ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Volume III to Launch this Fall with a Five-Week Run of New Documentaries

ESPN Films

ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Volume III to Launch this Fall with a Five-Week Run of New Documentaries

Fall Slate Features Stories on USC football, Coach Bill McCartney and Tyson/Holyfield, Among Others

Six years after the launch of 30 for 30, ESPN Films’ Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series will return in October with 30 for 30 Volume III. The first five documentaries in the 30-film flight will premiere this fall, every Tuesday in prime time on ESPN, for five straight weeks beginning October 13.

Film topics include the rise and fall of USC football under head coach Pete Carroll, a city and its mayor fighting against the odds to keep the Kings in Sacramento, the ultimately tragic story of the turbulent relationship between Olympic wrestling stars Mark and Dave Schultz and multimillionaire John du Pont, an exploration of Bill McCartney and his controversial approach running the University of Colorado football program on the way to a national championship, and Evander Holyfield’s years of waiting to fight the famed Mike Tyson and make history. The 30 for 30 fall slate film trailer, released today, can be watched here:

“Through six years and two volumes, 30 for 30 has become a leading brand for storytelling,” says ESPN Films Vice President and Executive Producer John Dahl.  “And we’ve got more compelling stories that we’re lining up for Volume III. The run this fall includes four first-time directors for the series and films that will continue to capture the essence of what 30 for 30 is all about – transcending sports and engaging audiences everywhere.”

30 for 30 films will debut on ESPN as follows (all times ET):

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 9 p.m. – “Trojan War”

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 9 p.m. – “Down in the Valley”

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 9 p.m. – “The Prince of Pennsylvania”

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 9 p.m.  – “The Gospel According to Mac”

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 8 p.m. — “Chasing Tyson”

*Advance press screeners for all films available upon request*

And, with the anniversary of 9/11 approaching, the next installment in ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series will look at President George W. Bush’s ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium to kick off Game 3 of the 2001 World Series, just seven weeks after the September 11 attacks. The 23-minute film, directed by two-time Academy Award-winner Angus Wall and executive produced by Jim Gray, relives that anxious October night and the days leading up to it with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from President Bush, Derek Jeter, Condoleezza Rice, Joe Torre, Rudy Giuliani, Billy Crystal, George Tenet, Bush family members, Cabinet officers and Secret Service agents. “First Pitch” will premiere on Friday, Sept. 11, on SportsCenter immediately after the national moment of silence, as well as on and It will also air that evening at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

Additional information including film clips and director statements and bios will be available on the 30 for 30 website; Follow 30 for 30 on Facebook ( and Twitter (@30for30).

30 for 30 Film Summaries:

“Trojan War,” directed by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas

When Pete Carroll took over the football program at USC after the 2000 season, the once-great Trojans were under siege.  But thanks to his football knowledge, upbeat personality and recruiting skills, Southern Cal was soon back atop the college football world as home attendance skyrocketed, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush won Heismans and the Trojans put together a 34-game winning streak.  As it would be later discovered, though, the program was committing sins that would result in lost scholarships, victories and one of those Heismans.  But those revelations didn’t come until after the national championship game in the 2006 Rose Bowl between USC and the University of Texas.  Featuring interviews with Carroll, Leinart and others inside the USC program at the time, “Trojan War” looks at Carroll’s nine-year USC reign through the prism of that game, considered one of the greatest in college football history.  It was also the beginning of the end.

“Down in the Valley,” directed by Jason Hehir

What does a sports team mean to a community?  For the people of Sacramento, the answer is simple – everything.  For three decades, Sacramento has been the improbable home to one of the NBA’s most improbable franchises – the Kings.  Through the good, the bad, and the laughably ugly, Kings fans have stood by their team.  So when news broke in 2013 that the team was likely leaving for Seattle – the second time in two years that it appeared relocation was inevitable – it sent shock waves through the community.   All hope was seemingly lost until the city decided to fight back – again.  At the helm was the city’s mayor, Kevin Johnson, a Sacramento native and former NBA All-Star, who seemed uniquely positioned to play point guard for the comeback attempt.  “Down in the Valley” follows this historic saga from the locker room to the board room as a city and its favorite son fought to pull off perhaps the most unconventional upset in NBA history.

“The Prince of Pennsylvania,” directed by Jesse Vile

Back in the 1980s, the road to the Olympics was long and hard for an amateur wrestler.  But then along came John du Pont, an eccentric heir to the family fortune with a passion for wrestling.  His 800-acre Foxcatcher Farm outside Philadelphia became the hub of the sport, with state-of-the-art training facilities, free accommodations, generous stipends and the support of America’s best freestyle wrestlers, brothers Mark and Dave Schultz.  It all seemed too good to be true – and tragically it was, with a savage ending.  Featuring fresh testimonials and never-before-seen footage, “The Prince of Pennsylvania” is the story of a paradise lost to the madness of its creator, a man who had the means to buy anything except for the one thing he truly wanted.

“The Gospel According to Mac,” directed by Jim Podhoretz 

Football is a religion to many people.  But few know the depths of both faiths as well as Bill McCartney, the former head football coach of the University of Colorado and the founder of Promise Keepers, a Christian men’s ministry.  “The Gospel According to Mac” tells the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story of Coach Mac’s controversial national championship run – two seasons that followed multiple arrests and strife between his mostly African-American players and the Boulder police, continued with McCartney’s own daughter becoming pregnant by the team’s quarterback before seeing that same quarterback struck by cancer, and culminated in consecutive Orange Bowl match-ups against Notre Dame.  Bill McCartney’s passionate and often polarizing beliefs have made him many enemies and many admirers, but it’s difficult to deny that he embodies the essential issues facing football in America to this day.

“Chasing Tyson,” directed by Steven Cantor

With his outsized personality and ferocious punches, Mike Tyson cast a commanding shadow over boxing in the 1980s and ’90s.  Even when “Iron Mike” was in prison, the heavyweight division belonged to him.  Meanwhile, like Ahab patiently waiting to reel in his giant whale, Evander Holyfield endured years of delay for the opportunity to take down Tyson.  Though he captured the heavyweight title when he knocked out Buster Douglas, the prevailing view of the mild-mannered Holyfield was that he was a journeyman – the heavyweight champion, but never a truly great one. Though Holyfield dramatically lost and recaptured the heavyweight crown, and then lost it again, even he understood that his career would ultimately be defined by how he stood up to Tyson – if he ever got his chance.  By the time of their much-hyped and oft-delayed heavyweight title bout in November of 1996, Holyfield was 34 and considered past his prime.  Four years younger, Tyson was heavily favored to be standing over another meek and easily vanquished opponent at the end.  Instead, we got two of the sport’s most memorable fights – but for very different reasons.


About ESPN Films

Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality documentary films showcasing some of the most compelling stories in sports.  In October 2009, ESPN Films launched the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 film series.  Additional projects from ESPN Films include the decorated series 30 for 30 Shorts, Nine for IX and SEC Storied among others.



Jennifer Cingari Christie

Based in New York City, Jennifer Cingari Christie is a Communications Manager for ESPN Films and Original Content. Her projects include the critically-acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series, ESPN The Magazine and The ESPYS, among others.
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