Aug. 7, 2007
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CHICAGO — The Big Ten Network has added nine veteran broadcasters to complete its college football roster of on-air talent. The announcement was made Tuesday by Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman and Executive Producer Leon Schweir.
These nine professionals will round out the network’s game-day announce teams. The group includes the award-winning Roger Twibell, longtime ABC Sports journalist; ESPN college football analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Mike Tomczak; Mark Neely, whose resume includes Major League Baseball on ESPN; the versatile Jim Kelly, who has worked for CBS, ESPN and CNBC; former 11-year NFL veteran Richard Baldinger; NFL on FOX veteran Scott Graham; former University of Michigan tight end Derrick Walker; Ron Thulin, who brings 27 years of broadcasting experience; and former Ohio State running back Butler By’not’e.
“We are tremendously pleased to add such a talented group of broadcasters to our game-day lineup,” Silverman said. “I have no doubt that fans will enjoy their expertise and knowledge on Big Ten Network football Saturdays.”
“This is a great blend of play-by-play announcers and analysts who bring terrific experience from both on and off the field,” Schweir said. “Each one of these individuals will enhance the quality of the Big Ten Network’s football coverage.”
Twibell brings 35 years of experience to the Big Ten Network. He has most recently served as a play-by-play announcer for ABC Sports. Twibell’s career highlights include a six-year stint as the host of SportsCenter and serving as a commentator on ABC’s coverage of the World Cup. He won a New England Emmy for excellence in play-by-play announcing.
Former Ohio State quarterback Mike Tomczak will pair with Twibell on game days. Tomczak was the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes’ 1984 Big Ten Championship team. He won a Super Bowl ring as a rookie with the 1985 Chicago Bears and spent the last seven of his 15 years in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most recently, he was a college football analyst for ESPN.
Neely will team with former University of Minnesota head coach Glen Mason to form one of the announce teams. Neely has worked major league baseball games for ESPN. His resume includes college baseball super regionals, Little League World Series and most recently, the Triple-A All-Star Game. Neely’s experience with ESPN Regional includes college basketball, football, volleyball, soccer and the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.
Noted for his versatility, Kelly has covered everything from basketball to bowling, from hockey to horse racing. He is the host of CNBC’s Senior PGA Tour coverage. Kelly’s experience includes the calling the NFL, NBA and Belmont Stakes on CBS. He is the previous recipient of a Cable Ace Award for his coverage of the America’s Cup sailing race.
Kelly will be joined in the booth by former NFL veteran Richard Baldinger. Baldinger was an all-conference offensive lineman at Wake Forest before spending a combined 12 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. He joined CBS Sports as a game analyst for The NFL on CBS in August 2004 and has served as an analyst for FOX Sports on NFL Europe games. Baldinger’s brothers, Brian and Gary, also played in the NFL.
Graham spent 13 years working Philadelphia Phillies’ broadcasts and worked four years on NFL and NFL Europe games for FOX Sports. His college basketball experience includes play-by-play for Philadelphia’s Big Five Games and the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Graham will work Big Ten Network telecasts with former University of Michigan tight end Derrick Walker. The native of Glenwood, Ill., was a member of Michigan’s 1986 and 1988 Big Ten Championship teams before enjoying a nine-year career in the NFL, primarily with the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Thulin, a 32-year television veteran, has handled play-by-play duties for FOX Sports Net, ABC, ESPN, TBS and TNT. Thulin spent the last five years alongside new Big Ten Network teammate Charles Davis on TBS’ Big 12 and Pac-10 college football broadcasts. He has also covered the NBA on TNT, the 1991 Pan Am Games, the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics, the 1994 Goodwill Games and countless events for ESPN.
By’not’e will join Thulin on game days. The former running back starred at Ohio State from 1990-93 before playing two years in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. The speedy By’not’e also ran on Ohio State’s Big Ten championship track team as a member of the 4×400-meter relay team along with another future NFL running back, Robert Smith.
The announcers join the previously released studio team of Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith and the game-day broadcast teams of Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis, Wayne Larrivee and Chris Martin.
The official launch of the Big Ten Network comes Aug. 30, two days before the kick off of the 2007 Big Ten college football season. Big Ten Tonight, a nightly studio show hosted by Revsine, will preview the upcoming season and closely examine all of the weekend’s conference teams in action. The network will televise more live events in HD than any other new network in television history. The network recently announced a commitment to gender equality by 2010, when all Big Ten Network-controlled television, Internet and mobile media will provide equal men’s and women’s athletic coverage.
About the Big Ten Network: The Big Ten Network is dedicated to covering the Big Ten Conference and its 11 member institutions. The Big Ten Network will provide unprecedented access to an extensive schedule of conference sports events and shows; original programs in academics, the arts and sciences; campus activities; and associated personalities. Sports programming will include live coverage of more major men’s and women’s events than ever before, along with news, highlights and analysis, all complemented by hours of university-produced campus programming. The network is available to all cable and satellite carriers and television distributors nationwide, with most programs offered in stunning high-definition television (HDTV). The Big Ten Network is a joint venture between subsidiaries of the Big Ten Conference and Fox Cable Networks. For more information regarding the Big Ten Network, visit www.BigTenNetwork.com.
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