The byline that appears more often than any other in these pages reads "by Mervin Hyman." In the fall it is signed to FOOTBALL'S WEEK; from December until April it is carried over BASKETBALL'S WEEK. From the volume of mail received in response to Merv Hyman's two Weeks we can only assume that our readers consider themselves participants.
The week behind the football and basketball Weeks begins with a conference between Hyman and his editors. Out of these meetings come assignments for more than two dozen SI stringers, part-time correspondents who are working newspapermen intimately acquainted with the players and coaches involved in the games to be covered. Because Hyman prefers to sift and review a maximum number of facts before compressing the results into four or five compact columns of type, dispatches from stringers run from 350 to 800 words and are written for SI readers who frequently already know who won but want the week's activities brought into perspective.
The stringers not only attempt to tell the how and why but also look for fresh insights into the personalities who have played significant roles. Thus, during the football season, readers learn in passing how LSU Coach Charlie McClendon felt about the annual game with a hated rival, Ole Miss. LSU came within one point of a tie in the last minutes, then threw a two-point conversion pass to win 11-10. "We never considered kicking for a tie," said Charlie McClendon. "When you have to fight for your life it's nice to get a little extra out of it."
Merv Hyman is well equipped to produce his Weeks. He has been writing sports since the day he walked into the offices of the Englewood ( N.J.) Press, a weekly newspaper in the town where he was born and still lives, and proposed that he be engaged on the spot as sports editor. Either impressed or flabbergasted by such audacity—Merv was 13 at the time—the proprietor agreed and quickly came to terms with him: a nickel an inch for everything printed.
Merv has been in sports ever since, as reporter, columnist, broadcaster and, since our first issue in 1954, as factotum of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Always he has made it a point to get out and cover as many events as possible. During the football season he sees a game a week, at basketball time he may see a dozen. He makes a football spring-training tour (12,000 miles last year), attends coaching clinics and is in demand as a speaker—sometimes, he suspects ruefully, because of mistaken identity. Merv bears a striking resemblance to Green Bay's Vince Lombardi, his old friend from Englewood.
Thoroughgoing as the Hyman Weeks are, there are always readers who complain that their schools are overlooked. To this charge Merv answers: "Absolutely not. With more than 1,000 colleges playing basketball and 600 playing football, I just have to be selective." If he gives your school a miss this week, keep reading. It may be there next time.