A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media graduate student is covering Ole Miss sports for Sports Illustrated magazine this semester.
John Gillespie, a native of Vardaman, said he heard about the job “through the grapevine.”
“Adjunct instructor Jeff Roberson, who I also consider a close friend, approached me about Sports Illustrated’s desire to relaunch their team website that had been dedicated to Ole Miss coverage,” Gillespie said. “The site had been dormant for about a year or so. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but then I had a conversation with my friend and classmate, Cameron Breeland, about the opening, and I thought, ‘Why not? Let’s reach out and see what they say.'”
Gillespie said there was a month-long process of establishing a business plan and a sales pitch to the editorial team at SI.
“But once all of those hurdles were cleared, we were up and running late last week, just in time for the Rebels’ football season-opener against Louisville,” he said “I have to give a special thanks to Matt Galatzan, a fellow Ole Miss alum, as well for helping me through this process and running the site alongside me. He also covers Texas and Texas A&M for SI, but being able to cover our alma mater for one of the nation’s premiere sports media brands is a pretty nice setup.”
Gillespie, a graduate of Vardaman High School, was valedictorian and star student of the class of 2016 with an ACT score of 34. He graduated from UM in the spring of 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a minor in southern studies. He is now in his second year in the Master’s of Arts in Journalism program with plans to graduate in May.
“I grew up infatuated with Ole Miss,” said Gillespie. “My parents are alums of the university, and I spent many a childhood day taking rides around the campus and watching Ole Miss sports on television or listening on the radio. From a young age, I always knew I wanted to attend Ole Miss just like my parents before me. When the time came to apply and send transcripts in my latter years of high school, I only sent my transcript to one place: here. I never looked back.”
Gillespie said he’s prepared to go “wherever God leads me” after graduation.
“Part of me has a desire to teach journalism at the university level while continuing to do sports writing and other forms of journalism,” he said, “but we’ll see what doors open up.
“I will say this, however: if God wants me to stay in Oxford, Mississippi, for the rest of my life, I am totally on board with that plan. There’s a certain magic and mystique to this place that creates some of the most fertile ground for writers in America, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”