Debbie Antonelli

Debbie Antonelli

College Basketball Analyst

Hall of Famer Debbie Antonelli is a men’s and women’s college basketball analyst for ESPN and ACC Network and one of the most influential voices in the women’s game as a standout player, marketing executive and broadcaster for nearly four decades.

Throughout her 36-year career as a television and radio analyst, Antonelli has called women’s and men’s college basketball for ESPN, ACC Network, Longhorn Network and SEC Network, as well CBS Sports, Fox Sports, RAYCOM Sports, Big Ten Network, NBA TV and Westwood One. She has also served as a WNBA analyst since the league’s inception, including a combined 23 years with the Indiana Fever and Charlotte Sting, and she currently provides WNBA content to ESPN’s Daily Wager.

In addition to annually calling NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament games for ESPN, Antonelli became the first woman in 21 years to call an NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament game when she worked first-round games in 2017, a role she has occupied ever since for CBS and Turner Sports.

Overall, Antonelli averages 80 national college basketball broadcasts per season.

A Cary, N.C., native, Antonelli attended college in her home state at N.C. State University, where she graduated with a double major in business management and economics in 1986. Antonelli was a three-year starter for the ACC champion Wolfpack women’s basketball team under legendary coach Kay Yow. NC State participated in the NCAA Tournament each of Antonelli’s four years, making two Sweet 16 appearances, and she was part of the historic 1984-85 team which swept the ACC regular season and ACC Tournament titles.

After receiving a master’s degree in Sports Administration from Ohio University and serving as a Graduate Assistant in basketball, Antonelli became the first Director of Marketing at the University of Kentucky where she created and broadcasted the first women’s basketball games on TV at UK. She then moved to a similar position at The Ohio State University as Director of Marketing and Licensing for the Buckeyes where she was responsible for creating a women’s basketball network so games would air on local television. She also served as the Buckeyes’ radio analyst for eight years broadcasting the 1993 Final Four run by the women’s basketball team.

Antonelli has received numerous accolades throughout her pioneering career, including two Emmy Awards and a Gracie Award. Antonelli was inducted in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2022 and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2021. The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) awarded her the 2007 Mel Greenberg Award as the professional who has best displayed commitment to advancing the role of the media in promoting women’s basketball. And most recently, College Sports Communicators named her the 2023 Jake Wade Award recipient, presented annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in the media to intercollegiate athletics.

Among her many philanthropic endeavors and community involvement, Antonelli is a lifetime board member of the nonprofit Kay Yow Cancer Fund, with other board service for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Naismith Trophy Award boards and Special Olympics South Carolina Board of Directors.

Antonelli is involved with Special Olympics and a Unified Partner in several sports including basketball and golf. In Charleston, S.C., she is one of the founders of the Buddy Walk, which celebrated 20 years in 2023. She hosts the annual fundraiser 24Hours Nothing But Net (24HoursNBN.com), a 24-hour free throw shooting marathon to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics. In six years, the fundraiser for Special Olympics expects to surpass the $1 million mark in May 2024. The mother of three boys, Antonelli’s middle son Frankie is a young adult living with Down syndrome and a recent graduate of the ClemsonLife Program. Antonelli is also a national spokesperson and parent advocate for special education.

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