By Owen Pence/Boston Globe
Joe Sullivan is taking a buyout offer and stepping down as sports editor of The Boston Globe. Current digital sports editor Matt Pepin will take over as head of the section on July 9.
Sullivan came to the Globe in 1994 after years on New Jersey’s journalism circuit. Among Sullivan’s stops included the Trenton Times, the Paterson News, the Morristown Daily Record, and Asbury Park Press, where he was the sports editor before moving northeast.
In Boston, Sullivan served 10 years as the Globe’s Senior Assistant Sports Editor before being promoted to editor of the section in 2004, months before the Red Sox ended their famed World Series drought. As editor, Sullivan oversaw eight titles among Boston’s four main professional franchises and headed countless projects that branched beyond the playing field, highlighting unique trajectories with a personal tilt.
“The championship nights are the things I’ll remember most,” said Sullivan. “Especially the 2004 Red Sox; how magical it was in the newsroom that night when the Red Sox finally broke the Curse of the Bambino. To experience championships in all four sports in such a short amount of time, I just remember those nights when those championships were clinched as being really magical.”
Around the office, Sullivan was known for a kind temperament buttressed by boundless knowledge of horse racing and college basketball. Always warm and welcoming should he spot you in the office, Sullivan took a gentle but assured approach in imparting wisdom upon the countless young journalists whose careers he helped launch.
“I never considered that my career would lead me to the Globe,” said Sullivan. “I thought it was unattainable for someone like me. I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten the opportunity to work here. To be the sports editor, it’s unimaginable really.”
Pepin is excited to fill Sullivan’s sizable shoes.
At the Globe, Pepin stood at the forefront of a digital transformation that shifted how the paper covered professional sports. Beginning as boston.com’s sports editor in 2009, Pepin transitioned to the Globe’s parent site in 2014 before overseeing coverage on both platforms this past year.
“I’m looking forward to continuing our progress toward more detailed and innovative digital storytelling,” said Pepin. “The small gains that we’ve had by the digital crew only can be brought out in a much more widespread use across the whole staff so that everyone can be working on multimedia projects, everyone can be doing as much as they can in terms of audience engagement. The possibilities are endless with a staff of writers and editors like we have at the Globe.”
His previous stops include the New Haven Register and the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y.
“I think [Matt is] one of the brilliant minds in sports journalism today, especially when it comes to digital thinking,” said Sullivan. “We do well as a digital sports section. With Matt at the head I think we’re going to improve, move forward, and really be a trendsetter in that area.”