For 11 years SPORTS ILLUSTRATED staffers have not had to worry if they nodded off before the conclusion of that last baseball game from the West Coast or failed to memorize every college basketball score in the morning papers. To catch up they merely had to stop at the corner office on the 18th floor of the Time & Life Building in New York City and tune in to the 24-hour sports information channel known as Mark Mulvoy. "It's rare when the boss knows more than his troops about the nitty-gritty details," says SI's executive editor, Peter Carry, "but no one cares more about sports or knows sports better than Mark."
With this issue Mulvoy, 54, steps down after more than 500 issues as our managing editor, handing the reins to Bill Colson, 45, who becomes SI's seventh M.E. in our 41-plus years. Mulvoy will continue in the newly created position of editor, primarily to coordinate SI's coverage of the Summer Olympics, and then will act on his long-ago announced intention to retire. "I've had my day, and it's time to move on," says Mulvoy. "Bill has been on a fast track since he came to SI in 1978, and he is the right editor to lead the magazine into the 21st century."
And Mulvoy was the right man for his era. He looks at sports from the perspective of the sophisticated fan who wants to know the story behind the story, an attitude that led SI to take a bead on virtually every substantive sports issue of the last decade. Of course, like all fans, Mulvoy, who came to SI from The Boston Globe in 1965 and worked his way steadily up the masthead, has his favorites. Not an X or an O can be drawn on a blackboard at Boston College, his alma mater, without Mulvoy's hearing the squeak of the chalk, and his discourses on hockey and his own bipartisan golf game (he has played with both President Clinton and former Vice President Dan Quayle) are the stuff of staff-meeting legend. But those preferences didn't in any way diminish his interest in all teams, his passion for all sports. During Mulvoy's watch, SI won two National Magazine Awards for General Excellence, in 1988 and '89, and has seen its circulation climb from 2.7 million to 3.3 million. The magazine also has ventured into new editorial areas—SI FOR KIDS, SI PRESENTS, championship commemoratives and bonus coverage of golf and pro football.
Colson, who has been an assistant managing editor at SI since 1991, brings a similarly restless curiosity to the job, albeit with a different style. "I'm golf," says Mulvoy. "Bill's tennis." He's more than that: Colson won the 1968 National 18-and-under Clay Court Championship and was the captain of the Princeton team for two years, and he's still a top amateur player in the New York area. We're just as impressed, though, with his doctorate in English from Indiana.
Our departing M.E.'s advanced studies were mostly in sports. And though Mulvoy's job change and impending retirement will allow him to spend more time with his family (wife Trish and their children Kelly, 26, Kristen, 25, Mark, 22, and Tommy, 18), teach journalism and play even more golf, we're positive that he'll keep us informed. "Mark is hooked up to DirecTV," says Colson, "so I'm counting on him to keep me on my toes."