Behind the Mic: Rece Davis Returns to ESPN on Multi-Year Deal; Fox Sports’ Gus Johnson Named CoSIDA Jake Wade Award Recipient
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, Rece Davis will return to ESPN after signing a new multi-year deal, Fox Sports’ Gus Johnson was named the CoSIDA Jake Wade Award Recipient, and more.
ESPN Re-Signs Veteran Studio Host and Play-by-Play Commentator Rece Davis
Rece Davis has signed a new multi-year deal to continue as the face of ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning College GameDay football and basketball studio franchises. Davis will also continue to host coverage from premier events like the College Football Playoff National Championship, the NFL Draft on ABC and the NCAA Men’s Final Four, in addition to select play-by-play assignments for college football and basketball.
Davis has been the host of College GameDay Built by The Home Depot the past six seasons. He brings an unmatched knowledge and passion for college football to the weekly traveling show, as well as his trademark wit and humor. Davis hosts the signature studio program from campus sites, the College Football Playoff, and the NFL Draft, in addition to anchoring ESPN’s College Football Playoff Top 25 Rankings Show.
During the basketball season, Davis will remain host of College GameDay Covered by State Farm, a role he has occupied since the show debuted in 2005, and will also continue to call select college basketball games following the conclusion of the CFP. Davis anchors coverage from the annual State Farm Champions Classic and NCAA Men’s Final Four, and he has also served as host of the NBA Draft on ESPN for more than a decade.
This summer, he will return to soccer hosting duties for the UEFA European Football Championship after hosting ESPN’s coverage of the 2008 UEFA Euro and 2006 FIFA World Cup soccer tournaments. (ESPN)
Gus Johnson Named CoSIDA Jake Wade Award Recipient
Fox Sports lead college basketball and college football play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson is the recipient of the 2021 Jake Wade Award, presented by CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) to an individual in the media who has made an outstanding contribution to intercollegiate athletics. (Twitter)
Mike Greenberg Named Host of ESPN’s NFL Draft Telecast
Mike Greenberg, a leading voice across all ESPN platforms, is adding another prominent role to his broadcasting portfolio: ESPN NFL Draft host. Greenberg will anchor Days 1 and 2 of this NFL signature event beginning April 29, just months shy of his 25th ESPN anniversary. He will be the third ESPN NFL Draft host in the past three decades and the fifth all-time, following Joe Thomas (1980), George Grande (1981-86), Chris Berman (1987-2016) and Trey Wingo (2017-20).
A member of the National Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame, Greenberg will continue to host ESPN’s weekday morning show Get Up!, the weekday ESPN Radio program Greeny, and the ESPN+ exclusive series Bettor Days. On Get Up!, Greenberg and a rotating cast of Insiders, analysts and reporters will cover Pro Days, Free Agency, Mock Drafts, and the latest NFL news. (ESPN)
Fox Sports Announces Full Roster of Driver Analysts for 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Furthering its move to feature active NASCAR drivers as guest analysts in the FOX NASCAR broadcast booth, Fox Sports again has assembled an all-star cast of competitors for its 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race telecasts.
For Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (4:30 PM ET on FS1), Joey Logano and Kurt Busch have the call alongside play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander, with pit reporting by Jamie Little and Regan Smith. Austin Dillon calls Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas (9:00 PM ET on FS1) with Vince Welch and Michael Waltrip.
Beginning with the inaugural “Drivers Only” NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Pocono Raceway in 2017, Fox NASCAR has continued to pair active drivers with Alexander on a weekly basis. Fox Sports has furthered that effort with the addition of NASCAR drivers as guest analysts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series booth with Welch and Waltrip. In all, Fox Sports features well more than a dozen NASCAR Cup Series drivers, former drivers or crew chiefs throughout the 2021 Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series seasons, with Tony Stewart, Drew Blickensderfer, Tyler Reddick, and Daniel Suarez making their first analyst appearance. Additionally, Fox Sports’ “Drivers Only” telecast returns this season at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 29 (1:00 PM ET on FS1), with an on-air driver team to be announced in the near future. (Fox Sports)
Morgan Pressel Joins Golf Channel and NBC as Analyst and On-Course Reporter
Mmajor champion and two-time LPGA Tour winner Morgan Pressel has joined GOLF Channel and NBC as an analyst and on-course reporter for LPGA Tour and PGA TOUR coverage. She will make her 2021 on-air debut this week at the LPGA Drive On Championship presented by Volvik at Golden Ocala on GOLF Channel.
Pressel – who will also continue to compete on the LPGA Tour – will provide analysis and insights for numerous events throughout 2021, including the U.S. Women’s Open, Amundi Evian Championship, Solheim Cup, and the PGA TOUR’s Honda Classic.
Owning one of the most decorated careers in women’s amateur golf history, Pressel became the then-youngest player to ever qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2001 at age 12. On the LPGA Tour, she became the then-youngest-ever winner of a modern major championship when she won the 2007 ANA Inspiration (formerly the Kraft Nabisco Championship) at age 18. Pressel is a six-time member of Team USA at the Solheim Cup and owns two career LPGA Tour victories.
Pressel brings prior on-air experience to her role with GOLF Channel and NBC. In addition to serving as a guest on-course reporter for LPGA Tour coverage on GOLF Channel, Pressel has been an analyst for the U.S. Senior Women’s Open as well as digital coverage of the U.S. Open for FOX Sports. (NBC Sports)
Legendary Italian Soccer Star Alessandro Del Piero Joins ESPN as Studio Analyst
Italian National Team standout and one of the greatest soccer players of his generation, Alessandro Del Piero has joined ESPN as a soccer analyst. Del Piero will appear on ESPN FC, the critically acclaimed daily soccer studio program exclusive to ESPN+. He will make his debut on Saturday, March 6, at 8 p.m. ET, providing postgame analysis on Juventus vs. Lazio match (2:45 p.m.) and other Serie A matchups of the day.
Del Piero’s professional career spanned 23 years, including 19 seasons at Juventus FC, the most heralded club in Italian soccer. One of the country’s most iconic players, Del Piero began his career with Padova in 1991 and made his first-team debut at 17 years old in a Serie B match in March 1992. In the 1993-94 season, Del Piero joined Juventus FC where he still holds multiple club records including appearances, goals scored, among others and wore the Captain’s armband for a record 11 consecutive seasons. He made his last professional appearance in December 2014 after playing his final pro season in Australia’s A-League and in the inaugural season in the Indian Super League.
At the National Team level, Del Piero appeared in more than 90 matches for Italy from 1995-2008 and he ranks fourth in team history with 27 goals. He represented the Azzurri in three FIFA World Cup tournaments and four UEFA European Football Championships, including the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany where Italy triumphed. Del Piero scored an unforgettable 92nd minute goal in the semifinal against host Germany setting up Italy’s World Cup victory in an emotional shootout that sealed the win.
In addition to his role with ESPN, Del Piero will continue as a pundit with Sky Sports Italia. Still a popular ambassador for many celebrated brands from his playing career, Del Piero is also a highly successful entrepreneur. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he opened a world-class Italian restaurant named No. 10, representing his jersey number as well as owning a professional development soccer team, named LA10 FC and is a co-founder of EDGE Americas Sports. (ESPN)
Sara Perlman Joins NBC Sports Edge & PointsBet as Sports Betting Host and Content Creator
Sara Perlman has joined NBC Sports EDGE and PointsBet, the official sports betting partner of NBC Sports, as a sports betting host and content creator, it was announced today.
Most recently, Perlman was the host of FOX Sports’ Talk the Line during the 2020 NFL season, hosted Countdown to Kickoff on Radio.com in the 2020 NFL postseason, and served as the Baltimore Orioles’ sideline reporter on MASN in 2019. Perlman also previously was a host of NBC Sports’ The Daily Line, which featured topical and entertaining sports talk with a focus on sports betting.
A collegiate soccer player at American University and graduate of the University of Florida, Perlman’s influence will extend to PointsBet, the official sports betting partner of NBC Sports, where she will serve as a public face and voice of the cutting-edge sportsbook operator. In her role, Perlman will double as a host and moderator for daily and recurring video, helping create betting-related content to showcase PointsBet’s unique and premium platform. She will interact with the betting community at large, as well as PointsBet’s existing client base, providing entertainment via engaging information and analysis. (NBC Sports)