DEAR READERS, you may not know the name Jane Bachman Wulf, but you do know her work. Perhaps no person has done more to promote the careers of sportswriters in the U.S. over the last 40 years than she did. Bambi, as she was known, died last week of cancer at 62, and over a 21-year career at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, she hired, counseled and mentored dozens of staffers, including Steve Rushin and Jon Wertheim and many others who have taken her teachings elsewhere, like CBS's Armen Keteyian. Bambi is the Jane Appleseed of sports journalism.
A native of Wellesley, Mass., Bambi came to SI from Mount Holyoke in 1977 and became Chief of Reporters five years later. She hired SI reporters, the entry-level editorial job, often taking chances on unproven talents and giving them a chance to prove themselves.
Bambi was not only a boss but also a cheerleader. The office was sunnier because of her. And she didn't see why others shouldn't be as happy as she was. She sometimes hired people with an eye toward romantic compatibility, matching them with previous hirees, perhaps because she had found happiness with an officemate herself.
Bambi and Steve Wulf were married in 1984 and have four kids. Like so many others, Steve, who wrote for SI and Time for two decades and for ESPN for the last 20 years, would tell you that he would not be the great writer he is without his wife's counsel.
It is an understatement to say that Bambi touched hundreds of people. There are the future Hall of Fame sportswriters but also all the spouses and children and children's children whose lives are better because of her.
Bambi will be missed terribly, but her spirit will live for generations.