Who better to take the helm of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S publishing operation than a man who has sailed with Dennis Conner and against Ted Turner?
Don Elliman is such a man, and it gives me great pleasure to turn the wheel of publisher over to Don, whose newly created title is president and publisher of SI. Don has worked at Time Inc. for 25 years, most recently as president of the sales and marketing division. He will bring enthusiasm, inspiration and great ability to the publishing side, while at the same time allowing me, as managing editor, to devote my energies to overseeing SI's editorial efforts.
Don is no stranger to the sporting life. "It was a rare day between the ages of 12 and 21 that I wasn't either sailing or skiing," he says, "and more of the former." Raised in Bronxville, N.Y., Don is a 1967 graduate of Middlebury College, where he majored in economics and minored in skiing and lacrosse (crease defenseman). Over the years Don, a former instructor at the Larchmont ( N.Y.) Yacht Club, has sailed just about everything from an eight-foot dinghy to a 12-meter yacht. Among his exploits are one transatlantic crossing, two Fastnet races and three Southern Ocean Racing Conferences. "I've had a few hairy moments," he says, "but nothing where I thought I was going to cash it all in. Of course, I can't speak for my fellow crew members." Don serves as a trustee of the New York Yacht Club, and he was on the board of directors for New York's Operation Sail 1992, a parade of tall ships from all over the world.
When the time comes to trade salt spray for snow spray, Don, his wife, Mary, and daughters Kristin, 17, and Lindsay, 15, and sons Mac, 7, and Andrew, 5, can often be found on the slopes of Mad River Glen, Vt., and Vail, Colo. Don's skiing abilities have enabled him to become "fast" friends with former U.S. Olympic skiers Billy Kidd and Jimmie Heuga. Each year Don helps organize—and participates in—Heuga's Mazda Ski Express at Vail, a charity skiing event that benefits victims of multiple sclerosis, from which Heuga has suffered for 20 years. Don is also an avid golfer, although, truth be told, his efforts on that course are more slalom than downhill.
"When my sports buddies heard that I was being named publisher of SI," says Elliman, "their reaction was pretty much the same: You lucky stiff. And I would have to agree with them. I'm absolutely thrilled to be working for a magazine I've read cover to cover for as long as I can remember."
As for what he hopes to accomplish at SI, Don says, "Basically, I'll try and make sure we continue to keep the wind at our backs."