Sunday’s Pro Bowl telecast marked the final game of the season for ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew – and the end of an era, as veteran coordinating director Chip Dean directed his last game in the truck.
Dean, who has been responsible for the development of ESPN’s Bristol-based team of directors since 2011, will now expand his focus, mentoring and collaborating with a larger team of directors, including college networks (SEC, ACC and Longhorn) and more.
In his new role, Dean will work with event managers to create a path for aspiring directors and develop a succession plan across ESPN’s portfolio of sports properties, while continuing to integrate innovation and new technology.
During the fourth quarter of the Pro Bowl, ESPN aired a tribute to Dean, who has directed the company’s NFL games since 2001 – first on Sunday Night Football (2001-05) and since 2006 on MNF.
An original 1979er – ESPN’s 10th most-tenured current employee, Dean joined ESPN just two months after the original network launch.
“Chip has set an enormously high bar for our NFL game presentation. Under his leadership, Monday Night Football has captured some of the most memorable moments in ESPN’s history of covering the League, and his preparation, production knowledge and work ethic are unrivaled,” said Executive Vice President, ESPN Event and Studio Production, Stephanie Druley.
She added: “Our ESPN event directors will benefit from Chip’s vast experience and expertise as he now focuses on this new opportunity of leading this group.”
If there was a Mount Rushmore of ESPN event directors, Dean surely would be on it.
Highly respected throughout the industry, his production credits over more than three decades include the NFL and NFL Draft; college football on ESPN and ABC; National Championship games; Big Monday and legendary BIG EAST basketball tournaments – including the historic six-overtime UConn versus Syracuse game in 2009; the College World Series; X Games; ESPYS; the Indy 500 pre-race show; and more.
In all, he has garnered four Sports Emmys and three Cable Ace awards.
“I’m blessed to have worked with so many great people and on so many memorable events over 35 years,” said Dean. “Directing NFL games, especially on an iconic series like Monday Night Football, exceeded my wildest dreams. I take great pride in what we accomplished and how we have elevated the game of football on television. I look forward to giving back to the next generation.”
MNF producer Jay Rothman has partnered with Dean for 28 consecutive seasons, including the last 13 years on MNF, making them one of the longest-running production duos in sports television history.
“Chip is relentless in his pursuit of excellence and he’s highly competitive, always striving to innovate and challenge our team to be the best it can be,” said Rothman. “He’s been the rock of MNF and a tremendous partner in so many ways. Now his gifts will be passed on to the next generation.”
On a more personal note, Rothman added: “MNF is a family and Chip is a brother to me. Monday nights will not be the same without him, but he will excel in this new role in the same way he tackles everything else.”
In the coming weeks, ESPN will announce the new director who will work with Rothman and the MNF team in 2019.