NABJ Mourns the Loss of ESPN Host John Saunders
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Posted by: Aprill Turner
WASHINGTON (Aug. 10, 2016) - NABJ mourns the loss of member and longtime ESPN host John Saunders. He was on-air at ESPN for 30 years. The network announced he died this morning at the age of 61.
Saunders hosted studio and play-by-play programming. He covered college football, basketball and the NHL for the network, in addition to anchoring SportsCenter. He was also host of The Sports Reporters.
The popular host was just seen most recently last week at the 2016 NABJ/NAHJ Convention & Career Fair in Washington, D.C. Industry professionals and admirers were able to be in his presence one last time. On Friday, he was a panelist at the ESPN Pro Camp.
“John Saunders provided inspiration and mentorship to scores of NABJers as evidenced by his participation and fellowship at the NABJ-NAHJ Convention last week.” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “NABJ mourns Saunders following the news of his untimely passing. We extend heartfelt sympathies to Saunders’ family, friends and his ESPN colleagues.”
“We @NABJSports are deeply saddened by the passing of ESPN's John Saunders. We will miss your strong voice, knowledge & passion. RIP,” tweeted Marc Spears, chair of the Sports Task Force.
John Skipper, president of ESPN, speaks to Saunders’ imprint on ESPN and sports journalism.
“John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades. His wide range of accomplishments across numerous sports and championship events is among the most impressive this industry has ever seen,” said Skipper.
“More importantly, John was a beloved and devoted family man who cared deeply about people and causes, as evidenced by his long-standing efforts as a passionate board member for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. He was one of the most significant and influential members of the ESPN family, as a colleague and mentor, and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this extremely difficult time.”
Saunders joined ESPN from WMAR in Baltimore in 1986. He started his TV career at CKNY in Ontario before moving to ATV News in New Brunswick. Before joining WMAR, he worked at CITY-TV in Toronto.
About the National Association of Black Journalists:
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide.
*Reports from ESPN.com were used to compile this release.