Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Sports Illustrated writer becomes professor

“Some of my fondest memories growing up were going to Nebraska games with my dad,” Anderson said. “My dad was a big time athlete, and I grew up playing basketball, soccer and actually won a state championship in tennis and just fell in love 
with sports.”

Although an athlete and avid sports fan, Anderson attended college with politics, not sports, as his main goal. After a short time helping with Bob Kerrey’s presidential campaign before his senior year, Anderson realized that politics wasn’t 
for him.

“The whole process just really turned me off,” Anderson said. “I thought I was going to go up there and be inspired, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I was going to.”

Anderson thought it was time for a change and started working for the school newspaper, leading him to apply for graduate school. He attended Columbia University in New York and earned his masters degree in journalism.

“One of my professors in graduate school was a former editor for Sports Illustrated,” he said. “He sort of opened a door for me at Sports Illustrated, and we became very close. I was able to get a sixth– month tryout as a fact checker and would write some small stuff here and there.”

Anderson passed his tryout during his six-month stint and was writing for Sports Illustrated at 23 years old. He lived in New York for the next 14 years and then moved to Birmingham in 2005.

“It was a little bit easier to cover college football and NASCAR here in Alabama than it was in the upper east side of Manhattan, where I had been living and working,” Anderson said.

For the next six years, Anderson covered a wide variety of sports and even became an adjunct professor at the University.

Many of the current faculty members think having Anderson at the University full time now will be even more beneficial than when he was an adjunct professor.

“I do think having Lars in the department will attract new students to the college and to the journalism major,” said Wilson Lowrey, current chair of the department of journalism. “The growing interest in sports and sports journalism generally will make his classes and our other sports courses even more popular.”

With more than 20 years of experience writing for Sports Illustrated, appearing on ESPN and writing books, Anderson brings an exciting amount of real world application into the classroom.

“I try to rely on my own experience, and I use the model of what I went through at Columbia in my classroom,” 
Anderson said.

Students see the impact of having Anderson at the University full-time as well. Alexis Winborne, a freshman majoring in journalism, said she is looking forward to Anderson’s class.

“With all of the opportunities our school has to offer, it’s nice to know that someone who has been where I want to be can teach me things he knows from his experiences,” she said.

Anderson said he considers his newest book, “The Storm and The Tide,” about overcoming tragedy and the human spirit in Tuscaloosa after the April 27, 2011 tornadoes, the most important thing he has done in his career.

“Asking people to go back and revisit the worst part of their lives, when they had to identify their child or kiss them on the forehead for the last time in a makeshift morgue, you have to give something back,” he said.

Anderson left Sports Illustrated this spring and said he is looking forward to his new role as a full-time professor at 
the Capstone.

“Part of the arrangement I have will still give me time to write and get out there,” Anderson said. “I just signed 
on to do another book, I’m contributing for the SEC Network, I’m doing a few 
things for and some long–form stuff for Bleacher Report too. I feel like I have the best of both worlds. I’m able to teach,
 and I’m still able to practice journalism.”

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