Behind the Mic: Dick Vitale Inks Deal at ESPN Through 2019; FS1 Adds Jason McIntyre to The Big Lead

Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale has agreed to a new contract extension with ESPN that will carry through the 2018-19 season. The agreement will add an additional year to his previous extension, announced a year ago today, and will take Vitale, who started with the company in its first year (1979-80), to his 40th on ESPN. Vitale will continue to be assigned to many of the network’s marquee games, including regular-season action primarily on ESPN and ESPN2,Champ Week coverage and the Men’s Final Four for ESPN International  

Vitale_DickThe 2008 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (in the contributor category) joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season — just after the network’s September 1979 launch — following a successful coaching career. He called ESPN’s first-ever major NCAA basketball game – Wisconsin at DePaul on Dec. 5, 1979 (a 90-77 DePaul win). Since then, he’s called more than a thousand games…

…Jason McIntyre, the editor-in-chief of “The Big Lead,” a sports media blog owned by USA Today, and host on FOX Sports Radio, joins Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock on FS1’s new discussion and opinion-based studio program SPEAK FOR YOURSELF, which premieres Monday, June 13, and airs weeknights from 6:00 to 7:00 PM ET on FS1. McIntyre joins the show as a contributor alongside Cowherd and Whitlock, two media personalities with whom he’s had relationships for many years. Cowherd and Whitlock will be joined by McIntyre for several segments on the one-hour show, looking at the day’s most provocative stories from different anglesMcIntyre continues the discussion with the SPEAK FOR YOURSELF podcast after each episode on FS1, featuring best-of highlights and additional thoughts on the day’s topics.

He can also be heard on FOX Sports Radio and iHeartRadio on Saturday mornings from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM ET. He founded “The Big Lead” in 2006 and sold the blog in 2010 before it was acquired by USA Today in 2012. He spent a his early career as a sportswriter for The Record in New Jersey’s Bergen County, then as a magazine reporter for Us Weekly, also freelancing for many outlets includingMaxim, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com and CBSSports.com. He graduated from James Madison University in 2000 with a concentration in journalism…

…Veteran commentator Brent Musburger has reached a multi-year contract extension with ESPN, and will remain the signature college football voice of the SEC Network, among other continuing assignments. Musburger, who has been with ESPN/ABC since 1990, was the first voice heard when the SEC Network went on the air (Aug. 14, 2014) – the most successful network launch in the history of cable television. He calls weekly primetime football action with analyst Jesse Palmer. Musburger will also continue as play-by-play commentator for weekly college basketball contests on ESPN.

In his on-air career that now spans nearly 50 years, Musburger has been a part of some of the most meaningful events, programs and milestones from around the world of sports. That amazing run will continue as a result of this new deal…

…Don Cherry is returning to “Hockey Night in Canada” next season. The 82-year-old star of “Coach’s Corner” has agreed to a multi-year deal. Cherry’s two-year deal with Rogers, which owns Sportsnet, expires at the end of the playoffs. (National Post)…

…Soccer icon Landon Donovan joins FOX Sports as studio and game analyst for the network’s continuing coverage of COPA AMERICA CENTENARIO: THE CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE AMERICAS. Donovan most recently contributed to FOX Sports’ soccer coverage during the Copa America tune-up between Mexico and Paraguay on May 28. The U.S. Men’s National Team all-time leading scorer, Donovan contributes to FOX Sports’ pregame and postgame studio coverage and also serves as a game analyst for multiple matches. Donovan makes his first studio appearance on Saturday, June 11, just in time for the highly-anticipated showdown between the USA and Paraguay, in which a loss would eliminate the Americans, while a win clinches a spot in the quarterfinals. Coverage begins at 6:00 PM ET on FS1. Donovan’s illustrious career spans 15 years and includes 12 FIFA World Cup appearances, a record 57 goals for the U.S. including five World Cup goals, six MLS Cup titles and the MLS’s all-time records in goals and assists…

…NBC Olympics has announced its on-air teams for Golf Channel’s coverage of the men’s (Aug. 11-14) and women’s (Aug. 17-20) golf competition in Rio this summer, as the sport makes its return to the Olympic Games for the first time in more than a century.

Johnny Miller, World Golf Hall-of-Famer and NBC analyst of more than 25 years will lead the network’s live tournament coverage of the men’s competition, rotating lead analyst roles with six-time major champion and Hall-of-Famer Nick Faldo in the 18th tower. David Feherty, Emmy-nominated sports personality and longtime golf broadcaster, will split time as a tower analyst and on-course reporter, and Peter Jacobsen will serve as a second tower analyst. Roger Maltbie and Curt Byrum will offer insight from inside the ropes as on-course reporters along with Feherty. Veteran NBC Olympic personalities Terry Gannon and Steve Sands will join Miller and Faldo in the broadcast booth, rotating play-by-play duties. Todd Lewis will serve as a reporter and conduct player interviews.

Gannon and Sands also will handle play-by-play during the women’s competition, where they’ll be joined by two additional Hall-of-Fame personalities in 10-time major champion and winner of 72 tournaments on the LPGA Tour, Annika Sorenstam, who will rotate lead analyst duties with longtime golf broadcasterJudy Rankin. Byrum also will join the 18th tower as an analyst, while Tom Abbott will be positioned as a tower analyst, and Jerry Foltz and Kay Cockerillwill work as on-course reporters on the grounds. Karen Stupples also will contribute to Golf Channel’s live tournament coverage as an analyst, and Lewis will conduct player interviews.

Golf Channel will provide wraparound news coverage immediately prior to and following live coverage of the competition via its Golf Central Live From the Olympics programming. Rich Lerner will host coverage from Rio’s Olympic golf course and will be joined by Faldo (men’s competition) and Stupples (women’s competition). Golf Channel insider Rex Hoggard and Lewis also will provide daily reports and offer interviews with players on-site…

Today anchor Savannah Guthrie is expecting her second child and will skip the Summer Olympics in Rio, where the mosquito-borne Zika virus has been blamed for severe birth defects. The move makes Guthrie, 44, the most high-profile TV personality to opt out of the Games. Guthrie made the announcement about her pregnancy Tuesday morning on Today, surrounded by her colleagues. (The Hollywood Reporter)…

…In other Rio news, NBC Olympics welcomes six new reporters to its coverage from Rio: NBC News correspondents Anne Thompson, Craig Melvin, Gadi Schwartz, and Jill Martin, along with NBC Sports Group’s Rutledge Wood (NASCAR features reporter) and Dalen Cuff (CSN New England anchor and reporter). Alex Flanagan, who has worked four prior Olympics for NBC, returns as a reporter.

Dalen Cuff is an anchor and reporter for CSN New England, and serves as a college basketball analyst for NBCSN. He began his broadcasting career as the men’s basketball radio analyst for Columbia University, where Cuff ranks among the top shooters in the school’s history.

Alex Flanagan returns for her fifth consecutive Games with NBC Olympics. She previously served as a reporter in Vancouver in 2010 (sports desk), London in 2012 (diving), and Sochi in 2014 (biathlon and cross-country skiing), and was a host of CNBC and USA Network coverage during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Jill Martin is a contributor on TODAY, reporting on the latest fashion trends and entertainment stories. She has co-hosted the fourth hour of the show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, and has reported from the red carpet at the Golden Globes, Oscars and Emmys. Martin also serves a pregame, halftime, and postgame reporter on New York Knicks telecasts.

Craig Melvin is an MSNBC anchor and NBC News correspondent. He currently anchors MSNBC Live on Saturdays and Sundays, contributes reports for TODAY, and frequently serves as a host on Weekend TODAY. Prior to joining MSNBC in July 2011, Melvin was a weekend anchor for WRC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C.

Gadi Schwartz joined NBC News in March as a Los Angeles-based correspondent after spending three years as a reporter at the Los Angeles NBC affiliate (KNBC). Previously, he was a weekend anchor and investigative reporter in Albuquerque, N.M.

Anne Thompson is NBC News’ chief environmental affairs correspondent. Her reports appear across all NBC News platforms including NBC Nightly News, TODAY, MSNBC and NBCNews.com. Before she was named to her current role in April 2007, Thompson served as NBC News’ chief financial correspondent. Thompson previously worked at the 2014 Sochi Olympics for NBC News.

Rutledge Wood serves as a features reporter for NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR coverage, where he tells the stories of the iconic raceways, unique towns, and enthusiastic fans that make NASCAR an American treasure. Last month, he traveled to his first Kentucky Derby and served as an event reporter for NBC Sports’ coverage of the event. Wood also co-hosts History Channel’s Top Gear

…Vincent Kompany, Belgium National Team and Manchester City FC captain, will join ESPN as a studio analyst for the UEFA European Football Championship 2016 (June 10 – July 10). Kompany is unavailable to represent Belgium due to a thigh injury sustained during Manchester City’s 2015-2016 Premier League campaign. Kompany will contribute to ESPN’s studio team in Paris that includes other football greats: 1998 FIFA World Cup champion Frank Leboeuf, former German National Team captain Michael Ballack, former Everton manager Roberto Martinez, former England National Team and Real Madrid player Steve McManaman, former Chelsea FC and Scottish National Team midfielder Craig Burley, FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Abby Wambach, former U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Kasey Keller, former Argentina and Real Madrid player Santiago Solari, and former U.S. Men’s National Team striker Taylor Twellman. Kompany is also working as a pundit for the BBC…

…FOX Sports opens its live coverage of the 84th running of the 24 HOURS OF LE MANS on Saturday, June 18 (8:30 AM – 2:00 PM ET) on FS1 and FOX Sports GO, with Bob Varsha and Brian Till leading an eight-member FOX Sports broadcast team. Varsha’s broadcast team for the iconic endurance race includes Calvin Fish and Tommy Kendall, while Till leads the team of Jamie Howe and Scott Pruett. Justin Bell and Andrew Marriott report from the pits and legendary driver Sam Posey — described by Autoweek as “… driver, racing broadcaster, fine artist and all-around good guy/ambassador for motorsport” — is writing and voicing the open, as well as providing pieces throughout the weekend. Author A.J. Baime, who wrote the best-selling Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans, will participate in the broadcast to offer perspective on Ford’s 50-year anniversary of their stunning 1966 win at Le Mans.

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters