Melissa Isaacson: Niles West Alum and Award-Winning Author


By Alli Lipsit, Staff Writer

Niles West is home to many prominent alumni; whether it be athletes, scholars, or musicians, many people attend our very own Niles West before their rise to success.

For example, athlete, journalist, public speaker, and professor Melissa Isaacson. Not only is Isaacson the author of three books, one of which was just released and is all about one of the first Niles West women’s basketball teams, (which we’ll get to later) but she is also a teacher at Northwestern University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate communications programs.

Prior to teaching at Northwestern, Isaacson was a journalist for the Chicago Tribune and a beat writer for the Bulls during their well-known winning streak in the 90s, and later on, a beat writer for the Bears as well.

That’s right: she was the first female beat writer for both the Bears and the Bulls?

Before Isaacson was wowing sports fans (and fans in general), she was winning the first-ever state championship for the women’s basketball team on one of the first-ever women’s basketball teams here at West.

Isaacson’s latest book “State” tells the inspiring story of the first state championship won by the women’s basketball at West. But this book isn’t another cliche basketball book about a team’s rise to triumph.

The story is about the rise to triumph, but that’s not the only thing the book focuses on. Alongside the overall story of the team winning state, are the chilling stories of the girls on the team, and what they were all going through at the time of the win. Facts and stories that hadn’t been discovered until as soon as 25 years after the game.

One of the members on the team even happens to be our very own Rebecca Tuecke, so if you’re interested in reading about Tuecke in high school, “State” is definitely a book to check out.

For those interested in hearing more about Isaacson and her book, she will be discussing the book at Bookends and Beginnings in Evanston on Thursday from 6-7:30 pm.

Isaacson will also be holding a panel, along with other members of the state championship team, on Oct. 11, at Northwestern University as well.