New ESPN College Football Roles for Griese, Levy, Ponder and Tessitore in 2016

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New ESPN College Football Roles for Griese, Levy, Ponder and Tessitore in 2016

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Four prominent ESPN commentators will have new college football roles for the upcoming 2016 season, it was announced by Mark Gross, ESPN, senior vice president, production & remote events. Samantha Ponder joins the ABC Saturday Night Football telecast as a reporter, while play-by-play commentator Joe Tessitore moves to the ESPN College Football Primetime game. Additionally, Steve Levy who returns to a weekly college football play-by-play role, forms a team with Brian Griese to call action on ABC or ESPN on Saturday afternoons.

“Our new assignments demonstrate the depth of our roster and the new growth opportunities that exist within ESPN,” said Gross. “We are all anxiously awaiting the start of the 2016 college football season, one we know will be filled with great moments across ESPN networks.”

Ponder will continue her role as a contributor for the Emmy-award winning College GameDay Built by The Home Depot and College Football Live, and then join the returning ABC booth of play-by-play commentator Chris Fowler and analyst Kirk Herbstreit. Ponder, who started at ESPN in 2011, has worked as a reporter in the past for college football (Thursdays) and college basketball, as well as Longhorn Network events.

Tessitore will make the transition to ESPN’s Saturday primetime game after serving as play-by-play caller for Thursday night action last season and as host of SEC Nation on SEC Network. He will work alongside returning analyst Todd Blackledge and returning reporter Holly Rowe. Tessitore joined ESPN in 2002, and has worked various roles on the network’s college football, basketball, boxing and horse racing coverage.

Levy, who joined ESPN in 1993 and will continue his SportsCenter hosting duties, will work an afternoon window on ABC or ESPN with Griese and field analyst Todd McShay. Levy called hockey games for many years including the Stanley Cup Finals and NCAA Frozen Four, and had previously served as an ESPN college football play-by-play commentator for four seasons (1999-2002), as well as calling a handful of regular-season and bowl games over the years.

Additional college football announcing roles and teams will be revealed in the coming weeks.


Rachel Margolis Siegal

A part of the Internal Communications team at ESPN, I began with the network in 2010 as part of the College Sports PR team. Always an avid sports fan and not an athlete – I grew up a huge fan of the Hartford Whalers, while also watching my brother compete at different levels. I became the manager of several high school sports teams and continued that hobby into college. While at Quinnipiac, I worked in the Sports Information Department, which led me to a summer internship at the New Haven Ravens, a AA baseball team, and an eventual job with the Athletic Communications Department at the University of Connecticut. After my five-year stint at Connecticut, I spent six years as Director of Communications at the BIG EAST Conference in Providence, R.I. before joining ESPN.
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