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Martzke Says He's Been A Fan Of Gus Johnson's From Early On

Gus Johnson
Fox Sports announcer Gus Johnson has faced his fair share of criticism this year, his first doing play-by-play for European soccer games. But former USA Today sports TV columnist Rudy Martzke, who earned a reputation handing out “Dreaded Glitch” and “Oops” awards, said he wouldn’t be piling on Johnson if he still wrote his column. Martzke, who I wrote about in this week’s issue of SportsBusiness Journal, described himself as a fan of Johnson’s from the time Johnson was a backup sportscaster for the Fox affiliate in Washington, D.C. “When he got to the national stage of the NCAA tournament that CBS has carried all these years, the fans went nuts for him,” said Martzke. “To me, it was a small minority that thought he was too much. I was a little disappointed when Gus went over to Fox. He’s done well over there. But I’ve kind of missed him on the NCAA tournament.”

Another Martzke favorite is ESPN’s Dick Vitale. Martzke said he recognized early on that Vitale would be a top-tier broadcasting talent, even if Vitale didn’t know it yet. “I was driving Dick back to his hotel in Bristol after watching a night of early-round NCAA tournament games in the early 1980s,” said Martzke. “Dick was complaining to me. He said, ‘Rudy, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve got two kids growing up, and they’re paying me $1,000 an event, and I’ve got a contract for 60 events per year. That can’t make it for me.’ I said, ‘Dick, you’re very good at what you do. Just keep at it, and things will happen for you.’ Sure enough, he’s not only got a lifetime contract with ESPN, but he makes several million a year.”

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Fox, Europe, Soccer, NCAA, CBS, ESPN

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