ESPN’s John Saunders Dies at 61

Longtime ESPN commentator John Saunders died at the age of 61.

Saunders joined ESPN in 1986 as an anchor for SportsCenter and has since held countless hosting and play-by-play positions for the network.

Most recently he hosted ABC’s studio coverage of college football, ESPN’s studio coverage of college basketball and select editions of College Football Live. He also has hosted roundtable show The Sports Reporters since 2001 and cohosted Sunday editions of SportsCenter during football season.

“John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades. His wide range of accomplishments across numerous sports and championship events is among the most impressive this industry has ever seen,” said ESPN president John Skipper. “More importantly, John was a beloved and devoted family man who cared deeply about people and causes, as evidenced by his long-standing efforts as a passionate board member for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. He was one of the most significant and influential members of the ESPN family, as a colleague and mentor, and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this extremely difficult time.”

Saunders was a founding member of the board of directors for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

At different times during his tenure at ESPN, Saunders has called play-by-play for the WNBA, NBDL and college basketball, among other sports.

He is survived by his wife (Wanda) and two daughters (Aleah and Jenna).