Best of Wes: Alumni in Sports
Despite graduating from Wesleyan with degrees in fields such as economics or psychology, several Wes alumni went on to pursue jobs in sports and athletics. While some became professional athletes on nationally-recognized teams, others delved into coaching, refereeing, sports reporting, and team management. In this “Best of Wes” article, read about Wes alumni who turned their love of the game into a lifelong passion and career. We’ll include another Alumni in Sports feature next week! (Interested in other Wesleyan-themed lists? Check out our previous “Best of Wes” pieces.)
In March 2020, Rob King ’84 was named vice president and editor-at-large of ESPN content. In this role, King defines the content division’s journalistic direction and acts as an advisor to ESPN’s leadership team on complex editorial issues, while ensuring ESPN’s commitment to journalistic excellence remains at the highest level. King previously served as senior vice president of original content, focusing globally on all of ESPN’s award-winning long-form storytelling and enterprise journalism. Prior to joining ESPN in 2004, he worked for three newspapers as a reporter. At Wesleyan, he ran track, played basketball, and majored in English.
Wesleyan’s women’s tennis team standout Eudice Chong ’18 is presently playing professionally and ranks No. 376 in the world in singles play and No. 158 in the world in doubles. Chong made NCAA history as she became the first collegiate tennis player—female or male in any division—to win four straight singles titles. She also won a doubles title as a junior for a total of five national championships. A three-time NESCAC Player of the Year, Chong concluded her final season at Wesleyan with a 30-2 overall singles record while going a perfect 30-0 against Division III competition. She also won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Oracle Cup in both singles and doubles in 2017, the ITA National Senior Player of the Year in 2018, and the Division III Honda Athlete of the Year in 2018. Chong majored in psychology and has a minor from the College of East Asian Studies.
Amos Magee ’93 is the director of player personnel for the Minnesota Thunder soccer team, and as an athlete, was the Thunder’s all-time scoring leader. Between 2006 and 2015 he served as the manager or assistant manager of Minnesota Thunder, US Maccabi, Portland Timbers, and D.C. United. At Wesleyan, Magee helped lead the men’s soccer team to an ECAC Championship and school-best record of 15–1–1 in 1991. Magee is the Cardinals’ all-time leading scorer (35 goals and 85 points), was a NCAA Division II All-American in 1992, and is now a member of the Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame. Magee, a history major, was inducted into the United Soccer League Hall of Fame in 2008.
Former Wesleyan rugby player Marysol Castro ’96 is the first female PA announcer for the New York Mets at Citi Field, and also the first Latina PA announcer in Major League Baseball. After college, Castro went on to be a features correspondent for the weekend edition of Good Morning America, a weather forecaster for The Early Show, a news anchor at WPIX in New York, a traffic reporter and anchor at WTNH-TV in Connecticut, and host of ESPN’s Premier Boxing Champions. She majored in government.
New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick ’75, Hon. ’05, P’07, ’15 began his career right out of college working as a special assistant with the Baltimore Colts. In 1977, he began coaching stints with the Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, and New York Giants. He served as the head coach for the Cleveland Browns (1991–95), the assistant head coach for the New England Patriots and New York Jets (1996–1999), and returned to the Patriots in 2000 as the head coach, where he has since led the team to six Super Bowl championships and nine appearances. At Wesleyan, economics major Belichick was a football, squash, and lacrosse letter-winner, serving as a team captain for the 1975 lacrosse squad. In 2002, Belichick received Wesleyan’s Raymond E. Baldwin Medal, the highest honor awarded by the alumni body for extraordinary service to the University and to the public interest. He received an Honorary Degree during Wesleyan’s 2005 Commencement, and in 2008 became an inaugural member of Wesleyan’s Athletics Hall of Fame. In 2017, Wesleyan dedicated the Belichick Plaza in the Freeman Athletic Center in recognition of the leadership and generosity of Bill and his daughter, Amanda Belichick ’07.
In April 1968, Ambrose “Amby” Burfoot ’68 became the first collegian to win the world’s oldest continuous marathon event, the Boston Marathon, with a time of 2:22.17. After that feat, Burfoot continued road racing for eight years, including a near-American record in the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan in December 1968 (2:14.29), and a 10th-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1976. Remaining an avid fitness runner, Burfoot is proud of two finishes in the 54-mile Comrades Marathon in South Africa (1993 and 2006), an event he considers the world’s greatest footrace. Since 1963, he has competed in the Manchester (Conn.) Road Race on Thanksgiving Day each year, with nine victories. He’s served as an editor of Runner’s World magazine since 1978 and executive editor since 1985. He has written four books on the subject of running, including The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life and his favorite, The Principles of Running. Burfoot has been inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, the Road Runners Club of America Hall of Fame, the Running USA Hall of Champions, and the Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame. At Wesleyan, Burfoot, a psychology major, was undefeated over four years of cross-country dual races and won several New England and IC4A college division cross-country titles. He placed as high as sixth in the NCAA Cross Country Championship for All-America honors on two occasions.
After a productive career as a cross-country and track runner at Wesleyan before his graduation, sociology major Bill Rodgers ’70 became one of the best-known marathon runners in the world. Winning his first event, the Bay State Marathon, in 1973, Rodgers went on to capture the first of his four Boston Marathon titles in 1975, setting an American record with a time of 2:09.55. Twice he qualified for the U.S. Olympic team, competing in Montreal in 1976 but sitting out the 1980 Games in Moscow due to the American boycott. His third Boston Marathon win in 1979 was timed in 2:09.27, again establishing an American record. Track & Field News ranked Rodgers as the world’s No. 1 marathoner in 1975, 1977, and 1979. He won more than 20 marathon events in a span of 11 years (1973–1983). Rogers continued to compete into his 40s and posted a time of 2:20.46 in Boston to place fifth in the master’s division in 1990. He was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 1998 and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1999. The author of numerous books on the art of running, Rodgers established the Bill Rodgers Running Center in Boston in 1977, a family business. He’s also a member of the Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame.
American Olympian Jeff Galloway ’67 is the author of Galloway’s Book on Running and the CEO of Galloway Productions, which hosts hundreds of training programs annually. He also owns two running specialty stores. He has written several books on training and writes a monthly column for Runner’s World magazine. A lifelong runner, Galloway was an All-American collegiate athlete and a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team in the 10,000 meters. Galloway, a history major, earned All-American honors in cross-country and track at Wesleyan.