There really was only one choice to replace Brent Musburger as the lead college football announcer and ABC/ESPN wasn’t about to pull any punches.
It named Chris Fowler to succeed the legendary Musburger, who is joining Jesse Palmer on the SEC Network’s lead broadcasting crew, on Thursday morning. It was the natural, next step for the network and for Fowler, whose contract was up after World Cup play this summer. “I don’t think it is anything secret internally what I want the next [role] for me to be at ESPN,” he told SI.com’s Richard Deitsch last year. “I don’t think that is a mystery given the landscape. It’s why ‘GameDay’ is a unique standalone thing for me. It doesn’t act or feel like a studio show. But the live events are the most inspiring, unexplored thing for me. I really have a passion to document live events as they happen. Hosting is wonderful and remains really satisfying, but the joy for me is calling big matches.”
Not that he’ll give up the studio show. He will continue to host “College GameDay” on Saturday mornings, as he has since 1990, and will participate in Grand Slam tennis coverage.
“I am very excited about hosting GameDay for a 25th year and extending my work with Kirk Herbstreit for a 19th season and beyond,” Fowler, 51, said in a statement released by ESPN. “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.”
Fowler and Herbstreit will be the voices of the game of the week and Musburger, 74, will be the voice of the SEC Network that will launch in August.
“This is not, ‘Oh, my goodness, I’m not doing the national championship game,’ ” Musburger told Richard Deitsch of SI.com. “I’m going to spend that night, in fact, with my wife and sons in Montana. We’ll sell [betting] squares, and have a great time. I’m in a very good place. I’m an old guy with a three-year contract and I can afford to buy my own beer.”