Tom is a pioneering journalist, analyst and social entrepreneur whose leadership has created breakthrough opportunities for stakeholders throughout the sport and health sectors. He also is author of the influential book, Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children.
He founded the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program, the mission of which is to convene leaders, facilitate dialogue and inspire solutions that help sport serve the public interest. Two years later, in 2013, he launched Project Play, an initiative that provides stakeholders with tools to build healthy communities through sports.
Tom’s work as a journalist has been recognized among the nation’s best and most innovative. He left the Seattle Times to join the internet startup Starwave in 1996, helping develop, as deputy editor, the website that later became ESPN.com. In 1998, he became the first ESPN reporter to conceptualize and deliver cross-platform enterprise reports. His ESPN contributions over 21 years helped build the reputation of the television show Outside the Lines, winning many national honors, including two Emmys, a 2013 Edward R. Murrow Award, and a 2014 Alfred I. duPont/Columbia University Award – ESPN’s first. His reports also appeared on SportsCenter, E:60, ABC’s World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and This Week with George Stephanopolous.
At the Aspen Institute and ESPN, Tom has explored the connections between sport and the largest themes in society, including education, globalization, technology, race, and ethics. He is best known for advancing dialogue around college and youth sports, with The Nation writing in 2017 that Tom “has done more than any reporter in the country to educate all of us about the professionalization of youth sports.” His 2008 book Game On, an investigation of contemporary youth sports, has been used as a text on many college campuses, and the Project Play reports he has co-authored have been used by many organizations to shape strategy or introduce youth programs.