Rick Reilly, ESPN.com’s long-time front-page columnist, has decided to go part-time. Beginning July 1, Reilly will let his weekly column go and concentrate on television duties for ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown, presenting his weekly four-minute human interest features as well as other features and essays for SportsCenter and Sunday NFL Countdown.
“It was an unusual request,” Reilly joked. “I’m thankful they’re letting me do it.”
“Rick consistently produces compelling features that are poignant, uplifting and oftentimes hilarious, and he will continue to be part of our storytelling on Monday Night Countdown and other programs,” added Mark Gross, senior vice president, production and remote events.
Reilly, who will be inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) Hall of Fame on June 9, will continue to work on books and screenplays, foster his Nothing But Nets anti-malaria campaign, and travel the world.
“I’ve been writing sports for a living, non-stop, since I was 20,” said Reilly, 56. “I figured out recently that I’ve published over two million words, all on sports. I’m ready to try something new.”
Reilly began writing for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine in 2008. He was at Sports Illustrated for 23 years before that. He has been named National Sportswriter of the Year 11 times. In 2009, he won the Damon Runyon Award for Outstanding Contributions to Journalism.
“Thanks to ESPN.com for six wildly fun years, especially to [senior deputy editor] John Hassan and [Vice President, Editorial, ESPN Digital & Print Media] Patrick Stiegman. There’s a reason it’s the best sports website in the world.”
Stiegman added: “Rick consistently distinguished himself with his unique voice, penchant for humor and most important, ability to find and tell compelling stories. His weekly columns were regularly among the most read and shared on our site, and the body of his work over the course of his writing career speaks for itself. He’s a Hall of Famer for a reason.”
Reilly’s newest book — a collection of his best ESPN work — is due out May 13. It will be his 11th.