ESPN announced that Mike Patrick was leaving last week, ending a 35-year run at ESPN.
Interestingly, it wasn’t termed a retirement for the 73-year-old Patrick, which seemed to indicate that the broadcaster could still work elsewhere.
From our story:
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 hinted today on Glenn Clark Radio that the decision to leave was less his own and more ESPN’s. (The relevant discussion starts at about the 12:30 mark of this clip.)
Asked how he knew it was time to leave, Patrick responded:
“Well, I don’t even know if it was. But, you know, it was a decision they made, that I agreed with. I’ve already had a couple of offers, but they sound too much like work! That’s the reason I got into this, it wasn’t work; it was love. If someone makes me an offer of something I love… if I could do ACC basketball again, which I think is impossible, I would jump at that. Or I would jump at something like it. That’s the way that is.”
Patrick went on to note that there are certainly elements of the job that he doesn’t like, which might have helped him agree with ESPN’s decision to move on:
“There are aspects of it I will not miss. Travel now is awful. And it gets worse every day, and it will continue to get worse. I am just so sick of airports and crowded planes and cancellations, you name it. It’s made it a very difficult, not job, but a very difficult existence to do your job.”
Those are certainly relevant concerns, especially after a 35-year grind. But it is interesting that ESPN decided for him, more than a mutual agreement. Considering Patrick’s longstanding history with ESPN, it is certainly a surprise they couldn’t find a way to minimize his travel and find a way to keep him on the air with a reduced workload.
But, hey, maybe he’ll get that ACC basketball offer at some point.