Behind The Scenes

Car Wash: Planning for ‘The Works’

Talent Producer Lisa A. Stokes shows the results of months of planning, her “organization boards.”

The famed ESPN “Car Wash” takes it to another level next week.

On two sets of back-to-back days, the Southeastern Conference and Pac-12 will bring all 12 college football coaches from its respective leagues to ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus for interviews.

SEC coaches — six per day — will visit Monday and Tuesday (July 25-26), while the Pac-12 coaches, in a similar format, will be here Wednesday and Thursday (July 27-28).

Talent Producer Lisa A. Stokes has been planning these conference media days for months and calls this the most challenging campus visit she’s encountered in her 3-1/2 years on the job.

She’s worked diligently over the past few weeks arranging interview times with show producers, meticulously cross-referencing itineraries and dedicating five hours on four particular days to create the master schedule.

Said Stokes: “Normally, if you are a few minutes late to an interview, you can make up time throughout the day. For these four days, if one particular coach is late, it doesn’t just throw off his day, it impacts six coaches’ schedules.

“That’s how intertwined they are. Literally all of these schedules are built down to the exact minute.”

Every coach is scheduled to appear on SportsCenter and College Football Live, and participate in a live Twitter chat at some point during his day.

Another highlight will be SportsNation on Thursday (July 28), when all six Pac-12 North coaches will be on set together.

Otherwise, every coach has a personalized schedule of appearances on ESPN Radio and television programs and any number of other ESPN platforms from online chats to podcasts.

In addition to the coaches, the traveling party for these visits will include commissioners Mike Slive of the SEC and Larry Scott of the Pac-12.

There will be other conference officials, Sports Information Directors, and even some coaches’ family members.

“We’ve had to recruit people outside of our immediate group of Talent Producers, but we have someone assigned to every visiting coach, and we even have a few runners to assist with the other guests to ensure an uninterrupted schedule,” added Stokes.

Ten of the Pac-12 coaches made a similar visit to ESPN last year — before Colorado and Utah joined the conference — so they‘re aware of how the “Car Wash” works.

The SEC is doing this for the first time, though a handful of its coaches have been to ESPN for individual visits.

“The conferences have been great to work with, and their coaches are going to have a very good experience,” Stokes said.

“We’ve put a lot of hours of thought and hard work into the schedules and it should pay off with some terrific content just a few weeks before the new season kicks off.”

SEC and Pac-12 “Car Wash” Days at ESPN:

Monday, July 25 SEC Group #1
Gene Chizik Auburn
Derek Dooley Tennessee
Dan Mullen Mississippi State
Will Muschamp Florida
Houston Nutt Ole Miss
Steve Spurrier South Carolina


Tuesday, July 26 SEC Group #2
James Franklin Vanderbilt
Les Miles LSU
Bobby Petrino Arkansas
Joker Phillips Kentucky
Mark Richt Georgia
Nick Saban Alabama


Wednesday, July 27 Pac-12 South
Mike Stoops Arizona
Dennis Erickson Arizona State
Jon Embree Colorado
Rick Neuheisel UCLA
Lane Kiffin USC
Kyle Wittingham Utah


Thursday, July 28 Pac-12 North
Jeff Tedford Cal
Chip Kelly Oregon
Mike Riley Oregon State
David Shaw Stanford
Steve Sarkisian Washington
Paul Wulff Washington State
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