ESPN director Kyle Brown (top right) with his family. ESPN director Kyle Brown (top right) with his family. (ESPN PR.)

Tragedy struck the ESPN crew broadcasting the NCAA Baseball Tournament super regional game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the host Wake Forest Demon Deacons Saturday. That game wound up starting more than two hours later than expected (2:15 p.m. instead of noon) due to “a non-game-related medical event,” but details on just what happened weren’t released Saturday. On Sunday, ESPN released a statement that veteran director and production staffer Kyle Brown suffered a medical emergency Saturday at that super regional and passed away:

ESPN started their baseball coverage Sunday with Budden reading that statement:

The NCAA’s official baseball account also offered condolences:

As did CNN White House correspondent Phil Mattingly, who noted that Brown was a groomsman at his wedding:

A ton of Brown’s ESPN colleagues chimed in personally as well with their own tributes to him:

And many from the college baseball and sports worlds also paid tribute to Brown:

 

Brown played for Ohio State from 2000-2003, and even ribbed old teammate Nick Swisher last fall about having more letters than him (thanks to Swisher signing in MLB):

A 2003 piece on Ohio State’s athletics website had Brown talking about working with ABC/ESPN crews televising Buckeyes’ games since his freshman year, and about how TV production had long been a goal for him thanks to his neighbor being an ESPN director:

Most kids in high school have a vision of becoming a doctor, a lawyer or a fireman. The same held true for Kyle Brown, who up until his senior year decided he did not want to be a an orthopedic surgeon, but instead wanted to go into communications.

“My neighbor, who is a director at ESPN, brought me along to watch Ohio State play Purdue. I sat in the television truck and said ‘Man, that’s cool how they do that,’ and ever since then I fell in love with it,” Brown said

Brown, a 6-foot-2-inch right-handed pitcher from Washington Court House, Ohio, a small town about halfway between Columbus and Cincinnati, has been working with ABC and ESPN when they televise games at Ohio State since his freshman year. He said that the experience that he has gained and the people he has met have been very valuable.

Brown recalled the first time he met ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale.

“When Dick Vitale came into town I was pretty much his chauffeur for the day,” Brown said. “You listen to him on TV and think ‘This guy must drink Red Bull by the gallon,’ but off the air, he is one of the most laid back, nicest guys in the world.”

It’s cool that Brown got to make that dream into a career. And he had a remarkable career, working across all those sports and earning those two Sports Emmy nods. Our thoughts go out to all of his family, friends, and colleagues.

[The Tuscaloosa News; image via ESPN PR on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.