ESPN BROADCAST TEAM
Sean McDonough: Play-by-play commentator
Sean McDonough is one of sports television’s most versatile
broadcasters. He is a leading play-by-play commentator for ESPN
college football and basketball games in addition to calling the
annual Par 3 Contest at The Masters. McDonough returned to
ESPN’s college football broadcast team in 2018, where he calls a
premier game each week, as well as one of the College Football
Playoff Semifinals, and the National Championship on ESPN
Radio. McDonough has been with ESPN since 1989 – with the
exception of 1996-99, when he worked exclusively for CBS.
Previously the voice of Monday Night Football (2016-17),
McDonough has covered the World Series, NCAA Final Four, the Olympic Games and all four
major golf championships, among other marquee events during his accomplished career.
McDonough was the television play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox from 1988-
2004, during which time he was honored four times with the New England Sports Emmy
Award for Outstanding Play-by-Play. He spent 10 years at CBS Sports and was the lead college
football play-by-play announcer from 1997-99. During his decade at CBS, McDonough provided
commentary for a diverse array of sporting broadcasts, including men’s and women’s college
basketball, NFL, The Masters and PGA Championship, and US Open Tennis.
A native of Boston, McDonough graduated cum laude from Syracuse University in 1984.
In 2014, McDonough was named to the Hall of Fame for WAER, Syracuse University’s
noncommercial radio station where he began his sports broadcasting career as a student.
The Sports Media Center at Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications also
honored McDonough in July 2016 with the Marty Glickman Award. Presented annually to
a Newhouse alum, “The Marty” recognizes excellence in the field of sports media. Earlier
this year, he received the George Arents Award – the University’s highest honor – as one of
Syracuse’s most accomplished and talented alumni.
In 2012, McDonough was diagnosed with Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (SCDS), a rare
condition that required surgery to repair a hole in the bone near his left ear. After a successful
procedure and recovery, McDonough continues to raise awareness for SCDS.
Holly Rowe: Sideline Reporter
Holly Rowe celebrates more than 20 years as one of ESPN’s
most versatile commentators. Covering a wide variety of sports
for ESPN, Rowe joined the network full-time in August 1998
after appearing on select ESPN telecasts in 1997 and ABC
Sports in 1995-96. Rowe is one of the lead reporters on ESPN
Saturday Night Prime College Football, Big Monday men’s college
basketball, Women’s Final Four, Women’s College World Series,
NCAA Indoor and Beach Volleyball national championships and
Rowe has also provided play-by-play commentary for women’s
college basketball, softball, volleyball and gymnastics. In addition,
Rowe has covered soccer, swimming, track & field and the Little League World Series of
baseball and softball for ESPN. Rowe has also provided play-by-play for women’s college
basketball and women’s college volleyball for Fox Sports from 1993-2003.
Rowe has worked as a sports reporter and anchor for outlets in Salt Lake City including KSL
Radio, Fox 13 TV, KBYU TV, BYU Sports Network and KFNZ Radio. Emmy-nominated Rowe is a
producer and writer of documentaries and features that have aired on KBYU TV, ESPN and FOX
13 TV in Salt Lake City.
She graduated from the University of Utah with a broadcast journalism degree. While at
Utah, Rowe was a sportswriter for the Daily Utah Chronicle and the Davis County Clipper, and
anchored the campus TV station news.
Currently in treatment for Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma, Rowe has become tireless advocate
for cancer research and prevention.
Todd Blackledge: Analyst
Todd Blackledge, who returned to ESPN in 2006 after nearly a
decade at CBS, is an analyst for many of the network’s college
football events, including College Football Primetime. Blackledge
is an analyst alongside play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough,
with sideline reporter Holly Rowe. He also is a regular contributor
to College GameDay, SportsCenter and ESPN Radio. Blackledge
began his broadcast career as a sports-talk radio host in Ohio,
while also doing analysis for the Indianapolis Colts’ preseason,
the Big East Network and for ESPN. He also worked on the Emmy
Award-winning Penn State Football Story.
As the standout quarterback at Penn State, Blackledge started for the Nittany Lions from
1981 to 1983, going 31-5 through three seasons. After leading Penn State to the national
championship in 1982, Blackledge won the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s most
outstanding quarterback, and he finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting. His passer rating
was 10th among the nation’s quarterbacks that season.
In the 1983 NFL Draft, Kansas City selected Blackledge seventh overall. He played for the
Chiefs for five seasons before joining the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1988. He retired in 1989.
Blackledge was one of seven former NCAA student-athletes selected to receive the 2008
Silver Anniversary Award, which recognizes former student-athletes who completed successful
collegiate careers and have gone on to excel in their chosen professions. That same year,
along with seven other former NFL players, Blackledge visited U.S. troops in the Middle East,
where he coached in the USO’s flag football tournament, Operation Gridiron: Huddle with the
In 2009, he was awarded Penn State’s Distinguished Alumni Award. He is a member of Penn
State’s Board of Visitors for Penn State’s Center for Sports Journalism.
Blackledge received a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communication from Penn State in
1983, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. A first-team Academic All-American, he also earned the Eric
Walker Award that year from Penn State, given annually to the senior believed to have most
“enhanced the esteem and recognition of the University.”
Blackledge lives in Canton, Ohio. In the offseason, he coaches high school basketball.
Laura Rutledge: Reporter
Laura Rutledge joined ESPN’s coverage of the Southeastern
Conference in 2014 as a reporter on SEC Network and ESPN.
She recently signed a multi-year contract extension in fall 2019,
becoming a permanent contributor to Get Up.
Rutledge has expanded her portfolio at the network over the past
year to include regular stints as a SportsCenter anchor, and a
red carpet host at the Home Depot College Football Awards and
the ESPYs. Rutledge is in her third year as SEC Nation host and
her fourth year with the show overall. She has also contributed
to ESPN and SEC Network’s live-event programming for college
football, basketball, gymnastics, baseball and softball. She was a
mainstay in ESPN’s extensive championship coverage surrounding the College Football Playoff,
NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, and both the Women’s College World Series and
College World Series.
Prior to joining ESPN, Rutledge was a sports anchor for CNN’s New Day and Early Start. She
also worked on HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade, as well as Fox Sports.
Rutledge has a broadcasting journalism degree from the University of Florida, where she
also won the 2011 Red Barber Award for Excellence in Broadcasting at UF. Rutledge is an
Ambassador for the Miracle League, an organization that builds baseball fields for children
with disabilities. She currently resides in Birmingham, Ala. with her husband Josh Rutledge, a
retired MLB infielder and former Alabama baseball player. They welcomed a daughter, Reese,
in October 2019.
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