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After 32 Years on the Job, Mark Schwarz, SportsCenter’s Longest-Tenured Reporter, Retiring On Monday

Mark Schwarz : “I have been a bit of an outlier in terms of my willingness to get the story even if it creates friction … “

Monday will mark the end of an era at SportsCenter as Mark Schwarz, ESPN’s longest-tenured reporter, retires after 32 years on the job.

In an ESPN career that began in 1990, Schwarz has covered nearly everything across the spectrum of sports. From big events to personality stories, Schwarz has been there, bringing information to ESPN viewers. He discussed his career with Front Row in this extensive profile in 2019.

Over the past year, he has most often been seen on the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, reporting on a news topic of the day for the “SC Report.” Recent subjects have been tennis star Novak Djokovic’s bid to play in the Australian Open and the activism of Boston Celtics player Enes Freedom.

With his career still going full speed, why retire now?

“Schwarz brought a sense of storytelling and hard news reporting.He was versatile, and in many ways, set a very high standard for reporters at ESPN.” – Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production & Executive Editor

“I very much knew when I signed my last deal back in December of 2018 it would be my final deal,” said Schwarz. “And I have thoroughly enjoyed all 32 years that I’ve had.

“Using a sports cliché – I’ve put it all out on the field,” he said. “I have plenty more to give, and I’m a young guy in good health, but there’s a lot more in my life that I’m looking to do right now, and I just want to enjoy the freedom that retirement offers.”

His work has stood out throughout his career.

“Schwarz brought a sense of storytelling and hard news reporting,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production & Executive Editor. “He was versatile, and in many ways, set a very high standard for reporters at ESPN.”

I’m not as worried about[sports figures’] feelings as getting the viewer the actual truth of what’s going on.- Mark Schwarz

Schwarz has never shied away from asking tough questions of newsmakers.

“One of the things that I think has characterized my run is that I have been a bit of an outlier in terms of my willingness to get the story even if it creates friction with players, organizations, media relations people,” he said. “I’m not as worried about their feelings as getting the viewer the actual truth of what’s going on.”

Schwarz has avoided using Twitter and other social media.

“I realize that most people are on Twitter because they’re trying to extend their brand, and I feel that my brand kind of stood for itself,” he said. “I didn’t need to explain it. If you saw my work, you got it. Me being on Twitter doesn’t really serve me at all.”

A lot of stories, interviews and deadlines later, Schwarz looks back on his ESPN career fondly.

“It’s just so great in a business like this where there’s so much turmoil and so much turnover, to have been given the opportunity to put together this type of run with this company is extraordinary,” he said. “And I’m grateful and honored to have done it.”

Mark Schwarz has conducted thousands of interviews in his 32-year ESPN career, which ends Monday with his retirement. (Photos courtesy of Mark Schwarz/ESPN; Illustration: Rich Arden/ESPN)
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