Former Dallas sports columnist Skip Bayless has made almost as many headlines as the athletes he’s covered. Always out-spoken whether in print, on the radio, or on ESPN, his spats with coaches, editors, and publishers are legendary. His three books on the Cowboys put the front office in a tizzy. Fellow journalists have long been jealous of Bayless’ ability to get the right interviews and turn a quick phrase and, worse, to earn big bucks doing it: in 1982, Bayless was the subject of a bidding war between the Morning News and the now-defunct Times Herald, and two or three times in his tumultuous Dallas years he was the highest paid writer in the city.
A change of scenery has not led to a change in the pattern. In 1998, Bayless left Dallas for the Chicago Tribune and an offer few sportswriters could refuse: a late-night deadline for a front-page, post-game column. “I really connected with Chicago,€VbCrLf he says. “It was great to be writing for a big platform paper.€VbCrLf
But 18 months ago, Tribune editor Marie Ann Lipinski changed the rules. She overruled the sports editor and began limiting Bayless’ column to 700 words and placing any extra work deep inside the section. When Bayless sent her a memo listing how this change negatively affected the impact of his column, Lipinski never responded.
According to Bayless, the encroachments got worse until he considered the original deal null and void. As he told his editor John Cherwa, “I didn’t move here to run on page 17.€VbCrLf
Bayless seems his usual confident self but hedges when asked about his future employment options. Any chance he’ll return to add some spice to the Dallas sports scene?
“Sure,€VbCrLf laughs Bayless. “But before I do anything I’m going to Oklahoma to play golf with my mom.€VbCrLf
I’ll Take Manhattan
Booker T. Washington-the Dallas arts magnet school-has another name to add to its roster of successful grads. Norah Jones just signed a major record deal with legendary jazz label Blue Note Records. By breaking in to the top ranks of the recording industry, 22-year-old Jones joins a list of Booker T. alumni who’ve hit it big in the music industry, including Erykah Badu, jazz trumpeter Roy Har-grove, and award-winning gospel group God’s Property.
After studying jazz piano for two years at UNT, Jones traveled to New York on vacation and never came back. There she was inspired to write her demo, First Sessions, which led to a six-album deal with Blue Note. Her first album is scheduled to hit stores next February.
Asked if she considers herself a Texas girl, Jones laughs. “When I lived in Texas, I only listened to jazz. But now that I’ve moved to New York, the Texan in me has come out. Now, all I listen to is Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, and Loretta Lynne. I’m in my Texas phase now that I’m in New York.€VbCrLf
Crystal Bernard Guns Her Way to Broadway
Dallas native Crystal Bernard has re-placed Reba McEntire in Annie Get Your Gun. Bernard joined the cast of the Tony Award-winning musical in late June and is scheduled to star through at least December. Fans of Bernard’s sitcom days might be surprised, but this Texan had her sights set on musical success long before she considered acting.
Bernard gained fame on the popular TV series Wings, but her musical career began at age 3. She traveled with her father, a gospel singer, as a child. The Bernards recorded 12 gospel albums before her TV career began at the age of 17. She recorded a hit song in the ’90s “(I Wanna Take) Forever Tonight,€VbCrLf a duet with Peter Cetera. She wrote songs for Paula Abdul, Lisa Stansfield, and Tracie Spence, among others. She’s also recorded two country albums, The Girl Next Door in 1996, and the critically acclaimed Don’t Touch Me There in 1999.
However, musical theater is a new venture for Bernard, who celebrates her 40th birthday this month. But Bernard believes her “backwoods€VbCrLf roots are perfect for playing Annie Oakley. So far the reviews have all been raves.
|How to Become a Yalie |
When Ben Breunig suits up for the Yale Bulldogs this fall, he’ll be among friends-literally. Since 1997, four players from Lake Highlands High School have been recruited to attend Yale University on full academic scholarships.
The Lake Highlands-to-Yale connection started when Yale inside linebacker coach Shawn Halloran was tipped off about Richardson’s Lake Highlands. Not only does the school have strong academics but its championship football team just happens to run the same defense as Yale’s. The Ivy League university only offers academic scholarships, so Yale’s coaches have the tough task of recruiting athletes who are intellectually qualified to handle an Ivy League curriculum. In 1997, Halloran spotted linebacker Stuart Satullo on the Wildcats’ practice field. Satullo made an easy transition from Dallas to New Haven, and in his sophomore year led the league with 32 tackles. Three other Wildcats have followed Satullo: Kenneth Esterera, Lawton Lawrence, and now Breunig, whose father Bob Breunig was an outside linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys.