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Stefanie krasnow sank her teeth into sports at an early age—when she was eight, to be exact. Krasnow and some of her fellow third-graders at Happy Hollow Elementary School in Wayland, Mass., were playing dodgeball during recess when one of their nonparticipating classmates stole the ball. The thief was Robbie Most, the son of then- Boston Celtics announcer Johnny Most. Krasnow led the chase, and upon reaching Most, grabbed him and firmly clamped her incisors onto his arm. "It was the only way I could get the ball back," Krasnow says, gleefully.
Eighteen years, one visit to the principal's office and several apologies later, Krasnow still demonstrates a certain determination in pursuing the ball. Last month she was named SI's chief of reporters, becoming, at 26, the youngest person in the magazine's history to head an editorial department.
Krasnow's promotion made her the manager of our team of 18 reporters and six writer-reporters, a group that works in an office compound fondly known as the bullpen. "Stefanie is resourceful, patient and diplomatic; she knows sports, and she has a good sense of humor," says Jane Wulf, who after eight years as head of the bullpen moves on to become our special-projects editor. "She's the perfect person for the job."
Krasnow began developing the requisite leadership and journalistic qualities during those happy days at Happy Hollow. In a display of precocious diplomacy, a six-year-old Stefanie convinced her mother to extend her 8 p.m. bedtime by nine minutes during hockey season, because she had calculated, more or less accurately, that the first period of Bruins telecasts didn't end until 8:09 p.m. Krasnow wrote her first sports piece, a profile of Bruin left wing Don Marcotte, when she was in the second grade. And by the time she entered the fourth grade, she had begun keeping a rudimentary filing system on a variety of sports subjects. "I would cut out pictures of everybody from Fred Lynn to Nadia Comaneci, paste them into a scrapbook, then write captions for them," she says.
Eight years later, Krasnow took her passion for sports to the University of Pennsylvania. As an opportunistic junior, she volunteered to help operate the scoreboard at the Palestra in exchange for a season pass to Big Five basketball games. That same year, 1985, Krasnow became sports editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian, the first woman to hold that job in the paper's 101-year history.
Krasnow graduated from Penn with a B.A. in English, then spent two years as a research editor at Sport magazine before joining SI as a reporter in 1988. Despite her youth, she doesn't sound like she'll have any trouble asserting her authority with SI's reporters. "It's like the inmates running the asylum," she says of her new position. But she quickly adds, "If they get out of hand, I'll whip them into shape."
The bullpen should take note. Her bite, we fear, may be worse than her bark.