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"Matt likes leather," said friend and College junior Mark Schuchman. Matt also rides a Harley, listens to Lynyrd Skynyrd and has a tattoo of an iguana on his right forearm. Well, let's stick to the leather part. Actually, Matthew Klein, executive editor-elect of the DP's 108th Board of Editors and Managers, is pretty hard to explain. A soccer legend who would try to play with a 104 degree fever. A baseball flop who once walked 13 batters in Little League. An American history major with a chemistry minor. A pre-med with a conscience. And a man with a fetish for leather clothing. "He's always been a Renaissance kid," his mother Rona Klein said. And his list of accomplishments continues to grow. He started a Russian language and culture program at his high school and won an award from Newsday for a column he wrote as the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper. And he has a Lon Gisland accent you can cut with a knife. It is this motley combination of characteristics and talents that reflect the ability of the College junior to accept any challenge that's thrown at him. And tomorrow night, as he takes the helm as executive editor, he will be ready for more. In addition to overseeing the DP's editorial and business operations, Klein, with two semesters of beat reporting and one year of editing under his belt, will also chair the newspaper's executive board and write a monthly column. Klein leads a demanding schedule, waking up at an ungodly 7:20 each morning to eat an 8:00 breakfast at Stouffer. Although his schedule at the DP will become more intensive this year, he has already mastered the art of time management, spending 40-plus hours each week at the DP last year while maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.85. And Klein is looking forward to the known and unknown of the coming year. "I want the DP to take a more active role in setting the agenda for the University and to help foster change," he said. He added that he intends to make the newspaper more accessible to more members of the community. "Internally, I want the DP to always be a great place to work," he said. "I want everybody to know that regardless of their background or race or whatever groups they are representing, they are welcome here. Their contributions are valuable not only to us but also to the University community." But Klein's not the only one who has plans for the coming year. Several of his friends said they have never seen Klein drunk. "He could stand a little intoxication once in a while," said close friend and College junior Nancy Peisner. "He can be anal . . . although he's definitely mellowed, thank God." "That could definitely be a project -- to get this boy drunk," she added. Yet, from the top of his designer glasses to the bottoms of his crocodile skin shoes, Klein harbors yet another personality. Like his love of clothes and his phenomenal memory. "He loves his clothes so much that if you ask him what he was wearing on January 6, 1974, he could tell you -- with 100 percent accuracy -- what he wore, down to the color of his socks," said oldest sister Alyssa Klein. "He always knows on any given day, what he ate or wore." Klein's father, Chuck Klein, agreed. "Everyone in Polo stores in five different states knows him," he said. And older sister Dayna Klein explained, "He's in the Polo mode." Yet, Klein is even more than just a slick dresser. For instance, he's also a pretty slick performer, judging from past stage appearances. Take for example, his brief debut with the Folies Bergere in France at the tender age of 16. Attending the performance with his host family one night, Klein found himself pulled onto stage with the topless dancers and forced to can-can with them. The short dance was topped off as he endured kiss after kiss in what he called his "most embarrassing" moment. But perhaps the most pervasive characteristic, his friends and family say, is his compassion and caring. "He's a team player," said Klein's father who also coached Klein throughout his long soccer career. "He would always take the kid who was the worst and said he was the best. And he encouraged this kid to become the best . . . He always made the kid a hero." And now, as the new executive editor, Klein is holding the ball.

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