Herbstreit Signs New Nine-Year Deal With ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN fans will be seeing a lot more of veteran college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit.  The two-time Sports Emmy Award winner has signed a new deal with “The Sports Leader” that will keep him there through 2022.  He earned the award for “Best Studio Analyst” in 2010 and 2011.  He will continue to call ABC’s Saturday Night Football package and will also make weekly appearances on a number of ESPN shows including: ESPN College Game Day built by The Home Depot and College Football Live.  This season marks Herbstreit’s eighteenth season as co-analyst on the prior of the two. 

When asked about the new deal, ESPN Executive VP of Production John Wildhack expressed his pleasure at having the deal finalized.  “Kirk Herbstreit is synonymous with college football’s biggest stage and moments. He is at the top of his game and he’s ours into the next decade. We’re thrilled,” he said.  Herbstreit shared that sentiment, adding “I’ve always felt that ESPN and ABC are the home of college football and even more so now that they have the College Football Playoff for 12 years. Considering the opportunities that lay ahead and the great people I get to work with every day, it was an easy decision to stay with the company that gave me my start.”

This season, he will also get back to his radio roots.  He will start working with Colin Cowherd for his show, The Herd with Colin CowherdThe Herd airs on ESPN Radio Monday – Friday from 10am – 1pm EST. 

The new, nine-year deal will see Herbstreit back in the booth again for this year’s Rose Bowl and BCS Title National Championship.  When the BCS system switches over in 2015 to the College Football Playoff, Herbstreit will call one National Semifinal and the National Championship each season.  Along with this, he will also make contributions on SportsCenter, online at ESPN.com, and in ESPN The Magazine.   

Herbstreit’s College Game Day cohort Lee Corso shared his thoughts on the announcement, adding that it is because of Herbstreit that College Game Day is as popular as it is today.  “ESPN and College GameDay are better because of Kirk. He is not only a talented analyst, he is an even better person, family man and an asset to ESPN,” he said.  “And I am proud of all he has accomplished. To him I say, ‘Not so fast my friend…’ I look forward to working next to Kirk beyond my 86th birthday!”

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ESPN Airs Latest Film In 30 for 30 Series Tuesday Night

Courtesy: ESPN/ESPN Films

The latest installment of ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series is set to air tomorrow night, October 9th, at 8pm EST.  Following the success of Broken, ESPN will next air the program, 9.799.79 follows the now matchup between track stars Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis in the Men’s 100m final at the 1988 Olympic Games.  While the matchup made news headlines around the world, the steroid scandal that followed it was just as big.  97.9 focuses on the scandal as well.  The scandal centered on what would become an increasingly large revelation about those who had taken P.E.D.’s and anabolic steroids.  Johnson himself was wrapped up in the scandal, and would lose his gold medal as a result of the investigation.  The trailer for the special can be viewed here:  http://espn.go.com/30for30/

Along with tomorrow night’s broadcast, Grantland.com will run two features related to 97.9.  One of those features will be a podcast featuring an episode of Bill Simmons’ The B.S. Report.  Malcolm Gladwell will be on the podcast.  There will also be a first-hand account of the matchup written by Grantland writer Charlie Pierce.  Pierce was on hand for the race at the games in Seoul.

97.9 was a selection in this year’s annual Toronto Film Festival.  It was directed by Daniel Gordon.  For those that can’t catch tomorrow night’s broadcast, there are four more films in the latest 30 for 30 series.  Audiences can catch There’s No Place Like Home next Tuesday, October 16th at 8pm EST.  And on the following Tuesday, October 23rd, ESPN will air Benji at 8pm EST.  ESPN will close out the month with a broadcast of Ghosts of Ole Miss on Tuesday, October 30th at 8pm EST.  The last film in this series will be You Don’t Know Bo.  Fans can catch this piece Saturday, December 8th at 9pm.

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ESPNU Airing New “Storied” Special Next Week

ESPNU is presenting a very special presentation next Tuesday, September 25th as part of ESPN’s “Storied” series.  The network will premiere the special, “Croom” next Tuesday night at 7pm EST. 

“Croom” focuses on famed Mississippi State University coach Sylvester Croom.  He’s seen some very high and some low points.  Croom was part of three SEC Championship teams as a student athlete at the University of Alabama.  He was also the first ever African American Center on the football team.  Croom moved on to the NFL after his college career, where he served as an assistant coach for seventeen years before being considered for the head football coach of his alma mater.  Ultimately, he would be beaten out by Mike Shula.  It would be a year later when Croom took the helm of the embattled Mississippi State football program.  Three straight winning seasons and back to back wins against the Crimson Tide in ’06 and ’07 along with a Liberty Bowl win and Coach of The Year honors would seemingly secure his place at Mississippi State.  But that wouldn’t be the case, as he was surprisingly asked to step down from his post after the season that followed. 

Croom showed that despite being asked to step down from his coaching position, he wouldn’t let that adversity keep him down.  He returned to the NFL and now serves as part of the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff. 

This powerful story of success over great odds and adversity is perfect for any college football fan.  It airs on ESPNU next Tuesday night at 7pm EST. 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com