Growing up in
Lexington in central
North Carolina in the
ly spent with our partners. The most important
content we have is live events, from the NBA,
NFL, Pac 10 and other conferences.”
Bernadette McGlade ’ 80, commissioner of the
Virginia-based Atlantic 10 Conference, got to
meet Skipper when she worked at the Atlantic
Coast Conference headquarters in Greensboro.
“He is such an unbelievable visionary,” said
McGlade, who also received a master’s degree in
physical education from UNC in 1997. “He has
done such great things, and not just at ESPN.
He makes you feel important when you deal
with him. He makes eye contact with you.”
Skipper played middle school basketball and
football but was kicked off the football team as
a sophomore in high school for wearing his hair
long in the early 1970s. “We were still in the
Vietnam War, counterculture and the Summer
of Love,” said Skipper, who eventually gravitated
to rock music and Rolling Stone magazine.
One of his teachers at the public high school
in Lexington told Skipper’s parents that he was
college material and that he should attend Chapel
Hill. “It was the only school that I applied to. I
“The most important content
we have is live events,” John
Skipper ’ 78 says about the TV
sports network he now leads.
“Our mission is to continue to
serve fans, and my goal is to
stay on mission and grow the
company and compete.”
JEFFREY CAMARATI/ATHLETIC COMMUNICATION
had never even set foot there before I got there”
as a freshman, he said. “It was a magical experi-
ence for me. For the first time, I met people
from all over the country and the world.”
He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UNC
with a degree in English literature and soon after
that headed off to New York, where he earned a
master’s degree in English literature from
Columbia University: “I grew up in a small
town, and I wanted to see the big city.” He has
lived since 1994 in Wilton, Conn., about 50
miles southwest of ESPN studios in Bristol and
an hour from his former haunts in New York.
Prior to joining the The Disney Publishing
Group, he was president and publishing director
at Spin magazine. Before that he spent 10 years
with Straight Arrow Publishing, including eight
years with his old favorite, Rolling Stone.
“My big break was when Walt Disney bought
ESPN. They wanted to do a magazine,” he said.
“We hired a terrific staff and put out a quality
Even as he’s moved up, that’s still his goal.
Just about all of UNC’s regular-season men’s basketball
games, such as this one with
Clemson, are shown on one of