Some sad news from the sports broadcasting world: longtime ESPN commentator John Saunders has passed away at the age of 61. Saunders joined ESPN in 1986 and covered college football, basketball, and hosted “The Sports Reporters,” a Sunday morning roundtable of sports journalists. He was a fixture at the Worldwide Leader, calling play-by-play for college basketball since 1990. In fact, he called last year’s Blue/White Scrimmage alongside John Pelphrey on the SEC Network.
Watching Hannah Storm announce her colleague’s death live on air is absolutely heartbreaking:
At the Dickie V Gala back in 2012, Saunders said of his daughter’s college decision, “I wanted her to go to Kentucky, because she would only have to go for one year,” to which John Calipari quipped, “She’d be a millionaire!” This morning, Calipari paid tribute to Saunders on Twitter, recalling seeing him only a month ago.
“One of the giants of sports and a good friend John Saunders died today,” Cal wrote. “I just saw John a month ago so I’m totally shocked and saddened. John was one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. He was a true giver. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
As are ours. Rest in peace.