to Washington, DC to Iowa City to Nashville to San Diego, this experience has been amazing.
During one of the most formative times of my life, Inside NU has been single the most formative experience. The journalism and writing stuff aside, running this website has taught me a ton about being a leader, mentoring others and thinking creatively. I got to learn from pros like Henry Bushnell, Josh Rosenblat and Zach Pereles when I first started, and I’ve gotten to experience a lot of amazing moments alongside Will Ragatz, Tristan Jung and Davis, all of whom are tremendous writers and see sports totally differently, which is awesome. I’ve also been able to watch a bunch of new writers grow while helping manage the site, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for them.
So, to close, Inside NU has been extremely good to me, and I hope it continues to be just as unforgettable for others in the future. If you need anything from me at any time, or just want to discuss recruiting trends or defensive line depth, don’t hesitate to reach out.