Award-Winning Journalist Michael Weinreb to Speak on Campus
Esteemed sportswriter and Penn State graduate Michael Weinreb is coming to town. Through the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, Weinreb will speak about his latest book, college football, and journalism at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30 in the Foster Auditorium of Paterno Library.
His new book, Season of Saturdays, is a chronological march through the history of college football, using 14 seminal games as the starting point for an examination of what the sport means, where it fits in society, and the ways it has changed and been shaped by popular culture.
“This might be the most fun I’ve ever had writing a book. I have an institutional knowledge and grew up with it,” said Weinreb, who first attended a college football game in 1978 at Beaver Stadium. “This is a book about college football, but it’s also a book about America and where college football fits because it’s such an inherently political sport. There’s just so much depth from its regional and historical context to racial issues and changes in society. There’s a lot to try to capture.”
Weinreb’s family moved to State College when he was five-years old. He made his way through the State College Area School District before enrolling at Penn State. He earned his journalism degree from the university in 1994, and started working as a sports reporter with the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio after graduation.
After hopping from job to job at multiple news outlets, Weinreb went to graduate school for fiction writing at Boston University. He’s written three books, including The Kings of New York, a compelling story about a Brooklyn high school chess team, which was named one of the best nonfiction books of the year by Amazon.com and received the 2007 Quill Award for best sports book.
Growing up in State College, Weinreb shares his close ties to Penn State in the book, including a description of his first visit to Beaver Stadium and the legacy of former head coach Joe Paterno. In fact, of the 14 games that appear in the book, Weinreb highlights two Penn State games — the crushing loss against Alabama in the 1979 Sugar Bowl, and the Nittany Lions triumph over Miami in the 1987 National Championship Game.
Although Weinreb has traveled the country since graduation and has lived in cities like Akron, Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, and currently San Francisco, his father, Steve, continues to work as the Russell and Mildred Marker Professor of Natural Products Chemistry at Penn State.
Throughout his career, Weinreb has contributed to numerous newspapers and magazines. A passionate fan of college football, he writes about the sport for numerous outlets. He has written for GQ, The New York Times, ESPN, Grantland, and has been featured on ESPN’s “30 for 30” short film series. Weinreb is currently a contributing writer at Sports On Earth.