Earlier today, longtime ESPN commentator John Saunders passed away at the age of 61. Saunders was a play-by-play announcer, commentator, and host at ESPN for almost 30 years, and during that time, called more than a few Kentucky games, including Jeff Brassow’s tip in at the 1993 Maui Invitational alongside Bill Raftery:
Saunders also called the 2015 Blue/White Scrimmage alongside John Pelphrey, and most recently, worked the SEC Tournament for ESPN and the SEC Network. Sean Farnham shared this picture from the Championship game between Kentucky and Texas A&M:
— Sean Farnham (@SeanFarnham) August 10, 2016
Here’s a shot of Saunders and Dick Vitale on ESPN’s set covering March Madness back in 1988:
Whenever I think of ESPN, I choose to think of people like Saunders, an absolute pro. The Worldwide Leader may be a ghost of its former self these days, but Saunders, Dan Patrick, Stuart Scott, Hannah Storm, Linda Cohn, and Kenny Mayne made it into the mecca of sports media for young bucks like me. For that, I am grateful.