Category Archives: 5 Questions

5 Questions for…

Jon Wiener ’06
On August 1, a new ESPN radio show “Home Cookin’,” hosted by Jon Wiener ’06, premiered on Jackson, Mississippi’s 105.9 The Zone. “Home Cookin’” will feature weekly live tailgate shows; interviews with players and coaches of the New Orleans Saints; local high school wrap-ups and features; and inside reports on Ole Miss, Mississippi State, The University of Southern Mississippi, and the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

How did the opportunity to host your own radio show come about?
After Williston, I attended Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and majored in English. As a student I did some sports writing and broadcasting and I even called the “Miracle in Mississippi” play where Trinity used 15 laterals on the final play to beat Millsap College in the SCAC title game. I went to Syracuse University where I received my Master’s Degree in broadcast and digital journalism and got a job at Fox40 Sports in Jackson. This spring I started occasionally filling in on the radio show at 105.9, then in April they pulled me aside and said, “We’re looking for an afternoon show and we think you’re the guy.” I made a pitch to them, and they were interested enough to take it to the next step. Continue reading

5 Questions for…

Ali Potasky ’08
Our “Five Questions for…” is a regular series featuring alumnus/a interviews. This month we chatted with Ali Potasky ’08 who recently received a grant from The Dressage Foundation to work with renowned horse trainer Morten Thomsen in Denmark.

How did you first become interested in riding?
My mom liked animals so much that she would take us to riding lessons when I was really young, like seven years old. Now I am considered a professional rider.

How did the riding program at Williston make a difference?
If I hadn’t been able to ride everyday at Williston, then I wouldn’t be where I am now. That time in the saddle was really crucial; there were really good instructors, and access to really good facilities and horses.

How did the opportunity to work with Mr. Thomsen come up?
Morten Thomsen, the man I’m going to be working for, has ridden in the Olympics for Denmark and is the coach of several U.S. Olympians. I received a grant from The Dressage Foundation to have a lesson with him, because the lessons are pretty expensive. He knew that I was looking for more of a riding position. Right now, I am the barn manager and I do a lot of horse care, the not-so-fun work. A week after our lesson, he called me asked if I wanted to come to Denmark and work for him. Mr. Thomsen travels to the U.S., Italy, and Germany to teach, so I’m going to be riding and helping out with his horses while he’s away. I am so excited!

So you’re going to be doing a lot more of the training of the horses?
Right and that’s kind been my goal for the last four years. Right now I’m sort of an assistant trainer in the way that I’m shadowing this very seasoned professional.

What are your career goals in terms of training horses?
Well, I want to have my own training business, and clients, and horses that I compete. I love competing – some people don’t really love competing, but that’s my favorite. To me it’s really exciting and it makes it easier to set goals. It is sort of like playing soccer without ever having a game.

Ms. Potasky has been in Denmark for the past two months. You can follow her on her blob as she competes in European horse shows:

5 Questions for…

Kirk Minihane ’94
A radio personality and sports journalist for Boston’s WEEI 93.7 FM, Mr. Minihane stopped by campus on April 18 to speak to Diane Williams’ Sports Studies class.  Mr. Minihane will be back on campus on Saturday, June 8 as the emcee for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony during Reunion Weekend.

How did your career in sports journalism begin?
That’s a crazy journey.  I graduated from Emerson College and moved to Los Angeles in 1997. That was a rough few years where I had some momentum, but it didn’t work out. I moved down to La Jolla and worked at The North County Times, writing sports. Then I went to Upper Deck, a baseball card trading company, where I was an editor for a few years. I was freelancing for newspapers when Rob Bradford, an editor at, asked if I wanted to return to Boston. In 2010, I returned to be a columnist on a new website WEEI was launching. Then they put me on the radio and I’ve started doing that a little more. It’s really worked out well, and it’s fun.

What was it like the first time you were on radio and TV?
The first time I was on the radio was in 2009. During the first break the producer called me in and said, “You’re whispering. I can’t hear anything you’re saying, and you’re falling away from the microphone.” The first time I was nervous, but after a while you kind of forget that you’re doing it. Once you realize you’re on TV or the radio, you’re in trouble.

Who has been your favorite person to interview?
Bill Parcells was good. He’s smart, and when I interviewed him he was in a nostalgic mood. I think we caught him on a good day. I like talking to him a lot. I ‘ve had Dustin Pedroia on a couple times; he’s been good. But good sports talk radio is so often not about the interview. The interview can sometimes bog down the show.

If a Williston student wanted to be a sports journalist, what advice would you give him or her?
It’s a tough business. It’s hard to figure out what it’s going to be like, not 20 years, but two years down the road. Seriously though, if it’s your passion and it’s the only thing you want to do, you’ve got to try and do it, but you’ve got to be smart and right from the start find a place to intern.

Does your wife share your love of sports?
A little bit, I’d say she tolerates it. If I don’t have to watch a game, I’m not just going to watch some random thing. Those days are over. Now you have to watch Downtown Abbey!

5 Questions for…

Kaitlin Hopkins ’82
We caught up with Kaitlin Hopkins, head of the musical theatre program at Texas State University San Marcos, who is currently travelling between Texas and Chile where she is helping found the first musical theatre program in the country.

How long have you been teaching?
It’s sort of a weird answer, I’ve been coaching master classes on and off for 15 years.  While I was working professionally it was something I loved to do.

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival is a very famous college festival that travels around the country, breaking it down into 8 regions, and judging performances, and the regional winners then compete in the national finals in Washington…About 10 or 12 years ago they approached my husband and I, who is also a professional performer, and asked us to judge and teach master classes…It was something we started doing to give back and honestly we loved it, we just loved it.  That was sort of the beginning of us realizing we were teachers.

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