John Saunders, a longtime ESPN broadcaster, died on Wednesday at the age of 61.
Saunders hosted studio and play-by-play programming for ESPN for nearly 30 years. He covered college football, basketball, and the NFL while also anchoring SportsCenter.
Saunders was born in Canada, where he was an all-star defenseman in the junior hockey leagues. He played at Western Michigan and Ryerson Polytechnical before beginning his sports broadcasting career.
Beloved by many, he will especially be remembered by his team at ESPN. John Skipper, President of ESPN, released the following statement after the news of Saunders’ death was released:
“John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades. His wide range of accomplishments across numerous sports and championship events is among the most impressive this industry has ever seen. More importantly, John was a beloved and devoted family man who cared deeply about people and causes, as evidenced by his long-standing efforts as a passionate board member for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
He was one of the most significant and influential members of the ESPN family, as a colleague and mentor, and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this extremely difficult time.”
Saunders began working at ESPN in 1986 as a SportsCenter anchor but was soon seen covering a wide array of sports.
Saunders is survived by his wife and two daughters. Prayers and thoughts go out to them and all his loved ones.