John Buccigross has come a long way from late nights in Founders Hall, creating videos, his mind wandering about his ultimate career goal to work at ESPN. He just reupped for a new gig at ESPN that will take him into 2017 and a milestone in his dream job.
In June, Buccigross, an ’88 ‘Berg alumnus, signed a five-year contract renewal with ESPN that moved him into anchoring the 11 p.m. Sportscenter telecast Tuesdays-Saturdays. He spent the past three years behind the desk in the noon-3 p.m. time slot. In 2017, he will have spent nearly 21 years at ESPN.
“That show was good to be done at 3 p.m. and have weekends off,” Buccigross said. “But there are positives and negatives for any shift, and I wasn’t about to say no.”
It’s likely that many more viewers – possibly millions more – will catch Buccigross during the late-night Sportscenter. That show, he said, focuses more on the day’s highlights and less on talking with analysts. Because that telecast often follows a big game, “it becomes king of a post game show.” Larger audiences, though, aren’t a motivating factor.
“That doesn’t really drive me. I just like doing good shows and good work.”
While the idea of anchoring a highlights-oriented show is exciting, Buccigross said he’ll miss interviewing athletes, sports figures and analysts, which was a staple of the daytime ESPN telecast. “I will miss all the great people I got to meet and interview doing the noon show … Vince Vaughn, Usain Bolt, Matthew Stafford, Les Miles, Clyde Drexler and so many more.”
Buccigross’ new contract also will give him more face time at the Frozen Four, calling play by play for the NCAA’s Hockey Championships. He’s worked regional action the past four years. “It’s always been a goal of mine to work up to the Frozen Four,” he said. “To call one of the NCAA’s national championships is a big thrill.”
In the meantime, you might also catch Buccigross on an ESPN podcast or a video blog, or maybe even the occasional NHL/hockey column. Down the road, he’s looking to do more play by play. “There’s nothing like being at an event,” he said.