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Bob Knight Out At ESPN

Jason Barrett

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When Bob Knight took a job with ESPN as a college basketball analyst in 2008, the career shift reminded one of the Groucho Marx line about not wanting to belong to any club that would have him as a member. The Hall of Fame basketball coach joined the same group of people he once described as “one or two steps above prostitution.” He became one of the “damn people from television” he famously critiqued.

On Thursday night, his run as one of the “damn people from television”—at least as far as being a damn person from ESPN—is officially over. SI.com has learned ESPN will not renew its contract with Knight. His last broadcast for the network will be Thursday night’s NIT’s championship between Stanford and Miami, which tips at 9 p.m. ET.

When contacted by SI.com on Thursday afternoon, ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys declined comment.

Knight, 74, was hired by ESPN in February 2008 shortly after he announced his resignation from Texas Tech. During his time with ESPN, he worked in a number of capacities, including as an on-site analyst (notably with Brent Musburger on Big 12 broadcasts) as well as appearing on select shows and platforms, including ESPN’s Selection Sunday Specials, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio and ESPNEWS. He was an interesting and distinctive voice early on, but he had some hiccups as a broadcaster, including in 2012 when he remarkably declined to utter the word “Kentucky” on air, opting instead for that “team from the SEC.” He took on fewer games in the past couple of years—he called American Athletic Conference games this year with Mike Patrick and Len Elmore—but still had a propensity to tell people to get off his lawn.

Prior to Knight’s hire by the Bristol-based network, ESPN enjoyed favored nation status with him. Longtime supporters such as Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps shouted his virtues to audiences for years. Of course, part of Knight’s ESPN legacy also included walking off the set of ESPN’s Cold Pizza when asked about the resignation of his successor at Indiana University, Mike Davis, verbally smacking ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap during a 2000 interview, and later calling Schaap a “chicken—-little —-sucker” in Jim Miller’s best-selling book on ESPN, These Guys Have All The Fun.

“He’s always been the type of person that if you were flipping through the channels and you saw him in a long-form interview or a press conference or during one of his games, you stopped and watched it,” ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson told Sports Illustrated upon hiring Knight. “There are very few people like that. It was a fairly easy decision. Our goal is to inform and entertain sports fans, and when you look at somebody of the stature of Bob Knight, he is one of the most compelling sports figures of the last half century. I realize a lot of people are going to say he is a very polarizing figure. But again, I go back and look at the body of work, the intellect, the success, the graduation rates, the programs he has run. When you put everything together, it is an easy decision to hire Bob Knight for your college basketball coverage.”

Could Knight catch on with another sports network? Nothing is impossible when it comes to sports television executives handing out cash. He’s one of the major names in the history of the sport, and the inventory of live games out there is plentiful. But he also comes with considerable baggage.

Credit to Sports Illustrated who originally published this story

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Sports Radio News

101.9 The Horn in Austin Sold to Norsan Media

Norsan has appointed Edgar Saucedo as Southwest Market President overseeing all of the company’s Texas operations and Ramon Loo as Austin Program Director.

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Logo for 101.9 The Horn in Austin, TX

A Radio Insight report says Norsan Media has purchased 101.9 The Horn in Austin, Texas from Genuine Austin Radio. According to the report, Norsan had already been operation a couple of Genuine Austin Radio’s stations and will now take add the rest of their stations, which also includes country stations 99.3 FM.

The report also says Norsan has appointed Edgar Saucedo as Southwest Market President overseeing all of the company’s Texas operations and Ramon Loo as Austin Program Director.

The Horn used to also be on 104.9 FM and was the University of Texas flagship station for Longhorn athletics. That stopped when Norsan took over the signal to air Regional Mexican programming. The Texas Rangers games air currently on The Horn.

Should anything change with the programming or format at The Horn, we will keep you posted.

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AJ Hoffman Headed to Mornings on San Antonio’s Sports Star

“Excited for my next chapter post-Vegas and stoked to start building an audience in San Antonio!”

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Photo of AJ Hoffman and a logo for 94.1 San Antonio's Sports Star

AJ Hoffman announced via his X account he will be back on local radio in Texas doing mornings at San Antonio’s Sports Star. “Life announcement,” Hoffman wrote. “I’m moving back to Texas. Starting May 6, you can find me back on local radio, doing mornings on San Antonio’s Sports Star. Excited for my next chapter post-Vegas and stoked to start building an audience in San Antonio!”

Hoffman had worked for several years at ESPN 97.5 in Houston and was most recently in Las Vegas serving as the executive vice president and director of digital content for Pregame, an information site for sports wagering.

Hoffman had hosted the popular show, The Blitz, with Fred Faour for more than 10 years and then became the station Program Director in 2019. He exited the station in the summer of 2021 to take the position with Pregame.

San Antonio’s Sports Star made a change earlier this year in mornings when Rudy Jay left the station in mid-January. RJ Ochoa, Managing Editor of the ‘Blogging the Boys’ website, took over for Jay, doing the show with station Program Director Rob Thompson.

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Steak Shapiro About Pat McAfee: “Dude, Relax”

“That is the definition of cringe. You have to be authentic.”

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Graphic for The Steakhouse on 92.9 in Atlanta and a picture of Pat McAfee

Sports radio has spent a lot of time during this football offseason talking about Bill Belichick. From his ending in New England to the search for a new head coaching position to being a free agent in the sports media world, his name has come up often. Steak Shapiro and Sandra Golden hit on the topic this week during The Steakhouse on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta.

A lengthy story from ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler this week reported Belichick may not have landed the Atlanta Falcons head coaching position because of a conversation Falcons owner Arthur Blank had with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Another part of the story says the executives around Arthur Blank didn’t have Belichick in their top 3 of candidates which had interviewed for the position.

The same report also divulged that Belichick is expected to sign a deal with Omaha Productions to provide analysis and is interested in potentially coaching either the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles or New York Giants after taking this year off.

The same day, The Pat McAfee Show had Belichick on as a guest and announced the coach would join McAfee and team for their annual Draft Spectacular.

Shapiro and Golden talked about the article as it related to Atlanta, but also about Belichick’s appearance on McAfee’s show. “[Belichick] on McAfee trying to be this lighthearted guy that loves The Pat McAfee Show, it’s a stretch dude, that is a stretch.”

“That is the definition of cringe,” Golden replied. “You have to be authentic.”

Shapiro does an impersonation of McAfee talking excitedly about hanging out with Belichick and said, “Dude, relax, relax…the whole thing…I wish we hadn’t gotten started on this…”

Back in late January, McAfee had said on his show about Belichick, “I would like to let everybody know…I will make this promise that if Bill Belichick is going to do TV, ol’ Pat McAfee will be in the running to try to get Bill Belichick to join our progrum [sic],” McAfee said. “Belichick… knows everything about the NFL. Every game that’s ever been played…every player that’s ever been great — that’s why he was so great on [NFL 100 All-Time Team]. And after what we saw on College GameDay, he’s got moxie too. He’s great on TV, I think we’ll all be incredibly lucky if that’s the case.”

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