Mixing his usual tongue-in-cheek humor with a with a few sincere observations on his past, television personality Kenny Mayne preached resolve to a receptive crowd Friday morning in the ICC Auditorium.

“The moral of this whole story is perseverance,” ayne said as he explained his rise from garbage-can manufacturer to ESPN SportsCenter anchor. “If you stick with it long enough, something good is bound to happen.”

Mayne told of how, after spending two years as a backup quarterback at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, he spent the majority of the 1980s trying to establish himself in the Seattle local news circuit. In 1990, frustrated by his lack of progress, ayne reentered the business that had served him well as a summer job in his youth: assembling garbage cans.

“My wife called it `my blue period,'” ayne said wryly, drawing laughs from the mostly-male audience. “Finally I got a job selling pre-paid legal insurance over the phone.”

Shortly thereafter, Mayne took a job as a freelance reporter with a relatively unknown sports network, ESPN. By 1994, that small network had skyrocketed to the top of the ratings. When ESPN2 launched, Mayne latched onto the rising star. By 1997, Mayne was a full-time anchor on SportsCenter, ESPN’s premier show.

“I had gone from legal insurance to ESPN,” Mayne said. “I stuck in there, but it was rough at first.”

Mayne spoke of how he overcame personal tragedy as well, recalling the 1996 deaths of his twin baby boys early in his career. “My wife and I were as low as we could be,” he said. A smile then broke across his face as he began to tell about the birth of his two daughters several years later.

“When we finally let [the death of our sons] go, we had two daughters,” Mayne said. “They are five, and they both know what pass routes to run when I audible.”

Mayne also talked about his recent appearance on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

“I hate reality T.V., but Jerry Rice was doing it, so I decided to do it,” Mayne said.

Mayne listed playing T-ball with Stevie Wonder and having Dale Earnhardt nurse him back to health after Mayne got sick on the late NASCAR legend’s yacht among the highlights of his sports journalism career.

The speech was sponsored by the Lecture Fund.

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