BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Moving back to Bloomington. Apparently, that's a thing
And if it's good enough for Bob Knight, it's definitely good enough for me. I've come and gone from Bloomington many times since I first set foot on campus in 1976, but the torrid love affair between me and the town — and our beautiful campus — has never faded.
So, yes, it's awesome to be back.
My name is Tom Brew and this new website that launches this morning is going to be great. That's my promise to you. It's all Indiana all the time — football and men's basketball for now, but that will grow quickly down the road. I'm a storyteller and a people person, and with these two teams at critical crossroads right now, there are many great stories to tell.
And it starts today with Media Day for the 2019 Indiana football team. I'll be there as a fully credentialed media member with a name brand, not some guy writing from his couch. We'll get you prepared for the season and the many position battles that are still to be determined during camp. We'll have fresh content up very soon, and every day going forward. We'll get to basketball soon too, probably real soon. We're going to have fun. I'm going to, and you are, too. That's another promise.
My Indiana roots go way back. I spent four years here in Bloomington from 1976 to 1980, the class between the two national championships. I covered basketball for two-plus years and had an interesting time, both good and bad. Mostly good, and I left Bloomington well prepared for my professional journalism career.
I spent the first decade at the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, and one of my roles was as a national college basketball writer. (Yes, newspapers used to do that!) I was back to Bloomington often for big games, spent a lot of time here in 1984 with Coach Knight and the U.S, Olympic team, and wrote about Indiana's run to the 1987 national championship.
The last one.
A few years and a thousand stories later, I was the assistant sports editor of the Indianapolis Star for four years from 2008 to 2011. It was great to be back home in Indiana. I worked with several people who I had known since college — and will be looking forward to seeing again — and I helped bring aboard many young talented writers, many of whom I'll see every day again, too. We did some great work together, all of us.
It was fun until they called me one day while I was at the grocery store. I got laid off along with 785 other people in the Gannett chain that day, a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk in my arms. The call lasted all of 30 seconds; that's how little it meant to them. Yes, newspapers do that, too. And they've been doing it every since to more good people.
I have owned a book publishing company for the past three years — more on that in a minute — and I've also stayed busy with several online sports projects, many of which catered to teams in the Big Ten and SEC. Sort of, really, because they catered so much to football, and they've basically ignored Indiana. I never liked that much.
So I watched and waited for the right opportunity to come along to do an Indiana-specific site. That happened this summer after Maven and Sports Illustrated joined forces to set up a powerful and interesting sports platform with awesome content over dozens and dozens of sites.
My introduction to this platform came through Christopher Walsh, who runs the Maven/Sports Illustrated Alabama site, www.bamacentral.com, Chris and I just published an Alabama football book in July called "Decade Of Dominance" that's selling like crazy, and during our several months together, we talked about Maven, and then the SI deal and then the fact that they really needed an Indiana site. I picked his brain and had several conversations with other Maven executives. I was duly impressed.
And here it is.
Indiana is home to me. I was born and raised in Schererville, a true Region Rat. During my time in Indianapolis, I got to spent a lot of time in Bloomington again, and got to get reacquainted with several of the former IU players and coaches that I covered through the years.
In 2016, I pitched an IU basketball book idea to Terry Hutchens, my dear friend from the Indianapolis Star. We lost Terry far too soon last year and, gosh, I miss him so much. We wrote a book together called "Missing Banners'' that you all loved very much. I've since published 16 books, but that one is still my best-seller. And my personal favorite.
It was a big hit with the IU fan base, and it was fun to do because I got to sit down again with several players from the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Terry and I spent a year or two doing events all over the state — and the country, for that matter — at bookstores, games, and alumni gatherings, and it was so much fun. I did a second IU basketball-related book, "Jadlow On The Rebound'' with former IU basketball player Todd Jadlow, that you didn't like so much, and I got that. It came and went quickly. Live and learn with the choices you make on projects, and life goes on. No one bats a thousand.
From me, you'll get a ton of great stories here on this site about the present, but we'll share the past as well. I learned that from doing the "Missing Banners'' project, that you all love the legacy and legends of our Hoosier past. I love that, too. So this is the place to be and I hope you come visit every day. Get signed up and be a part of our community, and enjoy the conversation. It's going to grow like crazy.
Thanks for letting me say hello.
It's good to be home.