Jay Crawford

Family values at the heart of star sport broadcaster Jay Crawford’s life

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The first image Jay Crawford flashed on the student union ballroom screen Tuesday night was one of him on his graduation day in 1987. Here he was in all his 22-year-old finery, gold necklace visible because his shirt collar was unbuttoned, and long locks hanging underneath his mortar board. The image was a fitting introuction to his talk “You Can Get There from Here,” in which he talked about his journey from Bowling Green State University to a tiny TV station in Hazard, Kentucky, and over 30 years all the way to ESPN’s flagship show SportsCenter.  That “really groovy picture of me,” he said, caught him on the first step of his journey. In the talk the Sandusky native offered advice and encouragement to students about how to pursue a career. That photo also introduced an important undercurrent to Crawford’s success story. He was flanked by his parents. “The people on left and right had an undying faith and belief in me,” he said. They worked hard to put him through college debt-free. “It was my job to never let them down,” Crawford said.  “I want my parents to be proud of me. I want them to understand I appreciate the sacrifices they made for me.” Crawford is spending this academic year as an executive in residence in the School of Media and Communications. In April as part of a cost cutting move, ESPN bought out his contract. The terms of his separation agreement with ESPN will keep him from taking another media job until late 2019. This period is his “practice retirement,” he said. Introducing Crawford, Tariel Turner, an undergraduate student, said has been impressed by Crawford’s “ability to listen, and not just listen, to understand and to affirm.” The qualities that allowed him to ascend through sports broadcasting are rooted in the qualities he learned from his family, particularly grit and work ethic. “Work ethic is a choice,” he said. “If you choose to be the first in and the last out and work harder than all your colleagues, you’ll be rewarded. People from this part of the country have it.” With family members sitting in the front row, he talked about his uncle who was a farmer. No one, he said, worked harder or longer. His Auntie Annie raised four kids by herself. The children went on to get master’s degrees. And after having to quit high school to help support her family, she received her high school diploma at 95. “That’s where I come from,” he said. These folks raised children and grandchildren and “put them through college and stressed the importance of education.” Even before Crawford graduated he put in long hours at BGRSO while his classmates were at the Brathaus. His first job was in Hazard, Kentucky. He was a one-man sports operation. He reported and edited his own film, working 60-70 hours a week for $15,000. This kind of job, he said, benefits someone just out of college. “The more you can do, the more valuable you are to your company.” After three years, he moved to Hartford, Connecticut, covering his first professional sports team, the Hartford Whalers. When his two children were born to him and his wife and Falcon Flame, Tracy, he took a job…


Sports broadcaster Jay Crawford to return to BGSU as executive in residence

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS Longtime sports broadcaster and Bowling Green State University alumnus Jay Crawford will join the university as an executive in residence later this fall. “Jay has left his mark on the sports and communications industry and we are so pleased that he has agreed to share his wealth of knowledge with our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends,” said BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey. Crawford is well known in the sports industry, from anchoring ESPN’s SportsCenter to calling the Little League World Series. He earned a Bachelor of Art in radio, television and film from BGSU in 1987. As an executive in residence, Crawford will share his expertise with students and faculty in the School of Media and Communication, in the Department of Sport Management and with student-athletes. “When students ask about colleges, I always push BGSU,” Crawford said. “My experience here was a springboard to my career. Being asked to come back to the place where I learned so much, and met my wife Tracy, is an honor. “I am excited about the future of Bowling Green State University and eager to give back to students pursuing careers in media, communication and sport management.” The executive-in-residence program will feature mentorship opportunities, classroom lectures and special event appearances. “BGSU offers a world-class educational experience both inside and out of the classroom, with faculty who shape critical thinking skills and staff who empower students to become leaders,” Mazey said. “That experience is enhanced by our executive-in-residence program, which brings thought leaders and industry experts to campus to enrich student learning, aid in faculty development and engage with alumni.” Crawford served as the sports director for WFTS-TV in Tampa, Florida, notably covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl Championship in 2003. He was also the sports director for WBNS-TV in Columbus and served as a weekend sports anchor for WTIC-TV in Hartford, Connecticut. He began his sports television career in 1987 at WYMT-TV in Hazard, Kentucky. His professional achievements include winning four regional Emmy Awards, the Best Sportscaster Kentucky AP Award and three SPJ Best Sports Program Awards. Crawford has been a Children’s Miracle Network host and has contributed time to Special Olympics.