Saturday at 11 a.m. ET, ESPN analyst Mack Brown and sideline reporter Kaylee Hartung will kick off the ESPN Bowl season with the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Nevada versus Louisiana-Lafayette.
The game marks the first time the duo have worked together as ESPN colleagues, but they do have an on-air history.
In 2012, Hartung was a reporter at Longhorn Network, the 24-hour channel devoted to the University of Texas, and Brown was the head coach of the Texas football team. Hartung estimates she’s interviewed Mack no less than 50 times during her two-year stint at LHN.
“My first day on the job, I was in Mack’s office. He was the first coach I met,” Hartung said. “It’s hard to name anyone who has been more kind than Mack Brown through my career in sports. The chance to be a part of his first broadcast in the booth is a something truly special. He keeps telling me, ‘I’m the rookie here’.
“It was actually quite the surprise to see ‘M. Brown’ next to my name when the bowl assignments came out. I had to do a double-take.”
For the New Orleans Bowl assignment, Brown and Hartung will work with play-by-play announcer Bob Wischusen for the ESPN television presentation; ESPN Radio will cover the game with the team of commentator Bill Rosinski, analyst David Norrie and sideline reporter Joe Schad.
In addition to the Texas reunion, the New Orleans Bowl serves as a homecoming for both Brown and Hartung.
Brown was previously the head coach at Tulane and Hartung is from Louisiana, growing up less than 80 miles from New Orleans.