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Volume 23 No. 18
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Sports only part of the story

Paul Finebaum shows no signs of ceding his college football role, but he wants to do more. A big step in that direction arrives next month with the premiere of “Homecoming,” an SEC Network series of in-depth interviews featuring notable non-sports alums from SEC schools.

Finebaum’s first “Homecoming” interview is with Apple CEO Tim Cook, an Auburn grad. Finebaum met Cook in 2015 — as part of an Auburn football weekend, of course — and eventually coaxed Cook to meet for an on-air interview.
Their conversation was filmed this year as Cook toured his alma mater and delivered a pep talk to the football team.

A second “Homecoming” episode, to be aired this fall, finds Ole Miss law school alum and best-selling legal thriller author John Grisham discussing the writing life with Finebaum after an appearance at Square Books in Oxford, Miss.

Finebaum hopes to do more interviews in that vein. His interests run well beyond football and, whether it’s talking tech with Cook or seeking literary insight from Grisham, Finebaum finds those conversations fascinating.

Mike Slive, the former SEC commissioner who counts Finebaum as a close friend, pointed to Finebaum’s disparate interests beyond football as a key ingredient in his success.

Over quarterly lunches at the Brio Tuscan Grille in Birmingham, Finebaum and Slive conducted a regular book exchange, picking titles for one another and discussing what they liked and why. They also share the same birthday: July 26.