Le Anne Schreiber, 73, Dies; a First Among Sports Editors

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Le Anne Schreiber was born on Aug. 4, 1945, in Evanston, Ill. Her father, Newton, worked in the photography division of Life magazine, and her mother, Beatrice, was a homemaker. Athletic growing up, Le Anne played pickup basketball and baseball in the absence of organized sports for girls.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Rice University in Houston and a master’s in English from Stanford University. While doing postgraduate work at Harvard, where she was planning for a career teaching English literature, she decided that journalism might be a more exciting pursuit. She wrote a letter in 1974 to Henry Grunwald, the managing editor of Time, suggesting article ideas.

“The ideas caught his eye,” she told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1978, and she was hired. Starting in 1974, she originally covered international politics, but she later persuaded Mr. Grunwald to send her to cover the Montreal Olympics.

“I wrote three cover-length stories in three weeks — and I’d never written a sports story before,” she told The Inquirer.

She was hired by womenSports two months after the Olympics and joined The Times a year and a half later.

After leaving The Times in 1984, she wrote “Midstream,” a dual account of her mother’s death and Ms. Schreiber’s life in rural upstate New York; freelance articles, including two for Glamour magazine about abortion that won a National Magazine Award in 1992; and “Light Years” (1996), a book of reflective essays written after her parents and brother, Michael, had died, all of cancer.

No immediate family members survive.

In recent years Ms. Schreiber taught English at the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany. In 2007, she returned to sports for two years as ESPN’s ombudswoman.

“She enjoyed it because by the time she had left The Times, she had become sports-phobic,” Milena Herring, her former partner, said in a telephone interview. “She didn’t want to watch the U.S. Open on TV or in person. But at ESPN, it wasn’t about sports at all, but about looking at the coverage of sports as a journalist with a critical eye.”

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