Arizona Wildcats notebook: Impressive list of ex-Cats on TVby Anthony Gimino on Jul. 10, 2010, under Sports
NOTE: This is part of the weekly “Nothing But The Notes” column at WildcatSportsReport.com, one of the partners in the TucsonCitizen.com Sports Network. For notes on basketball recruiting, incoming freshman guard Daniel Bejarano, sophomore big man Kyryl Natyazhko and more, check out the link at WildcatSportsReport.com.
Now-retired New York Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce announced last week he is joining ESPN as an analyst, yet another ex-Wildcat in a prominent TV role.
Tedy Bruschi joined ESPN after retiring last summer, former Suns general manager Steve Kerr will become a lead NBA game analyst for TNT next season, Glenn Parker is a college football analyst for Versus, and Joe Magrane works for the MLB Network.
Moreover, UA grad Dan Hicks is one of NBC’s announcing stars. Sean Elliott was at ESPN for a while; now he works on local San Antonio Spurs telecasts. Tom Tolbert was an NBA analyst with NBC, ABC and ESPN (he was part of the broadcasting team of the 2003 NBA Finals with Brad Nessler and Bill Walton) before becoming solely a radio personality in San Francisco.
Miles Simon, after his contract as an assistant Arizona basketball coach was not renewed in the summer of 2008, worked last season as a college basketball analyst for Fox Sports Net.
All in all, an impressive roster of ex-Cats in the TV biz.
Who’s your TV favorite? Anybody we missed? …
Quick story about Pierce: Many UA fans noticed over the years that he often did not say he was from Arizona during the TV introductions players do at the start of games. He often identified himself as being from Mount San Antonio (Calif.) College.
“To be honest, I won a national championship there when I was in junior college, so I like to give respect to those guys,” he said at the 2008 Super Bowl Media Day. “I keep in touch with a lot more guys from my junior college than I do from the University of Arizona, oddly enough. That’s the only reason.”
Pierce always had a chip on his shoulder that he didn’t get the starting middle linebacker job as a senior in 2000. The position went to sophomore Lance Briggs, and Pierce felt the supposed slight contributed to him going undrafted in 2001.
But the bigger problem came when Dick Tomey was fired after the season, and — according to Pierce — new coach John Mackovic failed to offer support to the outgoing seniors and talk them up to the NFL scouts.
“It was kind of hectic when, what’s his name, Mackovic, came,” Pierce said in 2008.
“He was pretty much a you-know-what toward the former players. I couldn’t play for that guy. I understand — we’re leaving the school and we’re not going to do nothing for you. But, at the same time, we’ve been there two, three years and we can’t use the weight room at a certain time? We can’t use the grass? They couldn’t unlock the gates (to the practice field) so we could work out?”
Just another wonderful Mackovic story. …
What the Arizona softball team needs most of all for next season is a strong No. 2 pitcher to take the physical and mental pressure off sophomore-to-be Kenzie Fowler. That help should come in the form of incoming freshman Shelby Babcock, who told us recently that she will be attending the second session of summer school to get acclimated to college and begin her Arizona career.
Whereas last season’s No. 2 pitcher, Sarah Akamine, relied on movement and a drop ball, Babcock gives the Wildcats another power pitcher. “I’m consistently at 68 (mph),” she said. “I hit 71 once.” And that is definitely elite speed. Babcock, from Broomfield, Colo., said, “Arizona had been my dream school since Day 1 of playing softball. When I went down there I fell in love with it.” …
Beyond Fowler and Babcock, Arizona’s next-in-line star pitcher is Nancy Bowling, who was recently selected the Sophomore Player of the Year in California by Cal-Hi Sports. Bowling was 18-5 at Royal High in Simi Valley, with a 0.58 ERA. She struck out 268 in 156 2/3 innings.
Read the rest of the “Nothing but the Notes” column at WildcatSportsReport.com.