SportsCenter anchor Linda Cohn will host her record 5,000th episode of ESPN’s flagship program this weekend. It’s a remarkable accomplishment that got us thinking about the history of the highlights show that’s as synonymous with ESPN as any single program is with a network. With history on our minds, we polled our staff and the staff of our new affiliate site The Comeback (which you should definitely follow and bookmark) for their favorite SportsCenter anchors over the years.
Each person was asked to rank their Top 10 SportsCenter anchors from 1-10. From there, all the votes and points were tallied to form our final list of the Top 25 SportsCenter anchors of all-time. Here we go…
25) Larry Beil
Years Active: 1996-1999
And “Aloha means goodbye!” Beil was only with SportsCenter for a few years but made a mark with our voters by just sneaking in to the Top 25. Since his days in Bristol, he’s moved on to be the sports director at the ABC affiliate in San Francisco. If we have to be honest though, his most memorable role at ESPN was as the commentator for ESPN2’s sumo coverage. There was always something electric about the way he would announce Akebono vs Takanohana.
24) Jay Harris
Years Active: 2003-Present
The likable Jay Harris has been a consistent presence on SportsCenter throughout the new millennium even as he’s shifted from the 6 PM ET edition to 11 PM. Now moving into 2016, he finds himself as one of the lead anchors for the brand new live iteration of SportsCenter: AM.
23) Suzy Kolber
Years Active: 1993-1996, 1999-Present
The longtime NFL host/reporter is perhaps one of the best examples of someone who was able to use her experience at SportsCenter as a launching point for more opportunities at the network. Kolber was one of the faces of the ESPN2 launch back in the day and more recently has developed into one of the main voices leading ESPN’s NFL coverage.
22) Tom Mees
Years Active: 1979-1996
Tom Mees was one of the people that led ESPN from “little engine that could” to “worldwide leader in sports.” He was a popular anchor and hockey play by play announcer for a number of years until tragically passing away in a drowning accident. To see what he meant in front of and behind the camera at ESPN, just watch this tribute to Mees by Chris Berman.
21) Robin Roberts
Years Active: 1990-2004
Roberts was a mainstay on SportsCenter throughout the 1990s, particularly on the very strong editions of the show when she was often teamed with Bob Ley and Charley Steiner. But Roberts would move on to much bigger things after leaving SportsCenter, becoming one of the stars of Good Morning America as it ascended to the top of the morning show ratings. She also inspired countless people by publicly overcoming a bone marrow disease.