Fall 2014

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Dave Revsine: Football Firsts

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Listen to Dave Revsine's A Day with Northwestern presentation on his new book.

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Curious about the origins of America’s love affair with college football, Dave Revsine hit the history books. With help from Northwestern University Archives, the former history major delved into the early years of college football in his new book, The Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation (Lyons Press, 2014), and discovered that questions about amateurism, academic improprieties and recruiting shenanigans have been with the game from the beginning — as has its immense popularity. Revsine ’91 started writing a biography of Australian Pat O’Dea — a University of Wisconsin kicker who booted a record 62-yard field goal against the Wildcats in 1898 — and quickly stumbled onto the bigger story. “When I read that there were 50,000 people at a game in New York City in 1893, I understood why universities embraced this as a way to market themselves,” he says. “We can’t go back to the way it used to be because it never changed. It’s just the scope that’s different.” Revsine, son of the late Kellogg School of Management professor Lawrence Revsine ’63, ’65 MBA, ’68 PhD, ’91 P, covered sports for WNUR as a student. After a “miserable” year as an investment banker in New York, he decided to give sports reporting a shot. Within three years Revsine landed at ESPN. In 2007 he became the lead face of the Big Ten Network. He and his wife, Michele, live in Oak Park, Ill., with their three daughters.