After a remarkable 35-year run at ESPN, play-by-play broadcaster Mike Patrick is moving on.
ESPN will honor Patrick in a video tribute set to run throughout the day Wednesday on SportsCenter, before Patrick joins the network’s Louisville-Duke broadcast as a final farewell. Additionally, Duke will run an in-arena tribute.
Patrick’s final event for ESPN was the Liberty Bowl matchup between Iowa State and Memphis on December 30.
ESPN’s announcement about Patrick’s departure does not use the word “retire,” and it sounds as if the 73-year-old play-by-play man hasn’t ruled out another job in broadcasting.
“It’s wonderful to reflect on how I’ve done exactly what I wanted to do with my life,” Patrick told ESPN Front Row. “At the same time, I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some of the very best people I’ve ever known, both on the air and behind the scenes. While I’m not sure exactly what’s next for me, I’m looking forward to continuing my journey with new life experiences.”
Patrick has sometimes been overshadowed by more flashy and famous colleagues at ESPN, but he is a massively accomplished and admired broadcaster. Over 35 years in Bristol, he called Sunday Night Football, the NFL playoffs, numerous massive college football and basketball games, the women’s NCAA Tournament and more. Per ESPN, he worked more than 30 ACC men’s basketball championships in his broadcasting career.
ESPN vice president of production Lee Fitting lavished high praise on Patrick in the ESPN Front Row announcement.
“No play-by-play commentator in ESPN history has accomplished more than Mike Patrick,” Fitting said. “He is not only a gifted professional who skillfully captures the moments and makes others around him better; he brings a genuine sports fan’s excitement to the telecasts. It was a truly incredible run.”
As ESPN approaches its 40th birthday, Patrick was one of the few on-camera personalities remaining from the network’s early days. Now he’s moving on, but ESPN will always be better off for having employed him.