Wayne A. Drehs II, 00BA, is an Emmy Award-winning journalist for ESPN.com, a leader in multimedia storytelling, and one of America's best young sports writers.
Drehs' innovative work has earned him accolades for transcending traditional definitions of sports journalism and weaving broader themes of the human experience into his narratives.
After graduating in 2000 from the University of Iowa—where he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and covered a myriad of sports stories for the Daily Iowan—Drehs joined ESPN.com. As a senior writer on the website's features/enterprise/investigative unit, he has spent the past 12 years writing about everything from lost dogs to hockey pucks.
Drehs' stories have appeared online, in print, and on the air, receiving play on ESPN.com and on the cover of ESPN Magazine, as well as on ESPN TV's "SportsCenter," "Outside the Lines," and "E:60." His pieces have also broadcast on ABC's "World News," "Nightline," and "Good Morning America."
According to Bill Casey, publisher of the Daily Iowan, Drehs is "not necessarily interested in the game story' . . . but about the people on the sidelines . . . . He takes his reader to those places that are usually off limits."
Drehs' transformative and inspirational features include a 2006 story about the first high-school football team in the Arctic—a piece that moved a Florida woman to establish "Project Alaska Turf" to raise $1 million for an artificial football field in Barrow, Alaska. He also wrote a feature in 2007 about Jason Ray—a mascot from the University of North Carolina tragically killed outside his team hotel—which appeared on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and prompted more than 50,000 Americans to become organ donors. In addition, Drehs' 2011 piece about Iowan Charlie Wittmack's attempt to complete the World Triathlon was the first ESPN story to appear on five separate media platforms.
More recently, Drehs worked with Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney and Triple Threat Television on the critically acclaimed ESPN Films baseball documentary, Catching Hell, also making a personal appearance in the picture.
"For Wayne, this is a passion, a calling, a mission," wrote Jena Janovy, Drehs's deputy editor at ESPN.com, in her nomination letter. "His energy is contagious; his enthusiasm unwavering; and his curiosity endless . . . . He has redefined what it means to be a cross-platform, multimedia journalist."
Drehs has shared his energy and experience with UI students and faculty during frequent visits to campus. He has hosted a Daily Iowan reception in his hometown of Chicago, and, in 2011, he participated as a Hearst Professional-in-Residence through a UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication program that brings prestigious visiting lecturers to campus.
In addition, Drehs was named a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan in 2009. The recipient of three Emmy Awards and two additional Emmy finalist nominations, he is also the winner of two National Headliner Awards and an Eppy Award from Editor & Publisher.
No matter how or where he tells his stories, Wayne A. Drehs is a rising star in the ever-evolving world of journalism.