Mike Tirico has handled a variety of assignments for ESPN, ESPN Radio and ABC Sports since 1991, establishing himself as one of the most recognizable faces and steady voices across ESPN’s multimedia platforms and in the industry at large. In 2006 he assumed one of the top positions in sports television as ESPN’s Monday Night Football play-by-play commentator. Tirico’s other major roles include NBA, college basketball and golf play-by-play/host and studio host for major events.
Tirico works alongside analyst Jon Gruden on MNF, the most-viewed series in cable television history. He is just the fourth person – joining broadcasting legends Keith Jackson, Frank Gifford and Al Michaels – to occupy the play-by-play post in the more than 40-year history of sports television’s signature series.
Tirico handles play-by-play for NBA games paired with analyst Hubie Brown on ESPN and ABC, as well as the NBA Finals (also with Dr. Jack Ramsey) on ESPN Radio. In 2012, he returned to ESPN’s college basketball coverage as the play-by-play voice for weekly Super Tuesday Big Ten games alongside analyst Dan Dakich. He is also ESPN’s top golf host/commentator, working alongside the likes of analysts Andy North, Curtis Strange and Paul Azinger on major events, including the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the first two rounds of The Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, which ESPN added to its golf portfolio in April 2008.
Tirico continues to build upon his impressive credentials with a number of high-profile major assignments. In August 2009, he hosted U.S. Open grand slam tennis from Flushing Meadows – a venue Tirico frequented while growing up in Queens, N.Y.– as part of ESPN’s new agreement with the U.S. Tennis Association. And in the summer of 2010 he hosted ESPN’s coverage of two major global sports events – joining Bob Ley and Chris Fowler to anchor pre, halftime and post-match shows and SportsCenter segments from the FIFA World Cup in South Africa; and increasing his golf play-by-play and host responsibilities when ESPN presented all four rounds of The Open Championship for the first time.
A regular host and contributor to ESPN Radio, Tirico is part of the weekly Countdown to Kickoff Friday program (7-9 p.m.) in the fall devoted to college and pro football, alongside the likes of Chris Mortensen and Keyshawn Johnson. He hosts the “Open Mike” podcast that examines sports topics in-depth with long-form interviews and commentary, and SportsBeat afternoon drive-time commentaries throughout the year. Tirico also handled radio play-by-play for the 2010 Rose Bowl and 2010-12 BCS Championship games, working alongside MNF partner Jon Gruden and Todd Blackledge.
Tirico previously hosted The Mike Tirico Show on ESPN Radio, a nationally-syndicated sports news and discussion program, which launched September 20, 2007 (from the studios of WAER-AM, the same Central New York public radio station at Syracuse University where Tirico began his broadcasting career). In May 2008, the two-hour weekday afternoon program was re-launched as the Tirico & Van Pelt Show with SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt named the co-host. Tirico stepped away from the show in July 2009.
Tirico has always been one of the industry’s most versatile sportscasters, covering play-by-play duties for ESPN NFL games, Thursday and Saturday college football games, college basketball, NBA games for both networks (including hosting NBA broadcasts on ABC), and golf coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
Tirico has covered his share of big-time events: anchoring SportsCenter coverage from the 2009 NCAA Final Four, co-hosting Super Bowl XL pre-game and post-game shows; NBA Finals coverage for ABC Sports and ESPN Radio; the Fedex Orange Bowl; and The Open Championship. He received critical acclaim for eloquently capturing the tone and emotion both when the New Orleans Saints triumphantly returned to the Louisiana Superdome after Hurricane Katrina on MNF in 2006, and when Virginia Tech hosted its first college football game in August 2007 in the aftermath of the on-campus shootings that spring.
Tirico joined ESPN as a SportsCenter anchor in July 1991, later serving as host of Monday Night Countdown during the NFL season from that show’s 1993 launch to 2001. From 1993-1997, he anchored ESPN’s College Football Scoreboard show and on November 1, 1996 he hosted the debut of ESPNEWS. Tirico has hosted ESPN’s SportsCenter coverage of the U.S. Open, The Masters and the Daytona 500. He has also anchored coverage of the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, and NFL Draft for both television and radio. In 1998, he also appeared on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown.
In recent years, Tirico has largely left the studio to focus on event coverage. In December 1996, he was named golf host for ABC Sports with his first on-air partner Curtis Strange. He worked college basketball and Thursday night college football telecasts for ESPN from 1997-2006. His NBA assignments commenced with the 2002–03 season, when ESPN and ABC acquired their extensive schedules, including the NBA Finals on ABC and ESPN Radio.
Tirico was an original ESPN Radio host when the network debuted in 1992 and anchored The NFL on ESPN Radio (1993-96), a New York Festival Gold World Medal winner in 1995. He was the first host (1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons) of The NBA on ESPN Radio, which includes regular and post-season games, All-Star Weekend and the NBA Draft. On January 1, 2004, Tirico assumed the role as voice of ESPN Radio’s weekday afternoon drivetime “SportsBeat” segments, the five-minute daily mainstay of the network since Brent Musburger launched ESPN Radio with the inaugural “SportsBeat” on January 1, 1992.
Prior to joining ESPN, Tirico worked inSyracuse,N.Y.(1987-1991). He was sports director at CBS affiliate WTVH-TV and play-by-play voice forSyracuseUniversitybasketball, football, lacrosse and volleyball for the Super Sports Network of Cook CableVision.
Tirico was named the 2010 Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA), an award voted on by his industry peers. He has also been nominated for a Sports Emmy in the Outstanding Personality – Play-by-Play category, and he received the 2011 Harrah’s Sports Broadcaster of the Year Award from the Maxwell Football Club.
In 1989, Tirico was named top local sportscaster by the Syracuse Journal, and received an Associated Press New York Broadcasters award for 48 Hours with Syracuse University Football, a 30-minute documentary on the team’s preparation for a game. In 1987, he was the first recipient of the Bob Costas Scholarship, given to an exceptional broadcast journalism student at Syracuse. Tirico remains very active in alumni activities at Syracuse. In the fall of 2007, he participated in the dedication of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications’ new building, Newhouse III.