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ESPN producers hail Musburger, recipient of Sports Emmy for lifetime achievement

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas (L) joins the Rupp Arena crowd applauding Brent Musburger during Musburger's last ESPN play-by-play call on Jan. 31 in Lexington, Ky. (Mat Gdowski/ESPN Images (Mat Gdowski/ESPN Images)
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas (L) joins the Rupp Arena crowd applauding Brent Musburger during Musburger’s last ESPN play-by-play call on Jan. 31 in Lexington, Ky. (Mat Gdowski/ESPN Images)

Tonight in New York, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) will honor one of the most recognizable and accomplished voices in sports broadcasting, former ESPN/ABC commentator Brent Musburger, as the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports Emmy.

After spending 15 years as the face of CBS Sports, Musburger joined ABC in 1990. During his career at ABC and ESPN, he hosted and/or called play-by-play for college football (including seven BCS Championship Games) and basketball, golf, NBA, NASCAR and IRL races, the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the Little League World Series from 2000-11. He also hosted Super Bowl XXV’s pre-game and halftime shows as well as the 1991 Pan Am Games from Cuba.

Producers at ESPN reflected on working with the legend, who in January of this year called his final game for the network, a Georgia-Kentucky men’s basketball game.

Bill Bonnell, producer for more than 10 years of Saturday Night Football games, Rose Bowl games, and College Football National Championship games with Musburger:
“The Brent Musburger the viewers listened to and loved on the air is the Brent Musburger we all knew off-camera. Down to Earth, warm, engaging, funny, smart. He was the talent, and he was always a teammate and friend.”

Steve Ackels, coordinating producer for SEC Network events:
“Brent’s iconic voice and passion for all sports were on display from when he started his national television career in 1975 until his last game at Rupp Arena. No matter the matchup or venue, Brent put everything into knowing the players and storylines for each telecast. Nobody sets a scene like Brent, and no one elevates a big moment like he can. He is one of the greatest storytellers in broadcasting history.”

Scott Matthews, producer for Musburger’s SEC Saturday Night Game primetime package on SEC Network:
“Brent was the voice of my childhood Sundays watching the NFL, and then the voice of my Saturdays as a producer years later. Hearing ‘You are looking live’ through my headset and our production truck speakers every Saturday made me feel like I was a kid who couldn’t wait for kickoff again.”
 
A quote from ESPN President John Skipper and more information on the award can be read here.

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