Kirk Herbstreit and Gene Wojciechowski have worked closely together on ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot for years. They developed an even closer bond in recent months, collaborating on Herbstreit’s memoir “Out of the Pocket: Football, Fatherhood and College GameDay Saturdays,” which published today.
A few years ago, during a dinner at LSU, ESPN reporter Wojciechowski – who has authored multiple books during his award-winning sports writing career – first asked college football analyst Herbstreit about the possibility of writing a book together.
Wojciechowski recalls, “He listened politely, but at the time, I would have had a better chance of asking Nick Saban to change Alabama’s helmet color from crimson to lavender.”
They spoke again in 2020 during the COVID pandemic, and this time Herbstreit decided to do it.
“For me to open up and talk about 51 years is a really difficult and challenging thing to do,” said Herbstreit, who openly discusses his own self-doubts and often unsatisfying relationship with his father, among other deeply personal topics in the book. “Because of my trust in Gene, it allowed me to open up and get to some places that I had compartmentalized. That was tough to get through, but it was almost therapeutic in some ways.
“If it weren’t a person I had a relationship with and a comfort with, there’s no way I would have been able to write the book.”
Wojciechowski added: “What I appreciated most was Kirk’s willingness, almost insistence, on giving an honest account of his life – everything from his complicated family past to his own challenges as a husband and father. I was honored by his trust, and his vulnerability was a lesson in strength. We were colleagues – now I’d like to think we’re true friends. It was a joy to play a small part in his memoir.”
Editor’s Note: For more on “Out of the Pocket,” ESPN.com posted an excerpt from the book about Herbstreit’s close relationship with College Game Day colleague Lee Corso. ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning analyst also discusses his book on the latest Adam Schefter Podcast.
Anna Negron contributed to this post.