Chris Fowler’s ship has come in.
If anybody deserved a shot to have it all at ESPN, it is Fowler. He has excelled in all of his roles, but especially as host of College GameDay.
However, at age 51, Fowler wanted more. As much as his studio work is admired, he knows to go down as a true voice of college football, like Keith Jackson and Brent Musburger, he needs to be on the call for the big games. Now he will get his chance, doing double duty for the pregame show and then in the evening for the primetime game. It will culminate with him and Kirk Herbstreit working the new college football playoff games.
Basically, the fall now will have Fowler running a marathon at a sprinter’s pace. Good thing he is in good shape.
Here is the official release from ESPN:
Multisport commentator Chris Fowler – widely regarded as one of the most versatile and talented announcers in television – will remain with ESPN as a lead voice on many of the network’s marquee events, primarily college football and tennis Majors, through 2023.
Fowler, who called ESPN’s Thursday night college football series from 2006 to 2009, will return to the college football booth as part of the nine-year extension, working play-by-play on the weekly Saturday Night Football series on ABC with analyst Kirk Herbstreit and sideline reporter Heather Cox. Fowler, Herbstreit, who have worked together on ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot since 1996, and Cox will also usher in the new era in college football, teaming up to work a College Football Playoff Semifinal game and the College Football National Championship. He will continue to host College GameDay, a position he has held since 1990.
He will also remain an integral part of ESPN’s tennis coverage, highlighted by the four Majors — Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and Australian Open — where he hosts and calls matches. These include championships from Australia, Wimbledon and, beginning with ESPN’s exclusive coverage in 2015, the US Open.
“Chris Fowler is a one-of-a-kind talent who brings an amazing work ethic to every project he works on,” said John Wildhack, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Production. “His ability to skillfully document some of the world’s most popular sporting events continues to impress sports fans year after year and his love for college football is on full display every week on GameDay. Chris will bring the same great qualities to the Saturday Night Football stage and new College Football Playoff, joining his long-time colleague Kirk Herbstreit and respected reporter Heather Cox.”
Fowler joined ESPN in July 1986 as the first host/reporter of Scholastic Sports America for two years. Over the years, he has also hosted the network’s coverage of the FIFA World Cup soccer, SportsCenter, SportsCentury, horse racing’s Triple Crown races, men’s college basketball including on-site Final Four coverage and the first few editions of the X Games and Winter X Games.
“I am very excited about hosting GameDay for a 25th year and extending my work with Kirk Herbstreit for a 19th season and beyond,” said Fowler. “There is a strong legacy of top college football voices on ABC, from Chris Schenkel to Keith Jackson to Brent Musburger. I’m looking forward to returning to the booth and being a part of that incredible tradition. As for tennis, I can’t wait to continue and expand my role in ESPN’s industry-leading coverage.”