Bill Russell was the cornerstone of the Boston Celtics` dynasty of the 1960s, an uncanny shotblocker who revolutionized NBA defensive concepts. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a 12-time All-Star, the angular center amassed 21,620 career rebounds, an average of 22.5 per game and led the league in rebounding four times. He had 51 boards in one game, 49 in two others and a dozen consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds.
His many individual accolades were well deserved, but they were only products of Russell`s philosophy of team play. His greatest accomplishment was bringing the storied Celtics 11 championships in his 13 seasons. Until the ascent of Michael Jordan in the 1980s, Russell was acclaimed by many as the greatest player in the history of the NBA.
William Felton Russell was born on February 12, 1934, in Monroe, Louisiana. His family moved cross-country to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Bill attended McClymonds High School in Oakland. He was an awkward, unremarkable center on McClymonds`s basketball team, but his size earned him a scholarship to play at the University of San Francisco, where he blossomed.
Russell grew to be a shade over 6-9, and he teamed with guard K. C. Jones to lead the Dons to 56 consecutive victories and NCAA Championships in 1955 and 1956 (although Jones missed four games of the 1956 tournament because his eligibility had expired). Russell was named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 1955.
Russell averaged 20.7 points and 20.3 rebounds in his three-year varsity career. By his senior season he had matured into a dominant force who could control a game at the defensive end. With the 1956 NBA Draft approaching, Boston Celtics Coach and General Manager Red Auerbach was eager to add Russell to his lineup. Auerbach had built a high-scoring offensive machine around guards Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman and undersized center Ed Macauley, but he hadn`t been able to muster the defense and rebounding needed to transform the Celtics into a championship-caliber club. Russell, Auerbach felt, was the missing piece to the puzzle.
However, because of their second-place finish the year before, the Celtics would be picking too late in the draft to get Russell. And because Auerbach wanted to use a territorial selection to nab Holy Cross star Tom Heinsohn, Boston would forfeit its first-round pick altogether. So Auerbach began to think trade, and he set his sights on the St. Louis Hawks, who owned the second overall pick in the draft.
The first pick belonged to the Rochester Royals, but that team already had a promising young rebounder in Maurice Stokes, and Auerbach knew that Royals owner Les Harrison was not going to pay Russell the $25,000 signing bonus he was asking for. Rochester selected guard Sihugo Green, who played nine seasons in the league with five different teams (including, ironically, the Celtics in 1965-66).
St. Louis owner Ben Kerner was willing to talk trade, and the key was Macauley. The 6-8 center was a six-time All-Star at that point and a local hero in St. Louis, where he had grown up and then starred for St. Louis University. Auerbach could afford to give up Macauley if he was getting Russell, but it was not until Boston agreed to add rookie Cliff Hagan to the mix that Kerner consented to the trade. The deal brought the Hawks a championship in 1958, but it brought the Celtics a dynasty.
In that same draft, Boston added Heinsohn, who would be NBA Rookie of the Year for 1956-57, and K. C. Jones, Russell`s college teammate who would also become a stalwart of the Boston juggernaut.
Russell didn`t join the Celtics until December because he was a member of the 1956 U.S. Olympic basketball team, which won a gold medal at the Melbourne Games in November. The Celtics had bolted to a 13-3 start, and when Russell arrived he adapted quickly. Playing in 48 games, he pulled down 19.6 rpg, the best average in the league, while scoring 14.7 ppg.
Boston`s starting five of Russell, Heinsohn, Bob Cousy, Bill Sharman, and Jim Loscutoff was a high-octane unit. They posted the best regular-season record in the NBA in 1956-57, waltzed through the playoffs, and were heavily favored in the Finals against Bob Pettit`s St. Louis Hawks. The teams traded victories until the series came down to a dramatic Game 7 in Boston. Tom Heinsohn scored 37 points for Boston, but the Celtics couldn`t pull away. Last-second scores by the Hawks sent the game into overtime and then into a second extra period. The Celtics finally prevailed, 125-123, for their first NBA Championship.
In only part of a season Russell had added a new element to the Celtics and to professional basketball. For the previous few years, the Celtics had been an unstoppable offensive machine led by 20-point scorers Cousy and Sharman, both future Hall of Famers. But Boston had lacked the rebounding and defense to win it all. Now Russell brought a new level of defensive artistry, intimidating opponents with blocked shots and proving that it didn`t take a scorer to dominate a game.
Energized by their championship, the Celtics won 14 straight games to start the 1957-58 season, and they kept rolling. In his first full season in the NBA, Russell took command and led the league with 22.7 rpg. Early in the season, against the Philadelphia Warriors, he set an NBA record for rebounds in a half by grabbing 32 and wound up with 49 for the contest. Although he was tough and durable, the slender Russell was not a muscleman or a big banger. His rebounding prowess derived from positioning, anticipating where the shot would come off of the rim and moving quickly to the ball. His game was as much analytical and mental as it was physical.
Boston posted the league`s best regular-season record that year, finishing atop the Eastern Division at 49-23. The Celtics then returned to the NBA Finals for a rematch with the Hawks, who had won the West with a 41-31 mark. The teams split the first two games at Boston Garden, but when Russell went down with an ankle injury in Game 3, the Celtics` fortunes plummeted. With Russell ineffective the rest of the way, St. Louis won that game and two of the next three to take the series.
Russell was voted the NBA Most Valuable Player for 1957-58. Oddly enough, he was only named to the All-NBA Second Team. In fact, during the five years that Russell was voted league MVP, only twice did he make the All-NBA First Team. The argument was that, while other centers were better than Russell -- that is, they had more conventional skills -- no player meant more to his team.
Russell repeated as the NBA rebounding leader in 1958-59, grabbing 23.0 per game, the first of seven consecutive campaigns in which he averaged at least 23 boards. Russell was also known for extending his effort at critical moments, both within a game and within a season. Consequently, he typically improved his rebounding numbers during the playoffs, and in the 1959 postseason he pulled down 27.7 boards per game.
The Celtics reached the NBA Finals for a third straight season and regained the crown with a four-game sweep of the Minneapolis Lakers. Russell set a Finals record with 29.5 rpg in the series, and he helped launch the greatest championship run in the history of professional sports. Boston`s 1959 title began an unprecedented and unequaled string of eight consecutive NBA Championships.
Interestingly, although Russell was not considered a skilled offensive player, he was a selective shooter and in his early years ranked regularly among the NBA`s top five in field-goal percentage. In 1958-59, for example, his .457 mark was second in the league.
Russell`s greatest adversary, Wilt Chamberlain, entered the NBA and joined the Philadelphia Warriors for the 1959-60 season, setting up a decade-long rivalry. The debate over who was the greater player would last even longer. Chamberlain put up incredible numbers during the period in which the two went head to head, but Russell helped the Celtics hang nine NBA championship flags in the Garden in his first 10 seasons.
As Celtics player Don Nelson told the Boston Herald, "There are two types of superstars. One makes himself look good at the expense of the other guys on the floor. But there`s another type who makes the players around him look better than they are, and that`s the type Russell was."
Chamberlain led the league in scoring (37.6 ppg) in his first season, and he took the rebounding crown from Russell, 27.0 to 24.0 rpg. The Celtics` center had one monstrous game, however, when he pulled down 51 rebounds against the Syracuse Nationals in the 1959-1960 season. It ranks as the second-best rebounding effort in NBA history, behind Chamberlain`s 55 against the Celtics on the next season.
What became clear, both during the 1959-60 season and over the next several years, was that basketball was a team game. As Russell later wrote: "To me, one of the most beautiful things to see is a group of men coordinating their efforts toward a common goal, alternately subordinating and asserting themselves to achieve real teamwork in action. I tried to do that, we all tried to do that, on the Celtics. I think we succeeded."
Chamberlain was great, but the Celtics were better. They improved their regular-season record to 59-16 in 1959-60, at one point running off 17 straight victories. They eliminated Chamberlain and the Warriors in the division finals, then met St. Louis again in the 1960 NBA Finals. Russell stepped up his play in the title series, setting an NBA Finals record with 40 rebounds in Game 2 (surpassed by Chamberlain with 41in 1967) . The Hawks extended the series to seven games, but Russell dominated Game 7, contributing 22 points and 35 rebounds as the Celtics won, 122-103, and notched their second consecutive championship.
While Russell was changing the way the NBA viewed defense, the league still appeared to be in an era of runaway offense, with Chamberlain leading the way. Even the defense-oriented Celtics averaged 124.5 points. Russell`s impact on the game can`t really be tracked through NBA statistics. Blocked shots were not an official statistic until 1973-74, and the league only recorded total rebounds, without distinguishing between offensive and defensive boards until that same season.
Russell was revolutionizing the game in ways that were clearly understood, even if they weren`t measured. His ability to leave his man and slide over to cover an opponent driving to the hoop was startling. He was unmatched at swooping across the lane like a big bird to block and alter shots. The rest of the Celtics defenders began to funnel their men toward Russell and become more daring with their perimeter defense, knowing that he was looming behind.
All of this played mind games with opposing shooters near the basket and had a disrupting effect as they began to sense Russell`s imposing presence. Furthermore, other centers started to model their own defensive play after Russell`s, and while they might not have been as skillful at it, it changed the way the game was played. Interestingly, Russell`s style of play also rejuvenated Boston`s offense. Many of the Celtics` points now came when Russell plucked a defensive rebound and fired an outlet pass to Bob Cousy, who would start Boston`s vaunted and deadly fast break.
The dynasty was beginning to establish itself under Red Auerbach, and "Boston Celtics" and "NBA champions" became practically synonymous as the decade progressed. The team was multitalented, with many great players, but the enduring image was that of Russell, his head thrust forward from the slight hunch of his shoulders, his eyes scanning the court, his long left arm snaking out to deflect a shot. Boston won the title again in 1960-61, and Russell was named NBA Most Valuable Player, the first of his three consecutive MVP Awards.
The next season, 1961-62, saw Russell register an 18.9 scoring average, his career high. Chamberlain`s individual accomplishments were mind-boggling: he won the scoring title by averaging 50.4 points, while the team-oriented Celtics didn`t place anybody in the top 10. The NBA players, voting for MVP, chose Russell over Chamberlain.
The Celtics added another future Hall of Famer, John Havlicek, in the 1962 NBA Draft and lost Bob Cousy to retirement at the end of the 1962-63 season. In what had become an annual routine, Boston won its fifth consecutive NBA title in 1963, and Russell claimed his third consecutive MVP Award.
The legendary center later called the 1963-64 Celtics team the best of his era. Although it was merely competent on offense, he felt it was the best defensive unit ever. Russell once again led the league in rebounding, with 24.7 rpg, his all-time high. The Celtics, rolling inexorably, topped the San Francisco Warriors in the Finals in five games, taking their sixth consecutive title, something no team in any sport at the major league level had accomplished before.
It was an era of such sustained achievement, for Russell and for the team, that even spectacular accomplishments seemed almost routine. Russell repeated as NBA rebounding leader in 1964-65, collecting 24.1 rpg, including a 49-rebound game against the Detroit Pistons that season. He also ranked fifth in the league in assists with 5.3 per game.
The season`s most dramatic moments came in Game 7 of the Eastern Division Finals, when the Celtics led, 110-109, with five seconds remaining against Chamberlain and the Philadelphia 76ers. Russell`s inbounds pass hit a wire supporting the basket, giving the Sixers the ball with no time elapsed on the clock. Philadelphia`s Hal Greer inbounded to Chet Walker, but Havlicek stole the ball to seal the victory.
That moment as called by famed Celtics broadcaster Johnny Most is an NBA treasure. In his gravelly voice Most screamed, "Havlicek steals it. Over to Sam Jones. Havlicek stole the ball! It`s all over! Johnny Havlicek stole the ball!"
The NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers was almost anticlimactic, as the Celtics claimed the championship in five games. For his play that season, Russell won his fifth and final NBA Most Valuable Player Award.
Following another NBA Championship in 1965-66, Red Auerbach retired, and Russell took over as player-coach the following season, becoming the first African-American coach in the league. He led Boston to a 60-21 regular-season record, but the Celtics finally had their string of championships snapped when they lost to a powerful Philadelphia 76ers team in the Eastern Division Finals. The Sixers went 68-13 in the regular season and is considered one of the league`s best ever, trounced the Celtics in five games to advance to the NBA Finals.
After that one-year hiatus, Boston returned to form in 1967-68, recapturing the championship under Russell`s direction. In the Eastern Division Finals, the club came back from a two-game deficit to force a seventh game with Chamberlain and the 76ers. The Celtics were leading, 97-95, with 34 seconds left when Russell took over. He sank a foul shot, blocked a shot by Walker, grabbed a rebound off a Greer miss, and fed the ball to Sam Jones, who made the final basket in a 100-96 triumph. Boston then beat Los Angeles in six games in the NBA Finals.
The 1968-69 season was even more gratifying. The aging Celtics barely made it into the playoffs with a 48-34 record, then caught fire in the postseason. In Russell`s third year as player-coach, Boston repeated as NBA champion by defeating the Lakers, who had acquired Chamberlain, in a seven-game battle for the title. The great Celtics leader promptly retired, having guided the team to 11 championships in 13 years. Russell had amassed 21,620 career rebounds, second in NBA history only to Chamberlain`s 23,924.
In 1973, Russell resurfaced as head coach and general manager of the Seattle SuperSonics. He took a team that had won only 26 games the year before and put it on a winning track, notching 36 victories the next season and then compiling a 43-39 record to earn a playoff berth in 1974-75. But Russell became frustrated at the players` reluctance to embrace his team concept. Some suggested that the problem was Russell himself; he was said to be aloof, moody and unable to accept anything but the Celtics` tradition. In any event, his enthusiasm for the task waned after his fourth season in 1976-77, and he departed.
Ironically, Lenny Wilkens guided Seattle to a championship two years later, preaching the same team concept that Russell had tried unsuccessfully to instill in his players. A decade after he left Seattle, Russell gave coaching another try, replacing Jerry Reynolds as coach of the Sacramento Kings early in the 1987-88 season. The team staggered to a 17-41 record, and Russell departed in midseason.
Between coaching stints Russell was most visible as a color commentator on televised basketball games. For a time he was paired with the equally blunt Rick Barry; the duo provided brutally frank commentary on the game. Russell was never comfortable in that setting, though, explaining to the Sacramento Bee, "The most successful television is done in eight-second thoughts, and the things I know about basketball, motivation and people go deeper than that." He also dabbled with acting, performing in a Seattle Children`s Theatre show and an episode of Miami Vice and he wrote a provocative autobiography, Second Wind.
Russell`s lack of consistent success in other endeavors hasn`t diminished his place in basketball history, and he has had no shortage of post career honors over the years. In 1970, he was named to the NBA 25th Anniversary All-Time Team. In 1974, Russell was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1980, he was named to the NBA 35th Anniversary All-Time Team. That same year, he was voted Greatest Player in the History of the NBA by the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America.
Although the arrival of Michael Jordan later in the decade may have reopened the debate over who was truly the game`s best player, what remains irrefutable is that Russell radically changed people`s thinking about how basketball games are won.
Dr. Charles Ogletree
Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and Vice Dean for the Clinical Programs, is a prominent legal theorist who has made an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and by working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law. Professor Ogletree has examined these issues not only in the classroom, on the Internet and in the pages of prestigious law journals, but also in the everyday world of the public defender in the courtroom and in public television forums where these issues can be dramatically revealed. Armed with an arsenal of facts, Charles Ogletree presents and discusses the challenges that face our justice system and its attempt to deliver equal treatment to all our citizens. He furthers dialogue by insisting that the justice system protect rights guaranteed to those citizens by law.
In 1998, Professor Ogletree was awarded the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law chair at Harvard Law School. He holds honorary doctorates of law from North Carolina Central University, New England School of Law, Tougaloo College, Amherst College, Wilberforce University, and the University of Miami School of Law.
Professor Ogletree earned an M.A. and B.A. (with distinction) in Political Science from Stanford University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. He also holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School where he served as Special Projects Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review.
Charles Ogletree began his illustrious career as a staff attorney in the District of Columbia Public Defender Service. He quickly rose through the ranks serving as Training Director, Trial Chief, and Deputy Director of the Service before entering private practice in 1985 in the law firm of Jessamy, Fort & Ogletree. Professor Ogletree is formerly "of Counsel" to the Washington, D.C. firm of Jordan, Keys & Jessamy.
Professor Ogletree is the author of the forthcoming book, All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education, published by W.W. Norton & Company, to be released in April of 2004 (www.alldeliberatespeed.com). He is the co-author of the award-winning book, Beyond the Rodney King Story: An Investigation of Police Conduct in Minority Communities, and he frequently contributes to the Harvard Law Review, among other publications. He has written chapters in several books, including If You Buy the Hat, He Will Come, in Faith of Our Fathers: African American Men Reflect on Fatherhood and The Tireless Warrior for Racial Justice, which appears in Reason & Passion: Justice Brennan`s Enduring Influence. Privileges and Immunities for Basketball Stars and Other Sport Heroes? appears in Basketball Jones, published in 2000. In addition, Professor Ogletree`s commentaries on a broad range of timely and important issues have appeared in the editorial pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe, among other national newspapers. His commentary on how to make Black America better was published in the 2001 compilation, Lift Every Voice and Sing. Most recently, Professor Ogletree has contributed a chapter entitled The Rehnquist Revolution in Criminal Procedure, which appears in The Rehnquist Court: Judicial Activism on the Right, published in 2002.
In 1991, Professor Ogletree served as Legal Counsel to Professor Anita Hill during the Senate Confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas. His reflections on those experiences are contained in The People vs. Anita Hill: The Case for Client-Centered Advocacy, a chapter of the book, Race, Gender and Power in America. He was profiled in an article in The American Lawyer entitled, Tree Time. More recently, Professor Ogletree was prominently featured in award-winning author Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot`s compelling book, I`ve Known Rivers, and in a Boston Globe magazine article entitled, Faith in the System.
In 2003, he was selected by Savoy Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Blacks in America and by Black Enterprise Magazine, along with Thurgood Marshall, A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., and Constance Baker Motley, as one of the legal legends among America`s top black lawyers. In 2002, he received the National Bar Association`s prestigious Equal Justice Award. In 2001, he joined a list of distinguished jurists, including former Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan, and civil rights lawyers Elaine Jones and Oliver Hill, when he received the prestigious Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit from the Washington Bar Association. He also held the Wayne Morse Chair of Law and Politics at the University of Oregon Law School and was a Scholar in Residence at Stanford University. In 2000, Professor Ogletree was selected by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America. He has received numerous awards, including the National Conference on Black Lawyers People`s Lawyer of the Year Award, the Man of Vision Award from the Museum of Afro-American History in Boston, the 1993 Albert Sacks-Paul A. Freund Award for Teaching Excellence at Harvard Law School, and in 1995, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor and The Ruffin-Fenwick Trailblazer Award named in honor of the first African-American man and woman to graduate from Harvard Law School. In 1996, the National Bar Association honored him with its Presidential Award for The Renaissance Man of the Legal Profession. He was also awarded the International House of Blues Foundation Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award, The Justice Louis Brandeis Medal for Public Service, and the 21st Century Achievement Award from the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts.
In addition to his strong academic focus, Charles Ogletree`s national media experience and exposure is considerable in its scope. In 2001 and 2002, Professor Ogletree moderated the nationally-televised forums, State of the Black Union and Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, produced by Tavis Smiley Productions. Professor Ogletree also served as the moderator of four of producer Fred Friendly`s seminal ten-part series, Ethics in America, which aired on PBS. Since 1990, he has moderated dozens of similar programs, including Hard Drugs, Hard Choices, Liberty & Limits: Whose Law, Whose Order? and Credibility in the Newsroom. Professor Ogletree has also appeared as a guest commentator on Nightline, This Week with David Brinkley, McNeil-Lehrer News Hour, Crossfire, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Cochran & Company, Burden of Proof, and Meet the Press as well as other national and local television and radio programs. He served as NBC legal commentator on the O.J. Simpson case.
Professor Ogletree also serves as the Co-Chair of the Reparations Coordinating Committee, a group of lawyers and other experts researching a lawsuit based upon a claim of reparations for descendants of African slaves, along with Randall Robinson, co-author of The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks.
Professor Ogletree has a long record of commitment and service to public schools and higher education. He completed ten years of service to his alma mater, as a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, and for five years served as the national Chairman of the Stanford Fund, the University`s principal fund raising organization. Professor Ogletree`s development activities have also raised substantial funds for Harvard Law and the UDC, where he currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia, a land grant and historically black college and university. He continues to serve as the Chairman of the Board of the B.E.L.L. Foundation, which is committed to educating minority children in after school programs in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. In addition, Professor Ogletree served as one of the founding members and trustee of the Benjamin Banneker Charter School in Cambridge, a school that provides educational opportunities in math, science and technology to minority children in a public school setting. Professor Ogletree attended public schools in his hometown of Merced, California, and has set up a scholarship fund there that now annually provides support for needy students who want to pursue higher education. He has also provided scholarship support for students at Harvard Law School, Stanford University, and the University of the District of Columbia.
Professor Ogletree has been married to his fellow Stanford graduate, Pamela Barnes, since 1975. They are the proud parents of two children, Charles Ogletree III and Rashida Ogletree. The Ogletree`s live in Cambridge and are members of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Faye F. Fields
Faye is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Integrated Resource Technologies, Inc. (IRT), a provider of intelligence operations support, security services, information technology support, and management services to government and private corporations. IRT has multiple project locations throughout the U.S and Korea. By virtue of its growth and market niche, IRT was awarded the Black Enterprise Magazine “Emerging Small Business of the Year” award in 2004. Most recently, In November 2007, she was featured in "Gems of Wisdom for Succeeding in the 8(a) BD Program—and Beyond," a book authored by Dr. Sharon T. Freeman and M. Charito Kruvant to assist aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Faye graduated with honors from Middleton Senior High School; she studied Nursing at the Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati, Ohio later earning a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Nursing degrees at the University of Cincinnati. She continued her education at the same university completing all of the course requirements for a Ph. D. in Business Administration. Throughout her academic career she was active in student associations and the national honor sorority, Sigma Theta Tau.
After more than 10 years in the health care field, where she served as both a service provider and an administrator in a University medical center, her interests shifted towards business and management. In 1979 she began her management-consulting career in New England at one of the most successful entrepreneurial enterprises and leading technology firms of the time-Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). At DEC she served in several capacities, to include, Senior Management Development and Internal Organizational Consultant positions.
Upon moving to Washington, DC she built on the DEC experience, working at the executive level of several award-winning small and disadvantaged businesses. After having acquired a diverse background in management, organizational development, professional and managerial training, and health service delivery and administration, the time had come to establish her own professional services firm.
In 1986 she founded IRT, Inc. based on a “business model” that maximizes talents of other small, minority, and woman-owned businesses. To this end, IRT teams with smaller businesses as subcontractors, enthusiastically shares lessons learned with aspiring entrepreneurs, and actively participates in initiatives and programs that support small business. IRT currently serves as a mentor for two start-up businesses.
For more than 17 years, she has succeeded in the demanding and highly competitive Federal Government contracting industry, building a company with contract awards exceeding $50 million dollars. At the same time that she has been totally engaged in building a business, she always has been mindful of the need to “give back” and to “reach back.” As such, Faye has shown support to deserving community initiatives, especially those that contribute to enhancing the quality of life for women and disadvantaged citizens.
In May 2006, Faye as a partner in the Lerner Family ownership group became a part owner of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball Team. This places her in a select group of no more than 2 African American Women owners of major league baseball teams.
Faye is also a member of the Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc Board, the Washington D.C. affiliate of CareFirst BlueCross and BlueShield, and the Board of Directors of South Eastern University.
Above her professional and civic contributions, she is the devoted wife of William Fields. They reside in Washington, DC and have enjoyed 33 years of marriage.
From the time I learned to read, I loved reading about sports because that told me how people reasponded to stress and, unlike war, nobody got killed. When I graduated from Indiana University I did my two years in the army playing baseball and writing propaganda and came out looking for a job in media. My first taste of the big time was covering the Bill Mazeroski World Series for Newsday.
For the next 45 years I have watched athletes--male and female--responding to pressure, both succeeding and failing. I covered World Series, Super Bowl, NBA and NHL championships, Final Fours, Indianapolis and NASCAR, and the atrocities of Little League and high school sports. I found common human elements in all. Twice, what I found, led to my nomination for the Pulitzer Prize.
All the while I was hearing the stories of how black athletes had to endure so much injustice, which led me to interview and collect what went into my newest book, "Carrying Jackie`s Torch." What I learned stunned me and I tried to pass on to the reader things that have been hidden by time. Those events, the cruelty, and the courage, should not be forgotten.
When not following or writing about sport and sports figures, I enjoy traveling with my wife, Anita, skiing, food, more skiing, more travel with Anita, casting an eye on the follies of politics, and doing whatever I can with my son Mathew, his wife, Susan, and my daughter, Neila, who showed me what goes into being a female athlete.
Elaine Weddington Steward
Elaine Weddington Steward was appointed Vice President and Club Counsel on March 7, 2002. Elaine joined the Red Sox in July 1988 as associate counsel and was named assistant general manager in January, 1990. Steward was the first female assistant general manager in Major League Baseball. She was named legal counsel in February of 1995, while continuing with her responsibilities as assistant general manager. She held the assistant general manager position until 2002. Steward was appointed a Vice President of the Red Sox on January 30, 1998.
Steward is a native of New York City and graduated with honors from St. John’s University in 1984 with a B.S. in Athletic Administration. While attending St. John’s she served as an intern in the New York Mets public relations department and was a member of the St. Vincent’s College Honor Society. She was a recipient of the prestigious Jackie Robinson Foundation Sports Management scholarship. In 1973, the year after Jackie Robinson died; his extraordinary commitment to youth was recognized when Mrs. Rachel Robinson founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The Jackie Robinson Foundation honors Jackie`s memory by keeping alive the spark and commitment that he brought to social issues. The Foundation continues Jackie`s fight for human dignity and brotherhood by supporting college-bound minority and poor young people by awarding them scholarships as they seek to develop their potential.
Upon graduation from St. John’s University School of Law in 1987, Elaine was an intern in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball through the Executive Development program. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in April of 1988 and is a member of the American Bar Association. In 1999 she was selected as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Leaders of Boston and was elected into the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers. In 2001 she received the Outstanding Alumna Award from the St. John’s University Black Alumni Association.
Don Orsillo – Biographical Brief
Don Orsillo is the play-by-play announcer for Boston Red Sox games on the New England Sports Network.
He was born in Melrose, Massachusetts where he often dreamed of being a broadcaster for the Red Sox.
Orsillo graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Communication Studies. While at Northeastern, he interned under Red Sox radio voice Joe Castiglione.
Before doing Major League Baseball games, he worked in the minor leagues announcing Pawtucket Red Sox games on the radio from (1996-2000), having previously done games for some of the New York Mets` minor league affiliates.
He has been NESN`s play-by-play man since the beginning of the 2001 season (his first game included a no-hitter thrown by then Red Sox pitcher Hideo Nomo against the Baltimore Orioles). He also called Cal Ripken Jr.`s final game.
Orsillo works with color commentator and former Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy. He is sometimes referred to by fans as "announcer boy," after he was given that nickname by Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield in a NESN commercial.
In addition to his Red Sox duties, Orsillo has called the Beanpot hockey tournanment and Boston College men`s basketball on NESN.
Orsillo was tabbed by TBS to work the Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies series of the 2007 National League Division Series, teaming with Joe Simpson.
He currently lives in Smithfield, Rhode Island with his wife, Lisa, and their two daughters, Sydney and Madison.