Middlebury

ESPN to Re-Air Butch Varno Feature

December 17, 2003

ESPN will re-air the seven-minute feature on Butch Varno as a part of its Christmas Eve and Christmas morning SportsCenter shows. The segment will air during the 6-7:30 p.m. show on Christmas Eve as well as the following SportsCenter shows running continuously on Christmas morning.

The segment captured the longtime tradition among Middlebury College athletes of picking up Middlebury native Varno at his apartment and bringing him to home football and basketball contests. Varno is unable to provide his own transportation due to the cerebral palsy that confines him to a wheelchair. The ESPN piece will mark the second time Varno has been the subject of a national media story. Earlier this year, he and the Middlebury students who assist him, were the subject of Rick Reilly's column in the March 10 issue of Sports Illustrated.


The story explores the wonderful relationships that have developed over the years between Varno and numerous Middlebury athletes. Several people were interviewed for the piece, including students, alumni and administrators, who have been involved with Butch throughout his 42-year relationship with the College.


ESPN came to the Middlebury campus twice this fall to gather footage and interviews for the piece. Producer Andy Tennant and his crew were in Vermont the weekend of Sept. 27 as well as Oct. 11. Chris Connolly, whose resume includes work with ESPN, ABC's "20/20" and MTV, was the reporter who covered the story.