With the college basketball season set to tip off this week, FOX Sports announces its impressive roster of game and studio broadcasters for the 2015-16 season, featuring some of the most recognizable names and voices in the sport. The announcement was made today by FOX Sports President, Production, John Entz.
The inimitable duo of Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery return for their third season as FOX Sports’ lead game announcers, while former UCLA and St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin is a new addition to the network’s college basketball coverage, leading studio analysis and calling select games. Lavin makes his FOX Sports debut Friday, Nov. 13, during studio coverage of college basketball’s opening night on FS1, FS2 and FOX Sports Regional Networks, including halftime of Wagner at St. John’s (6:00 PM ET, FS1) as Chris Mullin coaches his first regular-season game with the Red Storm – the same program Lavin led a season ago.
“We are once again thrilled to have several of the nation’s top broadcasters calling college basketball for FOX Sports this season,” Entz said. “This loaded lineup of game and studio broadcasters brings a wealth of energy and knowledge to our coverage, and we’re looking forward to another season of great games featuring some of the nation’s best coaches and players. We can’t wait to get the season started, and we look forward to seeing who’s going to cut down the nets in March.”
Rob Stone returns as FOX Sports’ lead college basketball studio host and is joined by analysts Lavin, Jim Jackson and Donny Marshall at the desk.
Jackson, a two-time All-American at Ohio State and 14-year NBA veteran, also calls select games and contributes to NBA coverage in what is now a full-time role with FOX Sports after serving the network in similar roles each of the last two seasons. Now based in Los Angeles, Jackson also appears regularly on FS1 signature studio programs THE HERD WITH COLIN COWHERD and FOX SPORTS LIVE.
Kevin Burkhardt, Mike Hill, Ryan Field and Greg Wolf also serve as hosts for select college basketball studio programming throughout the season.
In addition to pregame, halftime and postgame coverage, FOX Sports’ college basketball studio programming is enhanced with INSIDE THE BIG EAST, FS1’s weekly show dedicated to the latest news and stories in the conference, which returns with the start of league play in January. FOX Sports takes its college basketball studio on the road multiple times this season, beginning with the Gavitt Tipoff Games Nov. 17-19. FOX Sports also has a live studio presence at New York’s Madison Square Garden for the entire BIG EAST Tournament, March 9-12, and in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Arena for FS1’s coverage of the Pac-12 Tournament March 10-12.
In addition to its robust studio lineup, FOX Sports welcomes back several familiar and iconic voices to call game action. Led by the Johnson and Raftery, game broadcasters Joe Davis, Tim Brando, Justin Kutcher, Brian Anderson and Kevin Kugler return to FOX Sports this season, while veteran play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo is new to the network’s hoops coverage. Lavin, Jackson and Marshall serve as game and studio analysts and are joined by a host of other top voices including Stephen Bardo, Nick Bahe, Jim Spanarkel, Tarik Turner, Ron Thompson and Dickey Simpkins. In addition to Lavin, play-by-play announcer Aaron Goldsmith and analysts Sean Elliott and Casey Jacobsen return to lead FS1’s Pac-12 coverage.
Lauren Shehadi: Ernie Johnson Is The Model For Studio Hosts
“To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness.”
In addition to her job at MLB Network being a host on MLB Central, Lauren Shehadi is hosting TBS’s Tuesday night baseball coverage each week with Jimmy Rollins, Curtis Granderson, and Pedro Martinez. The Tuesday night games are new for Turner Sports this year after doing only Sunday games during the regular season in addition to the network’s postseason coverage.
Shehadi was a guest on The Kyle Koster Show this week and she was asked what the goal was for her with the MLB on TBS Tuesday broadcasts. She takes a lot of inspiration from what she sees on Inside The NBA on TNT.
“I always think about Ernie Johnson in the same building. To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness. He gets the most out of Shaq and Kenny [Smith] and Charles [Barkley]. If there’s no ego involved, it’s all about how the show can be so great.
“You look at him and you think how can I be like that? You want to be authentic and be yourself, but in the sense of getting the best out of your guys and girls that you talk to every day. That was my goal going in, Be authentic.”
Shehadi said she gets to spend a lot of time with Johnson and the rest of the Turner Sports crew. Tuesday nights tend to be something of a corporate family reunion.
“On Tuesday nights, we all sit in a room and we all watch NBA, MLB, and NHL when it’s on. We get Shaq’s reaction to Sandy Alcantara’s slider in real-time. What we see from Inside The NBA is when they do demos. When they get up and walk and they are casual and they do little bits, that’s what we try to take to our show, but we want it to feel authentic.”
When Shehadi isn’t hosting Turner Sports’ baseball coverage, she is a part of MLB Central every weekday on MLB Network with Robert Flores and Mark DeRosa. On that show, the goal for her is how to make baseball relatable to everyone:
“That’s the sweet spot of MLB Central. No question is silly. Nobody is smarter than the other. We laugh at ourselves. We laugh at each other. It is just a fun 4 hours, grab your coffee, let’s talk the game, let’s laugh because life is short and baseball is fun.”
AT&T Sportsnet’s Kelsey Wingert Shows Off Stitches After Being Drilled Line Drive
“The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.”
Baseball reporters at the regional level have some of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Not only do they cover each for all 162 games, but there’s always the potential for getting drilled by a foul ball.
While all MLB ball clubs have expanded their netting this season to protect fans sitting close to the field, Rockies sideline reporter Kelsey Wingert suffered a nasty injury via a foul ball earlier this week.
A scary incident took place on Monday’s outing against the Rockies and San Francisco Giants at Coors Field in Denver. In the ninth inning, Giants outfielder Austin Slater hit a foul ball off Daniel Bard, with the ball heading straight to the dugout, right where Wingert was standing while reporting for AT&T Sportsnet.
After getting attended to by the Rockies medical staff and walking it off, giving fans a “thumbs up,” Wingert ended up having to go to the hospital where she received multiple stitches to her forehead.
The 29-year-old reporter took to Twitter on Wednesday to express her gratitude towards the Rockies organization and AT&T Sportsnet general manager David Woodman, who along with his wife Paula, stayed by her side at the hospital.
“I had a CT scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding or fractures and all came back clear. Thank God,” Wingert said on Twitter Wednesday. “The stitches will have to come out in a week. I’m very lucky it wasn’t worse. It was just really scary and bummed me out given the circumstances.”
You would think this was the first time Wingert got hit by a ball but back in 2018 while working for Fox Sports and the Atlanta Braves she was struck by a foul ball while standing near a camera past the Braves dugout, resulting in a fractured eye socket.
Wingert retweeted a photo taken of her black eye after returning home where she made light of what could’ve been an awful occurrence.
While recovering from her wound, Wingert will be taking a few games off. The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.
Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII
“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”
The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.
Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.
Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.
Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.
Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.