* Branding by storytelling.
* National awards for writing, photography and Web publishing.
* Founded and sold website to ESPN.
* Co-founded website sold to FOX.
* Managed large and small media staffs.
* Companies at the forefront of social networking and media.
* Newspaper sports columnist and reporter.
After spending 17 years as a sportswriter and columnist at The Seattle Times, I helped three startups (Rivals.com, Scout.com and HoopGurlz.com) sell to large media organizations (Yahoo, FOXSports and ESPN). The last startup, HoopGirlz, was my own; I was a co-founder of Scout.com and the editor-in-chief for its first six years. At Scout, one of the more important things I did was raise our public profile through the use of branded content, which was a pretty novel idea in 2005.
When I left newspapers, I transformed myself into a photographer and multimedia journalist. I am bringing those skills to another passion project, The Trail Posse, to document, celebrate and encourage diversity in the outdoors. My op-ed piece in the New York Times outlines much of the rationale behind my latest endeavor.
My interest in women's and girl's athletics dates back to even before the birth of my two daughters, Sassia and Mika. My editor for a vast majority of my career at The Seattle Times was Cathy Henkel, whom I credit with helping me develop a “women's touch” to storytelling. Because there were no women on the writing staff, I took up the cause of covering women's sports – from basketball and volleyball at the Seoul Olympics to the first-ever Women's World Cup on U.S. soil (when Brandi Chastain ripped off her jersey) to the first and last days of the old ABL and, of course, the WNBA.
Basketball and writing have been in my blood for a long time. My high-school yearbook is full of “see you when you are covering the Sonics for The Seattle Times.” And that's essentially what I did – cover the NBA for 17 years. But I also covered everything else – the Olympics, Goodwill Games, Final Four, Seahawks and NFL, Mariners and Major League Baseball, hydroplane racing, and lots more, literally taking me around the world. My first love always has been basketball and, when I became the first sportswriter ever to win a national writing award at the Times, it was for a profile of then-Sonic coach Bernie Bickerstaff. That story is so old, it's not even in the Times archives anymore. However, two others I won national awards for – about Gary Payton (The Son Also Rises) and Shawn Kemp (Man Child) – are still there. While we're on the subject, I've also had stories about Steve Largent (too old) and Soviet baseball (Comrades of Summer) published in books. I also was the main author of Rising Stars: The 10 Best Young Players in the NBA for SI for Kids Books. It should come as no surprise that my wife, Florangela Davila, also used to work for The Seattle Times, used to teach journalism at the University of Washington, and does work for Forterra, Crosscut and NPR affiliate, KPLU.
My longtime involvement in basketball led me to coaching. I first coached boys and adults, then turned to girls when my oldest daughter, Sassia, was old enough. Our first team was an all-Asian team called the Dragons. Our last team was the Northwest HoopGurlz. My mentors in coaching are two historical figures – Bob Kloppenburg, who developed the SOS pressure defensive system, and Ernie Woods, the winningest community-college coach in Washington history. I helped set them up with a website while I was at Rivals.com, which now is the most impressive coaching site on the Web, Hoop Tactics. My other main coaching influence is Chris Bown, my coaching partner with the HoopGurlz. I also coached briefly in the Triple Threat program, where I met Chris Hansen, who was my main guy at HoopGurlz.com. We have players now playing in college but, as objectively as I can be, the player who had the most heart, I'm proud to say, was Sassia. She loved taking charges and was unselfish, sometimes to a fault. Her personality isn't such that she was a consistently big scorer, but she put up numbers when we needed them. My youngest daughter, Mika, went to a lot of our games and still goes to a lot of games with me and loves to cheer for just about anyone. She just started Special Olympics activities, I'm proud to say, so we shortly will be able to cheer for her!
I earned two degrees – in journalism and political science – while also working on the student newspaper and in student government (I was SB vice president my senior year) at Seattle University. I also worked almost the whole time with a community newspaper chain that owned the Beacon Hill News and South District Journal, among others. I earned my Masters in American Government/Minority Affairs at Columbia University, where I studied under Charles V. Hamilton, the co-author of the seminal Black Power. I also played a lot of basketball in New York City, including down at the famous Cage down at West 4th and 6th Avenue in Greenwich Village.