The great western philosopher and former marquette basketball coach Al McGuire once said, "Everyone should go to college and get a degree, then spend six months as a bartender and six months as a cab driver. Then he'd really be educated."
Our new associate publisher, Tom Hickey, 52, has two thirds of that classic education. Hickey, who was an altar boy at McGuire's 1950 wedding in Rockaway Beach, N.Y., has never driven a hack. But he did earn a bachelor's in economics from Brooklyn College in New York while tending bar at Joe Fitzgerald's Last Stop Inn in Rockaway.
Beers were 15 cents at Fitzgerald's, and Hickey and his pal Johnny Skelly dealt them with the deft moves of slick point guards. "The one thing I learned is never pick a fight with a bartender," says Hickey. "They all stick together. The job teaches you teamwork."
Hickey has been a key player on SI's ad team for 24 years. He signed on after stints with Ski magazine, Candy Industry & Confectioners' Journal and the Yellow Pages, for which his pitch was so polished that he persuaded Brooklyn plumber Eddie Moriarity to buy space way over in the borough of Queens. During that time, Hickey married his high school sweetheart, Marita, and they have raised four daughters.
Hickey sold his first ad at SI—for Foster's Lager—in 1967. The original invoice still hangs on a wall in his office. Since then, he has skippered our sales offices in Cleveland, Chicago and New York, and for the past five years he has been our advertising sales director. Under Hickey's direction, SI has generated record ad sales revenues each year. As associate publisher, Hickey will continue to oversee SI's ad sales, and he will also coordinate our business-related Olympic activities as the Games of 1992 approach.
Clearly, Hickey wears various hats. His favorite, a blue USA Hockey number, hangs on another wall of his office. At the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, Hickey and hat were ensconced six rows behind the Soviet net when Mike Eruzione slapped in his famous game-winning shot in the semifinals. A photo of the goal appeared in our March 3, 1980, issue, and you can just make out the behatted Hickey in the background. There he is in the framed picture that's on yet another wall of his office.
I would feel somewhat remiss if I didn't mention Hickey's remarkable Olympic-pin collection. He has more than 2,000, but you won't find any of them enshrined in his office. After all, a guy has got only so many walls.