College Basketball

FOX Sports' Gus Johnson named winner of prestigious Jake Wade Award

February 25

Gus Johnson has called all the big ones. You have to wonder how he'd call this one.

FOX Sports' lead play-by-play announcer, who is known for his excitable style and and countless memorable calls from behind the mic -- particularly in college basketball and college football -- received a major honor on Thursday when he was named the 2021 winner of the Jake Wade Award.

The award, which has been presented annually since 1958 by the College Sports Information Directors of America, is given to a media individual "who has made an outstanding contribution in the media to intercollegiate athletics."

Johnson has been FOX Sports' lead play-by-play announcer for college football since 2011, and for college basketball since 2013. He is the first FOX Sports employee to win the award -- current FOX Sports broadcaster Tim Brando, and producer Steve Scheer, both won the award while working with other companies. Johnson is the first graduate of an HBCU (Howard Universitry, 1990) to win the award. He is also the first African American man to earn the honor and second African American overall, behind Robin Roberts (2002).

On FOX Sports’ college football coverage, Johnson teams with analyst Joel Klatt and sideline reporter Jenny Taft to call the "Big Noon Saturday Game of the Week." For basketball coverage, Johnson joins legendary college basketball analyst Bill Raftery and former NBA veteran Jim Jackson for top games on FOX and FS1, including the BIG EAST Tournament from New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden.

He has had countless memorable calls in both sports. From thrilling ...

to humorous ...

to unusual.

But Johnson's trademark is always the passion he brings to every game, with a natural ability to get lost in the moment, as any lover of sports would.

"I just can't think of a job that would be better for me," he said in January.

Earlier in his career, Johnson called play-by-play for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves (1996–97), Big East Conference Basketball on the Big East Network, college ice hockey and college basketball on ESPN, and Canadian Football League games for ESPN2. He also called NFL games for CBS from 1998 to 2010.

Johnson gained recognition covering the NCAA Tournament for CBS from 1996 to 2011, as clips of his dramatic and exciting calls in the deciding moments of NCAA Tournament games became part of the fabric and promotion of the events - and were the foundation of Johnson’s rise as a YouTube sensation.

Johnson is a 1990 political science graduate of Howard University where he played baseball for four years.

Born in Detroit, Johnson attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, where he was an all-league quarterback on the football team, an all-league shooting guard on the basketball team and an all-league baseball player as a first baseman and catcher. Elected into the Detroit Jesuit High School Hall of Fame’s inaugural class, was voted into Michigan’s Catholic High School Hall of Fame.

Last year's winner was Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com. Other past winners include Jim Nantz, Verne Lundquist and Dick Vitale -- prestigious company, indeed. CoSIDA, founded in 1957, is a professional group for sports media relations, public relations and communications professionals who work in all levels of college athletics.


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