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Executive Voice: ESPN Salutes Women’s Sports Programming VP Carol Stiff, Retiring After 31 years

Burke Magnus: ". . . Carol has supported the development of women in the industry and the growth of the game she loves."

EDITOR’S NOTE: President, Programming & Original Content, Burke Magnus, salutes Carol Stiff, VP Women’s Sports Programming, who is retiring from ESPN this week after 31 years.

Carol Stiff
(Kelly Backus/ESPN Images)

A trailblazer in the industry and a passionate advocate for women, Carol Stiff has been essential to ESPN’s commitment to women’s collegiate and professional sports. After 31 years, Carol is retiring from ESPN this Friday, July 2, and we want to celebrate her contributions to ESPN and congratulate her on an incredible career.

Carol has long been a champion of women’s basketball, elevating the sport to unprecedented heights both inside and outside the walls of ESPN. She has led ESPN’s programming efforts for NCAA women’s basketball and the WNBA for decades, bringing viewers some of the biggest rivalries and best matchups the game has to offer, thanks to the relationships she’s forged with coaches and administrators across the sport.

Those epic UConn-Tennessee battles don’t happen without Carol’s tireless pursuit of securing those games for ESPN viewers.

Carol began her career at ESPN in 1990. Apart from a few years on the espnW team, she has been with our department for the vast majority of her time here.

Carol has long been an executive champion of our ERG (Employee Resource Groups), supported diversity & inclusion efforts throughout ESPN programming and the company at large, and has served as a mentor for women throughout The Walt Disney Company. – Burke Magnus regarding Carol Stiff

Carol’s influence can be seen across the company, not just in our live event programming and in original programming like the Nine for IX series and the upcoming Fifty/50 storytelling initiative, where she is an executive producer on the 30 for 30 on the 1996 USA Women’s Basketball Team, but also in the development of Jimmy V Week and in raising awareness for the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund for the V Foundation.

Carol has long been an executive champion of our ERG (Employee Resource Groups), supported diversity & inclusion efforts throughout ESPN programming and the company at large, and has served as a mentor for women throughout The Walt Disney Company.

Through her participation in WICT (Women In Cable Telecommunications), the Women’s Sports Foundation, the USA Women’s Basketball Standing Committee, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors and the Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards Board, among many other organizations, Carol has supported the development of women in the industry and the growth of the game she loves.

Carol has long been ESPN’s “point guard” for our women’s basketball coverage, and it’s only fitting that her legacy will be etched in the history books of the sport at its highest levels. – Magnus regarding Stiff

While Carol has been honored with numerous accolades over the years, it’s cementing her legacy as a Hall of Famer that is front of mind for many. Already a member of the Connecticut and New England Basketball Halls of Fame, Carol will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor later this summer, and ESPN will be cheering her on in Knoxville, Tenn.

Additionally, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will present Carol with the 2021 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, the most prestigious award given by the Hall of Fame outside of Enshrinement.

Carol has long been ESPN’s “point guard” for our women’s basketball coverage, and it’s only fitting that her legacy will be etched in the history books of the sport at its highest levels.

Carol’s retirement was announced during the Women’s Final Four back in April, where she received a touching on-air tribute (as seen above) from some of the sport’s biggest names and greatest supporters.

Carol, thank you for everything you’ve done for ESPN over the past three decades, and we wish you nothing but the best in your next chapter.

CAROL STIFF'S FAVORITE ESPN MOMENT
The Opening Ceremony for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games (Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)

Stiff: “My favorite sports moment was not the Jan. 16, 1995 MLK Tennessee vs UConn game. It was the 2015 Special Olympic World Summer Games Opening Ceremony at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It exemplified ESPN’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusive programming. I was so proud to tell people I worked at ESPN.”


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