ESPN today announced that it has hired former coach Bill Parcells and Pro Football HOFer Jerry Rice as NFL analysts. Parcells will make regular "Sunday NFL Countdown" appearances, and contribute a pair of special programs: "Super Bowl Confidential" and "Draft Confidential." Those two "SportsCenter" specials will be similar to the 90-minute special he filmed for ESPN around April's NFL Draft. Parcells will make his latest ESPN debut next week on "Monday Night Countdown." Rice, as expected, joins ESPN as a contributor to its football programming, notably "NFL Live" and "Audibles" (THE DAILY). ESPN VP/Communications Mike Soltys said that Parcells likely will be "primarily appearing on big-event coverage such as the playoffs and draft and making occasional regular-season appearances rather than taking on a weekly schedule" (USA TODAY, 8/10). Meanwhile, ESPN VP/PR Josh Krulewitz confirmed that former NFLers Warrick Dunn and Derrick Brooks "won't be returning as football analysts at ESPN this season" (USATODAY.com, 8/10).
OCTOBER SKY: Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Ian Poulter and Liang Wen-chong, the No. 1 golfer in China, will fly through seven Chinese cities in seven days for the Shui On Land China Golf Challenge from Oct. 10-16. The made-for-TV event will be broadcast globally on Golfing World and distributed internationally by IMG Media. The golfers will play 18 holes over the week, competing on two or three holes at each of eight different courses. The Shui On Land China Golf Challenge also features Pro-Ams, coaching clinics and publicity events (THE DAILY).
GRIN & BEAR IT: In DC, Tarik El-Bashir reported the Capitals have hired AHL Hershey Bears announcer John Walton as the NHL team's "new radio play-by-play voice." Walton replaces Steve Kolbe, "who is not being brought back after 14 seasons" with the Capitals. Kolbe "had been working on a year-to-year contract with the Caps but was informed in July that the team planned to open up the position to others." Walton said that he "interviewed for the position last week" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/9).
SHIPPING OUT OF BOSTON: In Boston, Chad Finn reported Jade McCarthy is leaving NESN "after less than two years." McCarthy, anchor of "NESN Daily," will return to Philadelphia, where she worked for WCAU-NBC before moving to Boston in '09. McCarthy is seven months pregnant, and sources said that her husband "recently got a job in Philadelphia and they decided to move before the birth of their child" (BOSTON.com, 8/9).