A digital special section of | Subscribe

Tom Penn

Tom Penn

ESPN NBA analyst | Los Angeles FC owner | Class of 1993

Any trip down Illini memory lane for Tom Penn starts at the IMPE pool — and for good reason.

“That’s where I spent most of my time as a graduate assistant swim coach and where I met my wife, Melissa Whitfield” from the UI Class of 1995, he says.

Before going on to big jobs in the NBA (Portland’s vice president of basketball operations), ESPN (on-air basketball operations expert) and Major League Soccer (president and part-owner of the Los Angeles Football Club), Penn himself was an elite athlete.

A swimmer at Spalding Academy in his native Peoria, he went on graduate with honors from Notre Dame before attending the UI for law school.