Item: Brandon Triche becomes the latest connected to SU athletics to appear on the iconic cover of Sports Illustrated.
Sure, Sports Illustrated, too many of its readers has diluted its famous cover in recent years with regional covers more often than not, successfully designed to sell more newsstand copies targeted to different audiences for an industry that’s been going in the wrong direction for such sales most of this century.
So along with Indiana’s big man Cody Zeller, Louisville rival Peyton Siva, and Kansas point guard Elijah Johnson on the magazine’s three other regional 2012-13 college basketball preview issue covers, the senior Triche (2009-present) is honored to represent the magazine’s highest ranked eastern team, the number-11 Orange (number-8 Duke is considered a southern school), and by our count becomes the 14th Syracuse representative on the SI cover, national or regional.
The magazine debuted in August 1954, and just four years later, the Oct. 27, 1958 issue, there was Syracuse quarterback Chuck Zimmerman (1956-58) front and center on the cover dressed in orange from head to almost toes, apparently looking to quiet down an Archbold Stadium crowd while calling the signals at the line of scrimmage heading towards the west end zone of the old concrete bowl.
The picture, however, was taken the season before, a 20-19 upset loss to Holy Cross on Nov. 9, 1957, so you could sort of say the SI cover jinx was in effect even back then.
Following the 1959 national championship season, it was only fitting that Syracuse would grace the SI cover the following September for the college football preview issue.
But it wasn’t an Orangeman such as future Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis or head coach Ben Schwartzwalder that was pictured, but rather cheerleader Lois Goetz (Carter) (’60) in a shot taken during the West Virginia game at Archbold the previous year.
It would be 28 years until another Syracuse full cover shot (there were two insert cover photos of Rony Seikaly (1985-88) and Stephen Thompson (1987-90) in 1987, but they don’t really count).
For the 1988 college basketball preview issue, the magazine wanted both top incoming freshmen Alonzo Mourning of Georgetown and the Cuse’s Billy Owens (1989-91) on the cover. Only problem was Hoyas coach John Thompson didn’t allow his freshmen to talk to the media for the first semester, yet alone be on the cover of a national magazine.
With Thompson putting the kibosh on the idea, SI sent photographer John McNally to Manley Field House where he shot Owens dunking the ball for the solo cover shot.
Following the 1996 national title game loss to Kentucky, Otis Hill (1994-97) was pictured on the cover battling for the ball with the Wildcats Antoine Walker.
The 2003 national championship season produced a regional and two national covers of Carmelo Anthony (2003) prior to, and following the Final Four in New Orleans, including the “Sweet Victory” cover chronicling the win over Kansas.
Since the ’03 title, Gerry McNamara (2003-06) appeared on the March Madness issue cover in ’04, ’05 and ’06, while Eric Devendorf (2006-09) appeared with Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert promoting great college hoops rivalries for the 2007-08 preview issue.
Jonny Flynn (2008-09) was on both the March Madness cover and a regional cover by himself prior to the Sweet 16 in 2009, while Wes Johnson (2010) was on a featured regional cover of the March Madness issue the following season.
Mascot Otto (1990-present) made the March Madness cover in 2005, and again in ’11 joined by Rick Jackson (2008-11).
Jim Boeheim (1962-present) finally made the SI cover of the March Madness issue last spring, along with Dion Waiters (2011-12), now coming full circle to this year’s squad and senior leader Triche.Brad Bierman (Follow on Twitter @BradBierman)