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Xavier Magazine | October 17, 2017

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Sports Centered

Most people would find Jon Bon Jovi singing “It’s My Life” for a commercial being filmed at their workplace a little distracting. For Tom DeCorte, however, it was just another day on the job at ESPN.

“Working here, you learn to be around people you see all the time,” says the 1998 graduate. “You lose the star-gazed mindset.”

DeCorte has certainly seen his share of stars covering everything from college basketball to the Super Bowl. As a production assistant at ESPN, he was at the Superdome when the underdog Patriots beat the favored Rams this year.

“It really pumped me up,” says DeCorte. “It was a great experience to be at the biggest sports event in the U.S. and to see what goes into producing it.”

Producing things is key to DeCorte’s position. It’s his job to come up with ideas for feature stories on all the sports ESPN covers.

“I can be doing anything one day, like soccer, baseball or hockey, and be doing something completely different the next day, like a story on the best slam dunkers in college basketball,” he says. “You never know what you’re going to be doing so you have to be ready to do anything at any time.”

To that end, DeCorte spends a lot of time in the TV room where ESPN has over 100 televisions covering different sporting events, shows and press conferences. All this saturation hasn’t dulled DeCorte’s love of sports.

“I find I watch less sports when I’m off now,” he admits, “but if there’s something I want to watch I’ll still watch it. Once you lose your love of sports, you lose your edge for the job.”

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