This is a signal week in the almost 20 years that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has been in existence. The magazine you are reading is the first published under the direction of Roy Terrell, our new managing editor, and the first since May 1960 in which that position on our masthead has not been filled by the name of Andre Laguerre. UCLA's winning streak of 88 is certainly distinctive, but Laguerre, who relinquished his post last week, headed our staff for 704 consecutive issues, a record for managing editors of Time Inc. publications.
Although Laguerre will remain with the company in a top editorial capacity—first, he will study the feasibility of an overseas edition of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED—his departure from these pages is something of a wrench for all of us. During his nearly 14 years as managing editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's circulation rose from 900,000 to 2,250,000, its annual advertising revenue from $11.9 million to $72.2 million. In an era when some of the old giants of magazine publishing were failing (Collier's, the old Saturday Evening Post, Look, LIFE), SPORTS ILLUSTRATED grew mightily. Laguerre's part in that extraordinary growth was vital. A close-mouthed, self-contained man who seemed forbidding to some, he was the source of many of the exciting and, at the time, radical ideas that helped this magazine flourish in the face of television's supposedly invincible challenge to any form of pictorial journalism. Foremost among his innovations was his insistent use of late-deadline photographs in color. Today, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED gives its readers more such color photography than does any other publication in the world.
Despite his reserve, Laguerre's personality was pervading, dominating; he exuded strength and leadership. He could also display great personal charm, and he commanded affection and loyalty from his staff. As Mark Kram chanced to write, in the last sentence of the very last story Laguerre edited for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, "He was a singular man...."
Roy Terrell, who came to us from the Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times in June 1955, was personally selected by Laguerre, then an assistant managing editor under Sidney L. James, to go with him to Melbourne, Australia, for the 1956 Olympic Games. There, the two were instrumental in efforts to bring defecting Hungarian athletes to the U.S. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Terrell was the busiest and most versatile writer on our staff. In addition to the Summer Olympics, he covered football, baseball, basketball, track and field, Alpine skiing and the Winter Olympics, as well as such esoteric pastimes as cricket and soaring. According to one of our senior editors, who will brook no argument, Terrell in those years was "without question the best general sportswriter in the country."
In 1962 Terrell turned from writing to editing, and a year later Laguerre made him an assistant managing editor. In 1970 he became executive editor. Now he is a most welcome choice as the third managing editor in our magazine's rewarding history.