Melissa Isaacson joined the Medill faculty full-time as a lecturer in the fall of 2017, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in writing, reporting and sports reporting, after serving in an adjunct capacity beginning in 2009.
An award-winning sportswriter for more than 30 years, Isaacson worked most recently for ESPN in its international division, covering a variety of beats from the Olympic Games to professional tennis. In 19 years at the Chicago Tribune, she was the principal beat writer covering the Michael-Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in the 90s and later the Chicago Bears for seven seasons.
Isaacson was also on the staffs of Florida Today, USA Today and the Orlando Sentinel, where she covered the NFL, NBA, college basketball, football and tennis, receiving AP Sports Editors awards for beat writing, investigative and feature reporting. She was awarded the Chicago Headline Club’s Peter Lisagor Award for top feature story of 2008 for her Tribune Magazine story on her parents’ struggle with Alzheimer’s.
Isaacson is the author of three books: “Transition Game: An Inside Look at Life with the Chicago Bulls”, “Sweet Lou – Lou Piniella: A Life in Baseball”, and “State: A Team, A Triumph, A Transformation”. Her most recent book, “State,” recounts her experience on her state championship-winning high school basketball team and the transformational journey that occurred shortly after the passage of Title IX.
Isaacson and her husband, Rick Mawrence, have a daughter, Amanda, a 2017 graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Masters candidate at Rush School of Nursing, and son, Alec, a tuba performance major at the Bienen School of Music.