National Football Foundation

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ESPN’s Joe Tessitore Named Emcee of 2017 NFF Annual Awards Dinner
ESPN broadcaster will lend his talents to honor college football’s greatest legends and most promising scholar-athletes.
Published: 11/16/2017 11:00:00 AM

IRVING, Texas (Nov. 16, 2017) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that ESPN broadcaster Joe Tessitore will emcee the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown on Dec. 5 with the event livestreamed on ESPN3, starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.

“Joe Tessitore has always been one of the industry’s most versatile sports broadcasters, expertly calling some of the biggest games in college football,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Joe has a tremendous love and understanding of football, currently announcing calling Saturday primetime games for ESPN. He has been a longtime friend and supporter of the NFF, and his entertaining insights will add significantly to the pomp and pageantry of the night. We are so glad he has agreed to emcee one of college football’s marquee events.”

Tessitore will emcee the NFF Annual Awards Dinner for the first time, securing his place among a prestigious list of individuals who have donated their skills to host the fabled event, including TV Host Ed Sullivan, TV Host of What’s My Line John Charles Daly, U.S. Senator George Murphy, Rutgers University President Mason W. Gross, CBS News Anchor Harry Smith (now with NBC News) and ABC Sports broadcaster Chris Schenkel, who emceed the event for 28 consecutive years from 1968 to 1995. Other notable sports broadcasters who have emceed the event include CBS Sports’ Tim Brando (now with FOX Sports), ESPN/ABC’s Rece Davis and Chris Fowler, CBS Sports’ Verne Lundquist and NBS Sports’ Mike Tirico.

“Joe’s talents will create a memorable night for all of the night’s honorees,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “He has become a star himself, and all of the honorees from the Hall of Famers to the scholar-athletes will get a thrill from being on stage with him. He has lent his talent to our events in the past and we are happy to have him take on our biggest event – the Annual Awards Dinner.”

As the culmination of the 2017 regular season, the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner provides the stage for the induction of the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class; the awarding of the 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments; the announcement of the winner of the 28th William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments and prominently showcased at its official home inside the New York Athletic Club; and the presentation of several major awards.

The recipients of the 2017 NFF Major Awards include UCLA Athletics Director Dan Guerrero (NFF John L. Toner Award for excellence in athletics administration) and the Voice of the UTEP Miners Jon Teicher (NFF Chris Schenkel Award for excellence in broadcasting).

The 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class includes: Bob Crable (Notre Dame), Marshall Faulk (San Diego State), Kirk Gibson (Michigan State), Matt Leinart (Southern California), Peyton Manning (Tennessee), Bob McKay (Texas), Dat Nguyen (Texas A&M), Adrian Peterson (Georgia Southern), Mike Ruth (Boston College), Brian Urlacher (New Mexico) and coaches Danny Ford (Clemson, Arkansas), Larry Kehres (Mount Union [Ohio]) and Steve Spurrier (Duke, Florida, South Carolina).

The winner of the Campbell Trophy® will be announced live at the event on Dec. 5, and the finalists, comprised of the 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class presented by Fidelity Investments, include Sam Benger (Carnegie Mellon [Pa.]), Braxton Berrios (Miami [Fla.]), Mason Hampton (Boise State), Justin Jackson (Northwestern), Micah Kiser (Virginia), Justin Lea (Jacksonville State), Brad Lundblade (Oklahoma State), Marcus Martin (Slippery Rock [Pa.]), Chandon Sullivan (Georgia State), Blaise Taylor (Arkansas State), Marlon Walls (Stephen F. Austin), Chris Weber (Nebraska), and Jake Wieneke (South Dakota State).

For more information regarding the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, please contact NFF Director of External Relations Will Rudd at 972.556.1000 or wrudd@footballfoundation.com.

Joe Tessitore’s Bio

Joe Tessitore has become one of the most recognizable commentators for ESPN, calling college football and basketball games, and boxing matches.

Tessitore has served as the play-by-play commentator for ESPN’s Saturday primetime game since 2016, currently working alongside analyst Todd Blackledge and reporter Holly Rowe. The team will cap their coverage of the 2017 season on New Year’s Day with Tessitore in the play-by-play role for the second consecutive year during a College Football Playoff Semifinal game.

Tessitore previously served as play-by-play caller for Thursday night action in 2015 and as host of SEC Nation on the SEC Network in 2014 and 2015, the show’s first two seasons. Tessitore has called multiple ESPN Saturday night football games in the past, numerous BCS Bowl games throughout the years, and he has been a staple on ESPN’s College Football Playoff Megacasts. Since 2009, he has been part of the Annual Heisman Trophy Presentation on ESPN, earning the nickname as “The Heismanologist.”

Tessitore’s other college football credits include executive producer for “RollTide/War Eagle” and as a consulting producer for “You Don't Know Bo: The Legend of Bo Jackson” with both films running as part of ESPN's award winning 30-for-30 documentary film series.

In addition to his football, basketball and boxing duties, Tessitore has covered other sports for ESPN. Prior to 2011, he spent many years anchoring ABC/ESPN horse racing presentations including The Belmont Stakes and The Breeders’ Cup World Championships. For five years he was the host of ESPN’s live New Year’s Eve specials including Red Bull New Year, No Limits and the debut of ESPN’s Year of the Quarterback.

In 2010, Tessitore was honored three times for his on air work. He accepted an Eclipse Award for ESPN’s 2009 Belmont Stakes telecast on ABC and 2010 Breeders’ Cup. On June 4, the Boxing Writers of America presented Tessitore with the prestigious Sam Taub award for Broadcast Excellence. And on Oct. 30, the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame included Tessitore in their 2010 class of inductees.

Tessitore joined ESPN in February 2002. The previous eight years, Tessitore made his mark as the sports anchor at WFSB-TV, the CBS affiliate in Hartford, Conn. In his spare time, Tessitore has given tireless and generous fundraising efforts to the Cystic Fibrosis foundation. He is a 1993 graduate of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. He began his career in 1991 at KXAS, the NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth and in 1994 joined WRGB, the CBS affiliate in Albany, N.Y.


All-Time List of NFF Annual Award Dinner Emcees

1958 - George Murphy, U.S. Senator, Actor and NFF President
1959 - George Murphy, U.S. Senator, Actor and NFF President
1960 - Mason W. Gross, President of Rutgers University
1961 - Mason W. Gross, President of Rutgers University
1962 - Mason W. Gross, President of Rutgers University
1963 - Mason W. Gross, President of Rutgers University
1964 - Ed Sullivan, TV Host of the Ed Sullivan Show
1965 - John Charles Daly, TV Host of What's My Line
1966 - John Charles Daly, TV Host of What's My Line
1967 - Ed Sullivan, TV Host of the Ed Sullivan Show
1968 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1969 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1970 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1971 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1972 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1973 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1974 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1975 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1976 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1977 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1978 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1979 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1980 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1981 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1982 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1983 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1984 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1985 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1986 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1987 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1988 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1989 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1990 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1991 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1992 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1993 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1994 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1995 - Chris Schenkel, ABC Sports Broadcaster
1996 - Chris Fowler, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
1997 - Chris Fowler, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
1998 - Chris Fowler, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
1999 - Tim Brando, CBS Sports Broadcaster (now with FOX Sports)
2000 - Chris Fowler, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
2001 - Mike Tirico, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster (now with NBC Sports)
2002 - Tim Brando, CBS Sports Broadcaster (now with FOX Sports)
2003 - Chris Fowler, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
2004 - Mike Tirico, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster (now with NBC Sports)
2005 - Chris Fowler, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
2006 - Verne Lundquist, CBS Sports Broadcaster
2007 - Chris Fowler, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
2008 - Rece Davis, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
2009 - Chris Fowler, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
2010 - Harry Smith, CBS News Anchor (now with NBC News)
2011 - Rece Davis, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
2012 - Rece Davis, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
2013 - Rece Davis, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
2014 - Rece Davis, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster
2015 - Mike Tirico, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster (now with NBC Sports)
2016 - Mike Tirico, NBC Sports Broadcaster
2017 - Joe Tessitore, ESPN/ABC Sports Broadcaster


About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include Football Matters®, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy® presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.

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