Habits: Chris LaPlaca, SVP of comms, ESPN

Chris LaPlaca, SVP of comms at ESPN, divulges who he'd call in a crisis, his most regrettable career moment, and the most distinct aspect of his personal office.

Morning ritual
Up early – I've found I'm much more productive when awake. Fire up PDA to catch up on headlines while helping get my two little girls ready for the day. 
 
First PR job
My family owned a restaurant when I was a kid, and a columnist from a regional paper was a regular customer. I gave him a one-pager on my family and the restaurant when he decided to write about our place; he used much of it. I had no idea then, but that was my first PR job.   

Proudest career achievement
Evolving and being “at the table” for most of my 30 years at ESPN. I've seen so much change in my three decades here. Our flagship program, SportsCenter, epitomizes that. Our role is valued here. Being part of a team that thrives in a culture I believe to be unique in our business brings me great satisfaction.    

Most regrettable career moment
On a late Friday afternoon in 1980, I said this to a fellow from The Wall Street Journal who called wondering about this new thing, ESPN: “...We also televise table tennis, bocce, and other junk like that.” Junk!  I slept three hours that weekend, plotting my next career move. Turns out the guy was a marketer, not a reporter. Bullet dodged. Lesson learned. Remember it like it was yesterday.    

Most distinct aspect of your personal office
I've been told by a guy in the biz he could fashion a cool museum display from the 30 years of sports and ESPN memorabilia he noticed 10 seconds after entering my office. I focus more on the pictures of my family and my kids' artwork. 

Person to call in a crisis
We recently lost someone I would call: Joe Goldstein, a longtime and legendary sports publicist in New York City. Another friend is Hank Rieger, who broke the “Marilyn Monroe is dead“ story. There is nothing he hasn't seen. 

Mentor
First, my dad, who passed a few years ago. Self-made guy who worked hard and treated people right and with respect. Tom McElroy gave me my first real “job” in sports PR while an undergrad at St. Bonaventure. Rosa Gatti hired me at Brown University and later brought me to ESPN. There isn't space for me to outline all she has done for me. 

Ideal job, if not in PR
Running youth sports leagues. I coached my oldest daughter when she was a kid, and then she and I coached youth teams together. Kids, sports, and fun just go hand in hand.

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