The third week in December is always a hectic, if festive, one for Herman Weiskopf and his family. In addition to Christmas, Herm and his wife Jo-Ann celebrate their wedding anniversary (this year's was the 22nd) and the birthdays of two of their four children, Lydia, 18, and Joshua, two. The third week in December is also rather hectic, and festive, for college basketball teams, as BASKETBALL'S WEEK (page 35), which Weiskopf writes, will attest. Because of an accelerated holiday closing schedule, and with a score of holiday tournaments being held across the country, Weiskopf had to run a fast break on his typewriter last week. But even with the rush, he considers BASKETBALL'S WEEK less taxing to write than FOOTBALL'S WEEK (more lines) or BASEBALL'S WEEK (a longer season), both of which he is also responsible for. "Nevertheless, there is more organization involved in BASKETBALL'S WEEK than in the others because of the number of teams and games," he says.
During basketball season, Weiskopf estimates he spends 15 hours a week preparing to write the roundup, select the outstanding player of the week and rank the top three teams in the East, Mideast, Midwest and West. In ranking teams, Weiskopf, like a coach, goes with the one with the hot hand. "You look at a team's record and the schedule it plays. You try to go with the one that is impressive at the moment. I get the first whack at ranking them," Weiskopf says, "but [College Basketball Editor] Peter Carry can make any revisions he feels appropriate."
While a journalism student at Penn State, Weiskopf covered track and field for the college paper, traveling with the team for three years. After getting his BA in 1955, he spent 14 months as "the one-man sports staff" of the Lock Haven Express, a small daily in a town 40 miles northeast of Penn State. He joined SI in September of 1956, hired to replace someone drafted into the Army. Weiskopf assured his boss he was safe from the draft because of a bone disease in his leg, contracted as a teen-ager. "I was under doctor's care, under ultrasound treatment and had to wear a brace on my knee for almost nine years," he says. He was also drafted a month after he was hired.
Since his return in October of 1958, Weiskopf has reported on pro football and major league baseball, and is the resident expert on professional bowling and collegiate wrestling. He has covered the Professional Bowlers Association tour and the NCAA wrestling championships, and written profiles of Earl Anthony, the PBA's leading money-winner; Dan Gable, former Olympic wrestling champion, now wrestling coach at Iowa; and 400-pound Chris Taylor, 1972 and 1973 NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion. He has also written three sports books: Felipe Alou: My Life and Baseball (1966); On Three: Inside the Sports Huddle (1975); and The Perfect Game (1978), a history of bowling, selected by The New York Times as one of the best sports books of the year in—when else?—the third week of December.
WEISKOPF: GOING STRONG ON THE WEEKS