Behind the Mic: Brad Nessler To Succeed Verne Lundquist as Voice of SEC on CBS; ESPN Re-Ups Mike Breen

Longtime SEC on CBS voice Verne Lundquist will step down and be succeeded by former ESPNer Brad Nessler. ESPN has also re-signed Mike Breen, while NBC Sports has extended Mike Florio

Verne Lundquist, the voice of the SEC ON CBS since 2000, will step down from his lead college football role at CBS Sports following the 2016 season and be succeeded by Brad Nessler, who will return to CBS after 24 years at ESPN. Lundquist, who is celebrating his 53rd year in television, will continue calling regular-season college basketball, the NCAA Tournament and golf, including the Masters and the PGA Championship for the Network.

CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus (left) had the honor of introducing long-time CBS Sports announcer Verne Lundquist at the Sports Emmys on May 10. Lundquist received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus (left) had the honor of introducing long-time CBS Sports announcer Verne Lundquist at the Sports Emmys on May 10. Lundquist received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Brad Nessler will succeed Lundquist as the lead play-by-play announcer for the SEC ON CBS, joining lead analyst Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce beginning with the 2017 season. Additionally, Nessler will begin calling select SEC games this season in the weeks that CBS Sports broadcasts two SEC football games, as well as the 2016 Hyundai Sun Bowl and select college basketball games. The announcements were made today by Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports.

Lundquist has broadcast more than 20 different sports for CBS Sports during his legendary career.  He was named lead play-by-play announcer for the SEC ON CBS in 2000. He has served as play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports’ coverage of NCAA basketball, including the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship for 31 years. Lundquist was the lead play-by-play announcer for figure skating at the 1992, 1994 and 1998 Olympic Winter Games, called NFL games for 13 years and also had extensive involvement in CBS Sports’ previous coverage of the NBA. In May, Lundquist was honored with the Sports Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2007, Lundquist was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.

Nessler returns to CBS Sports after previously working for the Network beginning in 1990 on college football and men’s and women’s basketball, including the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship game, and NFL games. He also was the network’s host for speed skating coverage at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France. Nessler joins CBS after a 24-year career at ESPN.  He began with ESPN in1992, and added ABC assignments in 1997 while continuing to handle college football and basketball games for both ABC and ESPN. Nessler most recently called the ESPN College Football Primetime game on Saturday nights and the College Football Playoff semifinals. From 1992-97, Nessler called college basketball games, and also Big Ten and Thursday night football for ESPN. In 1997, he began calling college football for ABC; including the Bowl Championship Series title game, as well as college basketball. He also served as play-by-play announcer for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package on NFL Network from 2011-13…

…ESPN announced today it has re-signed its lead NBA play-by-play commentator Mike Breen, the voice of the NBA Finals, to a long-term deal. Breen joined ESPN in 2003 and began calling the NBA Finals in 2006. He is entering his 11th season as the voice of the NBA Finals – the most ever for a play-by-play commentator. In his new deal, Breen will continue to serve as the play-caller for the NBA Finals on ABC, the Conference Finals on ESPN, plus a premier package of NBA regular-season games, including NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC, and marquee playoff games. Breen, alongside analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson and reporter Doris Burke, are the longest-tenured NBA Finals television broadcast team, currently in their 7th year as a quartet…

… NBC Sports has extended its multi-platform partnership with ProFootballTalk, the NFL-focused website created by Mike Florio. As part of the new long-term extension, ProFootballTalk will feature increased video content, with Florio providing daily, short- form video reports to supplement PFT’s extensive written coverage on breaking NFL news. Florio and ProFootballTalk joined forces with NBC Sports in July 2009, with PFT quickly becoming a signature component of  Since then, both PFT and have seen tremendous growth in traffic, with ProFootballTalkaveraging 1.9 million page views and 725,000 unique visitors daily. Florio and his staff of PFT writers, Michael David Smith, Darin Gantt, Josh Alper, Zac Jackson and Curtis Crabtree produce an average of nearly 50 NFL news stories a day, with Florio himself writing at least 15 posts…

…Craig Sager will be honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at The 2016 ESPYS on ABC. Sager is one of the most respected sideline reporters in sports and he is well known for both his colorful attire and personality. Given a life-changing diagnosis of leukemia in 2014, TNT’s hard-working veteran returned to the sidelines in 2015 and continues to publicly battle the disease while remaining committed to the work he loves. Sager is in his 24th season as sideline reporter for the NBA on TNT including the network’s regular season, NBA All-Star and NBA Playoffs coverage. Sager was a first-time nominee for a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Reporter in 2012. Upon receiving his diagnosis in early 2014, Sager publicly vowed to continue reporting asserting that his work is a tonic that gives him strength to face his battle. He’s currently undergoing clinical trials at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The Jimmy V Perseverance Award was named after, and inspired by, the late Jimmy Valvano who became the award’s raison d’être at the 1993 ESPYS.

The 2016 ESPYS will be hosted by WWE Superstar, actor and television host John Cena and broadcast live on ABC Wednesday, July 13, at 8 p.m. ET from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles…

…Five-time Olympic medalist and 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin makes her debut as an NBC Olympics gymnastics analyst in Rio, alongside two-time Olympic medalist Tim Daggett and play-by-play voice Al Trautwig. In addition, gymnastics coaching legend Bela Karolyi reprises his role with NBC Olympics as a primetime correspondent.

After retiring from the sport in 2012, Liukin has worked as an analyst on NBC Sports Group’s gymnastics coverage. Liukin will work her third Olympics with NBC Sports, previously serving as a reporter during NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, and as an contributor during the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Daggett, who has contributed to NBC Olympics’ coverage since the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, works alongside Trautwig for the third consecutive Games. Trautwig will also serve as the triathlon play-by-play announcer in Rio. Karolyi contributed to coverage as a primetime Olympic correspondent at the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Games.


Rio marks Trautwig’s 11th Olympics with NBC Sports Group and 16th overall. Most recently, Trautwig served as a play-by-play commentator for cross-country skiing and Nordic combined at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Trautwig currently covers the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers for MSG Network.

Karolyi is one of the most recognized personalities in the sport and has trained world-renowned gymnasts at numerous Olympics. Karolyi began his career in the early 1960s as the coach of the Romanian women’s gymnastics team, which gained international recognition under his guidance. Karolyi coached four U.S. Olympic teams from 1984 to 1996 and served as the U.S. national team coordinator at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, winning gold in 1996.

…Annie Apple, the mother of New York Giants 2016 first round pick Eli Apple, is joining ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown this fall as a contributor. Beginning in September, she will offer player profiles and other stories for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show. Apple, who writes her own blog Survivin America: Making It Through with Humor and Hope, burst on the national scene during the recent NFL Draft when she took to social media to offer her candid opinions…

…Houston Rockets guard and 17-year NBA veteran Jason Terry will host a new weekly show on SiriusXM’s exclusive 24/7 NBA channel starting tomorrow, June 1 (7:00 – 8:00 pm ET), the night before the start of the NBA Finals. The Runway with Jason “The Jet” Terry will air every Wednesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio, which is available nationwide on satellite radios (Sirius channel 207, XM channel 86) and on the SiriusXM app.  Terry and co-host Justin Termine will take calls from listeners across the country and discuss the headline news from around the NBA, as Terry shares his perspective on the league as an active player and longtime veteran.

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