Behind the Mic: Mack Brown Leaves ESPN for UNC Job; Darren Rovell Accepts Role at Sports Gambling Start Up

Behind the Mic provides a roundup of recent news regarding on-air talent, including new deals, departures, and assignments compiled from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, Mack Brown accepts the head coaching job at UNC and departs ESPN, Darren Rovell will also leave the network for the Action Network, and Jeff Francouer will join the Braves broadcasting booth next season.

After a coaching career from 1973 to 2013 that included two Big 12 conference championships and a BCS national championship in 2005 with Texas, Mack Brown is leaving his position with ESPN. After spending six seasons as an on-air talent and analyst during the college football season, he will be returning to one of his former stomping grounds, the University of North Carolina.

“With a national championship pedigree and hall of fame coaching career, Mack was great for our college football coverage,” says Lee Fitting, vice president of production, ESPN. “His deep knowledge of the sport, combined with his signature warm demeanor, made our team better for the past five years. We wish Mack all the best as he resumes his title as ‘coach’ at UNC”…

…There was another notable departure at ESPN this week. According to the Washington PostDarren Rovell, the network’s longtime sports business reporter, is joining the Action Network to focus on their sports gambling coverage as Senior Executive Producer. At his new home, Rovell will maintain his regular online and digital presence but will shift his sights to sponsorships, league activity, betting trends, and big bets in the world of sports gambling. He will also have a large role in the company’s social media initiatives.

“Darren’s largely responsible for taking the business of sports into the mainstream and we want him to do the same for sports betting,” said Action CEO Patrick Keane.”He’s a tireless promoter of all things”…

…Lastly, Jeff Francouer will be elevated to the lead analyst role for Atlanta Braves telecasts after former colleague Joe Simpson made the switch to the Braves Radio Network (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

“All indicators are that he had an immediate and easy transition from the playing field to the broadcast booth,” said Braves CEO Derek Schiller. “He’s a natural talent. We’re ready to begin the next phase of ushering in the next great broadcast talent, and he’s certainly ripe for that. It’s his time.”

Francouer, the 12-year MLB veteran and 2007 Gold Glove winner, will be joined by a rotation of personalities, including play-by-play announcer Chip Caray and Hall of Famer Tom Glavine.

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