Chris McKendry is one of the only female sports anchors in the country, but she can definitely fulfill a “man’s” job. Before her days at ESPN, Chris was enrolled at Drexler University, studying Humanities and on a tennis scholarship. After graduating and finding a sports reporting job at an ABC affiliate, where she became the first woman to work as a televised sports anchor in the industry, she joined SportsCenter’s broadcasting team in 1996. She has been the co-host of the midday SportsCenter program since it’s starting in 2008. Alongside anchoring for the network, she has also hosted the each of the three major tennis tournaments (the French Open, Australian Open, and the U.S. Open), was a co-host of the 1997 and 1998 Winter X-Games, was a sideline reporter for multiple networks of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and has covered the National Spelling Bee.
Stan Verrett is Neil Everett’s co-host of the late night and early morning SportsCenter programs. Verrett is a Howard University alumni, where he studied journalism. While he was attending college, he was viewed by his peers as one of the most outstanding graduates in his field in 1989. From there, Stan pursued broadcasting for various morning shows in Norfolk, Charleston, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. Before his stint at ESPN, he was a sports anchor for several ABC and NBC affiliates like WVEC-TV, WDSU-TV, and WAVY-TV. He then joined the ultimate sports anchoring experience in 2000 and has been going strong with Neil ever since. In addition to his late-night sportscasting, Verrett is also involved with ESPNEWS and hosts programs Friday Night Fights and NBA Fastbreak.
Linda is not just one of the very few females involved with the program, but she is extraordinary at what she does and has been on the show longer than all but two other SportsCenter anchors. It’s hard to take her out of the top ten of this list because of what she brings to the table for not only the program, but for women in society as well. Many critics hate on Linda for holding a position in a man’s industry, but she is truly a hardcore sports fanatic. She has been sportscasting since 1981, where she took advantage of brief anchoring opportunities for smaller radio stations such as WALK-FM. She volunteered to take her little video camera to New York Islander hockey games and covered them, allowing viewers to notice her and see what she has to bring to the table. It apparently worked for her because she was finally offered a sportscasting job for a CBS affiliate, and caught the eye of ESPN not too long after.
Consummating quite the dynamic duo of quality broadcasting, Neil Everett is often found on late-night SportsCenter programming alongside co-anchor Stan Verrett. Neil is infamous for his shouting of “Right Now!” at the conclusion of the introduction to every upcoming show. Neil has some of the slickest catchphrases in the sportscasting assemblage, most of which are derived from his Hawaiian roots when he lived on the island for 15 years, serving as an athletic administrator at Hawaii Pacific University and sports directing and weekday anchoring for several affiliates in Honolulu. Everett has been a member of the SportsCenter cast since July 2000, and many are expecting him to remain there for many years to come.
Although Keith Olbermann was highly touted as one of the most obnoxious and hated SportsCenter anchors to ever live, he was still one of the best in the history of the program. Olbermann became the co-host of SportsCenter with Dan Patrick in from 1992-1997, but he was selected by ESPN to be the premiere personality to help jump-start SportsNight, a newly-added show on ESPN2 in 1993. The highs for Olbermann included winning the 1995 CableACE Award for Best Sportscaster, but his lows overshadow that. He was suspended two entire weeks because of an incident with The Daily Show, and then he published a bashing essay towards ESPN and his experiences there. With all the negative controversy surrounding Keith, he decided to discourteously left the company and burned every bridge he established while being there.
Scott Van Pelt
Scott is a major contributor to to the network’s golf department. He covers the most prominent events such as The Masters on live television, but also participates in commentating in video games such as some of the later games in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series. Scott brings one of the most entertaining personalities to the set, and is often the centerpiece of the comical SportsCenter commercials that are regularly aired. In addition to his position as an anchor, Van Pelt also offers his own program that started in 2009, The Scott Van Pelt Show.
Bob Ley is a SportsCenter classic figure. Ley joined the sports squad on the third day of the network’s birth in 1979. He is widely known as the host of the popular program series Outside the Lines, which highlights athletes’ and sports’ issues off the field. With Ley at the helm of this series, Outside the Lines has earned eight Sports Emmy Awards for Sports Journalism and three CableACE Awards for Sports Information Series. Ley himself has captured the 1995 Excellence in Sports Journalism Award from Northeastern University. Bob has been extremely versatile for SportsCenter as he has been an anchor, has hosted the Outside the Lines series, has been involved with play-by-play broadcasting of the World Cup games, and has hosted other coverages like the network’s National Football League Draft and NCAA basketball tournament.
In 1994, Kenny Mayne was hired to join the ESPN crew and was soon transitioned into the SportsCenter anchor position. If anybody was known for their desert-dry sense of humor and odd catchphrases, it’s Kenny Mayne. He spent many years as a SportsCenter broadcaster, and even had the privilege of working with legend anchor Dan Patrick for several years before Patrick left the network. Also included on Mayne’s impressive resume is his hosting of RPM 2Night, ESPN2′s motor sports show, 2-Minute Drill, and continues to cover horse racing, which is his life-long passion. He also has a couple series on the network that are named after him named The Mayne Event and Mayne Street, a fictional show that releases two new episodes on a weekly basis. In terms of awards, Kenny isn’t lacking in that department with an Old Hilltop Award in 2006 for his brilliance in broadcasting thoroughbred racing.
Stuart, as he would put it, is “cooler than the other side of the pillow.” He heads the anchors with his hysterical personality and humor, wowing sports fans all over the country. The catchphrase statements he demonstrates on a show-to-show basis make fanatics want to watch him every time he is on the air. He is infamous for his irreparable lazy eye, which was actually induced while he was on the job. He was taking advantage of his ESPN job title, and partook in wide receiver drills with the New York Jets after being invited to do so. He was involved in a drill that forced him to have his back to the machine that was spitting out footballs, and quickly react and attempt to catch the ball coming at him, but unfortunately for Stuart, his reflexes were a tad slow and the ball clocked him directly in the eye. Stuart remained a part of SportsCenter after he received medical attention, and will endure his role as an elite sports anchor.
“Whoop!” Chris Berman is one of the two orginial SportsCenter anchors still around today, and has been a huge influence on sports broadcasting. Boomer is an NFL mastermind, and is one of the most prolific figures in the industry today. National Football League fans pick his brain and listen closely to his words because of his knowledge of the game of football. He is featured on the Monday Night Countdown and Sunday NFL Countdown programs of the show, where he conveys potential scores and revisits highlights in previously played NFL games. His commentary is flawless and can be listened to for hours, while filling minds with a plethora of information and statistics. ESPN’s Vice President of Production has been quoted saying, “He is our most important person here.” SportsCenter will surely become less entertaining and informative when the Chris Berman era comes to an end.
After a six-year stretch as a sports anchor for CNN, Dan Patrick was partnered with Keith Olbermann to form the greatest duo of sports anchors ever, jump-starting this sports channel to a whole new level. The two served together from 1992-1997, but Dan Patrick was part of the network since 1989, to eventually leave his position and truly end an elite era of sportscasting in 2006. Aside from being a SportsCenter anchor, Patrick also covered Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Finals, and Final Four tournaments throughout his lengthy career and hosted his own show, called the Dan Patrick Show, from 1999 to 2007. Off the air, Dan was a writer for ESPN the Magazine and featured interviews and dramatic stories with countless athletes from all sports, and has published a few books about his experiences and the sports world since his departure. His excellence and talents was finally recognized in 1997, when he won his first of three major awards as a broadcaster. Soon following his 1997 CableACE Award, 1998 presented him with a Sports Emmy Award in Studio Hosting, and 2000 brought him home the National Sportscaster of the Year Award, making him just the second cable anchor to win it.