– ESPN EVP, Programming and Production, John Wildhack, regarding Mike Tirico
Thursday is Mike Tirico’s 25-year anniversary working for ESPN – the same day the respected play-by-play voice and studio host concludes his final assignment for the company, hosting coverage of the Poland-Portugal quarterfinal (2:30 p.m. ET) and post-match UEFA EURO 2016 Tonight studio show (5 p.m.) from Paris.
When he arrived in Bristol in 1991, Tirico was the sportscaster equivalent of a No. 1 draft pick. A few years removed from Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications – widely considered the nation’s top broadcast journalism program, the 24-year old wunderkind brought both talent and a wealth of experience to his first national job.
Over the past two-and-half decades, Tirico has established himself as one of the industry’s most versatile talents. He initially made his mark in-studio, anchoring SportsCenter and hosting NFL Prime Monday (now Monday Night Countdown) and ESPN’s College Football Scoreboard. He helped launch ESPNEWS and ESPN Radio, among other roles.
After moving to live events, Tirico consistently expanded his ESPN and ABC Sports assignments from college football to the NFL, becoming just the fourth play-by-play voice in the storied history of Monday Night Football. He also became a key voice in ESPN’s presentation of the NBA, college basketball, major golf championships, tennis grand slams, global football events and more.
Whether he’s at Augusta National, Lambeau Field, Staples Center, Wimbledon or any other notable venue, Tirico always welcomes fans with his steady voice and warmth – and impresses with his encyclopedic knowledge. Away from the camera, he is widely respected by co-workers for his preparation and for the way he greets everyone on the crew – from on-air partners to runners pulling cables – with a smile and a handshake. And, as someone who has tremendous respect for his craft, Tirico regularly trumpets the work of fellow broadcasters throughout the industry.
When it was announced that Tirico would be leaving ESPN for NBC, ESPN’s Executive Vice President, Programming and Production, John Wildhack, echoed the sentiments of the entire company:
“During his 25 years with the company, Mike has made tremendous contributions to ESPN across the variety of sports and properties he has touched; even more important, he has developed lasting friendships with his on-air colleagues and so many ESPN employees behind the camera. We thank Mike for all he’s done for ESPN and we wish him the best in this new chapter of his career.”
As he makes his final appearance Thursday, we offer a heartfelt thanks and salute our longtime friend and colleague with a gallery of photos from his 25 years with ESPN and some vintage video (below) from early in his ESPN career.
Samantha Baron produced the video below.