· Long-time Voice of College Football, NBA, Horse Racing, Bowling; Worked Nine Olympics
· Former ESPN President Steve Bornstein among Inductees
Chris Schenkel, the long-time voice of many top events at ABC Sports, will be inducted posthumously into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the organization announced today. The ceremony will be held Tuesday, Dec. 16, in New York.
From the earliest days of television to the brink of the 21st Century, generations of sports fans grew up with Schenkel’s baritone and low-key delivery as the soundtrack to college football, NBA, horse racing’s Triple Crown, the major events in golf and tennis and, perhaps most notably, the Pro Bowlers Tour for 33 years. A sports broadcasting pioneer, Schenkel passed away in September 2005 at the age of 82.
After beginning his career in his native Indiana, Schenkel was among the first to report football on television starting with Harvard games in 1947. His went on to serve as the voice of the New York Football Giants for 13 years and in 1965 left CBS Sports to join ABC Sports.
Schenkel was the first to cover the Masters Tournament on television, in 1956; the first to call a college football game coast to coast on ABC; and the first to serve as live sports anchor from the Olympics, in Mexico City in 1968. His career highlights included calling gymnast Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10 at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and calling the 1958 NFL championship game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants.
Schenkel also had a long association with the Indianapolis 500. During the 1971 race, Schenkel, astronaut John Glenn and Tony Hulman, the late owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, were passengers in the Dodge Challenger pace car when it skidded into a bleacher full of photographers. Twenty-two people were injured, including Schenkel, who suffered a broken shoulder.
One of the most honored sportscasters in history, Schenkel was inducted into the American Sportscasters Hall of Fame (1981). He received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award from the National Television Academy in 1992, as well as the Pete Rozelle/Pro Football Hall of Fame Radio-Television Award and the Golden Plate Award, presented by the American Academy of Achievement. He was granted an Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater, Purdue University and from Ball State University. As a result of his enduring involvement with American Indian affairs, Chris was named an honorary Chieftain in the Miami Indian Council of Indiana.
Former ESPN President Bornstein among Inductees
The others to be inducted include former ESPN President Steve Bornstein who joined the four-month old company in 1980 in its programming department and served as its president 1990 – 1998. Along the way, he helped shape ESPN into an American media success story. Under his leadership the ESPN brand was expanded with the launch of ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Radio, ESPN The Magazine, the ESPYs and the X Games. Bornstein was named President, ABC, in 1999, and joined the NFL Network to lead the soon-to-launch NFL Network in 2003.
In addition, the HOF will honor Ken Aagaard of CBS Sports; Bob Dixon, a long-time audio professional for various networks; FOX executive David Hill; George Orgera, the founding CEO and president of F&F Productions, and former NBA Commissioner David Stern.