In an interview at Lambeau Field I, Luther Abel, had the chance to sit down with Lawrence Alum Mike Spofford, the Senior Writer for Packers.com. During the course of the interview, we discussed Mr. Spofford’s time at Lawrence, his career and his myriad experiences working for the Green Bay Packers.
Luther Abel: How did you come to attend Lawrence?
Mike Spofford: I grew up in Platteville, Wisconsin and my folks are LU Grads class of ’66 … I didn’t go to Lawrence because my parents went there but… Of the [schools] I visited I liked it the most; it was a good fit and I certainly never regretted the decision.
L.A.: What did you go to Lawrence for?
M.S.: I went [to Lawrence] planning to be an English major to get into writing as a career in some way, shape or form, thinking about newspaper mostly. So I majored in English. [I wanted] to learn how to write, worked at the school newspaper, ended adding a second major in Spanish so I ended up with a double degree.
L.A.: How would you say your experience at Lawrence prepared you for the world post-graduation?
M.S.: For me, it’s always been about communication and thinking skills. Communication primarily being writing, you know, in this digital age with people connecting via text and email. People don’t really learn how to write or how to communicate in a very formal manner anymore. I’ve always leaned on how I learned to write and communicate at Lawrence. As far as thinking skills, I don’t remember everything about all the Shakespeare I’ve read, or everything about Don Quixote, but what I do remember is sitting in those classes in discussions with other students and with the professors and being taught how to think … Using literature as a vehicle to develop critical thinking skills is something [that] will always be a part of my background.
L.A.: What would you tell your 20-year-old self at Lawrence? Any wisdom to impart?
M.S.: I guess I would just say never take writing skills for granted because there are [many] people out there in communication jobs for companies and corporations who don’t know how to write clearly and effectively. They don’t know the standards of grammar and syntax and paragraph construction. If you have those skills and you can write and … communicate effectively, there is always going to be a job out there for you. I firmly believe that. I’ve seen too many people in communications jobs who don’t know how to communicate, and I don’t know how they got the job they got.
L.A.: What was your go-to meal in the Commons?
M.S.: Oh, the old Downer commons. I’d have to say BLTs, when they had BLTs for lunch, man, you could grab as much bacon, lettuce, tomato …[and] put it together yourself kind of thing. That was probably my go-to.
L.A.: How did you get from Lawrence to Senior Writer of the Green Bay Packers?
M.S.: When I left Lawrence I went straight to graduate school, a twelve-month master’s program at Northwestern. It was a full school year plus summer. Summer of ’95 I finished my master’s and then got a job as a sports writer at the Daily Herald in Wausau, Wisconsin, then came over here to Green Bay with the Green Bay Press-Gazette for five and a half years and then got the job with the Packers website in 2006 and [have] been here ever since.
L.A.: What is a quality that both a senior writer and a nose tackle must have in order to succeed?
M.S.: I think you just have to be dedicated… A nose tackle does a lot of grunt work, dirty work, a lot of physicality and getting beat up and not getting a lot of credit for the work you do. So you have to have a level of dedication to do that. I went through with you what the schedule is like through the season and the challenges that come with this job, doing it to the best of your ability. To work that hard at it, you have got to dedicated, you have to love it because it has to be fun or else it’s not worth it. It’s too much work to not enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t be able to find the dedication. The dedication is what I owe the readers. They’re counting on me, those who read me regularly … they are counting on me to give it my best all the time.