People & Personalities: Big Ten Net Hires Analysts From Newcomers Maryland, Rutgers
The Big Ten Network has hired several former athletes that played for new conference members Maryland and Rutgers to serve as analysts for the outlet. Former UM football players Shawne Merriman and Scott McBrien, along with former men's basketball player Drew Nicholas, are joining the net as analysts, while ESPN's Christy Winters-Scott, also a UM alum, will "serve as both a studio and game analyst for women's basketball." Longtime ACC announcer Dan Bonner is "joining the network as a men's basketball game analyst" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 7/23). Meanwhile, in Newark, Keith Sargeant notes former RU football players Shaun O'Hara, Eric LeGrand and Ray Lucas will "be part of the on-air Big Ten Network lineup this season." Former men's basketball coach Bob Wenzel also is joining the net as "both a studio and game analyst." In addition, BTN announced that Josh Lewin will do play-by-play for basketball, while Tina Cervasio will report from the sidelines (NJ.com, 7/23).
ACES WILD: SPORTS ON EARTH's Tim Casey notes Andy Roddick after retiring from competitive tennis had "no intention of a full-time media career," but he "changed his mind last spring when Fox Sports 1 executives approached him about auditioning for a spot at the network prior to its August launch." During "test shoots with other ex-athletes and analysts, Roddick's knowledge of numerous topics outside of tennis impressed the bosses." He "fit in well with players from team sports and wasn't afraid to share his opinion." Roddick may be the "most impressive" former athlete on the net, as he is "opinionated and articulate, but doesn't come across as disingenuous or unprepared." He credits "Fox Sports Live" Exec Producer Michael Hughes and Fox Sports Exec VP/Studio Production Scott Ackerson for "helping him adjust to his new career" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 7/25).
PLATE APPROACH: In Albany, Pete Dougherty conducted a Q&A with MLB Network's John Smoltz, who said, "I never really envisioned this to be a full-time career for me." He noted he got a "sneak preview of what it was like when I was hurt in 2008, and got a chance to do a playoff series." That experience "really intrigued" him. Smoltz explained the difference between doing game analysis and working in the studio by saying, "When you're doing a game, you're basically preparing for those two teams and those nuances of what's going on in the game. You're looking for moments to talk about that would explain circumstances that maybe somebody wouldn't understand otherwise, but when you're doing studio you have a broad picture of everything. You have to look at everybody differently than just broadcasting two teams" (Albany TIMES UNION, 7/25).
STAY AS LONG AS YOU'D LIKE: In S.F., Bruce Jenkins noted MLB Giants TV broadcaster Mike Krukow has the opportunity to continue in his role despite suffering from a degenerative muscle disease called inclusion-body myositis. Krukow said, "Just the other day, out of nowhere, (Giants President) Larry Baer grabbed me by the arm and said, 'If you're worried about you're tenure, we want you as long as you can do it. If it comes to where you can't make road trips, or go up a stairway to the plane, whatever -- we'll take what you can give'" (SFGATE.com, 7/24).