Although Associate Editor Bill Colson considers himself "an ex-tennis player," he still plays with the likes of former U.S. Davis Cupper Ham Richardson three or four times a week. He has a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University. He starred in three sports at Coral Gables (Fla.) High School; he was captain of the Princeton tennis team for two years; according to Associate Writer Steve Wulf, he "looks like a Ken doll"; and, good gosh, he doesn't even eat sugar. Withal, Colson remains remarkably down to earth.
Which is saying something, because Colson, as you have undoubtedly gathered, has had plenty of chances to develop a swelled head. For example, he won the national 18-and-under clay court title in 1968, the same year he was named the outstanding high school scholar-athlete in Florida. Along the way, he beat such future touring pros as Vitas Gerulaitis, Gene Mayer, Roscoe Tanner and Brian Gottfried. But when the 100 or so college scholarship offers came in—football and basketball were his other sports—he passed up hardcore jockdom for the Ivy League.
Good things kept coming Colson's way. On the Friday of the last football weekend of his junior year he met Nancy Meyers on a blind date. Two years later, in 1972, they were married. Nancy forwent Mount Holyoke to take her junior and senior years and an M.B.A. at Indiana while Bill worked on his doctorate. He wrote his dissertation on The Dream Songs of poet John Berryman, not exactly the sort of undertaking one might think would lead to his being employed by Family Weekly, a national Sunday newspaper supplement. Yet in 1976 that's exactly where Colson landed, in what he calls "an ideal first job. I got to do just about everything, from writing and editing to going out on ad sales calls."
When Colson joined SI as a reporter in June 1978, his first beat was, quite naturally, tennis. When he was promoted to associate editor a year ago, he began handling our coverage of tennis, hockey and the media.
Now, the 31-year-old Colson is at his desk through Sunday nights and into Monday mornings, closing late-breaking and other stories. This week, in addition to the profile on Islanders Goalie Billy Smith (page 70), he edited the WCT-Grand Prix story (page 26), the Chip Hooper article (page 61) and the TV/Radio column (page 64). Asked how he felt at lunch on Monday, Colson said, "The way I did when I was cramming for my qualifying exams in graduate school."
He and Nancy, a product manager at Chesebrough-Pond's, are now living in Greenwich, Conn., where Nancy works, and because their weekends don't coincide, they have a standing date for lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at a small restaurant called Dorothy's Place. "It's ironic," Colson says. "While I was working for Family Weekly I decided to teach a literature course at Mercy College in Westchester, and Nancy said, 'How can you work on Saturday mornings? It will ruin our weekends!' "
THE COLSONS: THEY HAVE TO GO ON MEETING LIKE THIS