three questions with Jay Crawford
Ohio Life

ESPN alum Jay Crawford Talks Sports Reporting and Journalism Education

Sandusky native and sports broadcaster Jay Crawford discusses coming home to his alma mater, Bowling Green State University. 

When Jay Crawford returned to Bowling Green State University this fall, he was happy to see that two of his favorite local institutions were still up and running: the Brathaus bar and Pisanello’s Pizza.

“Coming here automatically puts me back in the mindset of a 20-year-old,” says the 1987 Bowling Green State University graduate, whose bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film launched a career that would eventually lead to a 14-year run at ESPN. “As much as we like to think things are so drastically different, the students still do a lot of the same things.”

In September, the 52-year-old Crawford joined Bowling Green State University as an executive in residence, working with students and faculty in the School of Media and Communication and Department of Sport Management. The Sandusky native’s Ohio roots run deep. He also served as sports director for WBNS-TV in Columbus from 1993 to 1998.

Crawford, who says he had “an idyllic childhood … playing every sport known to man and spending a lot of time at Cedar Point,” talked with us about his time at ESPN, his college radio days and his new venture.

You were a part of ESPN’s companywide downsizing in April when 100 employees lost their jobs. How did that affect you?
Those of us who have done this long enough understand the business model. [ESPN] had to make some very difficult decisions. I was able to cover the Indians in the World Series and the Cavs in the NBA Finals. The number of people I was able to get to know is overwhelming to me at times. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience from top to bottom. I’m better all the way around for my years there.

During your college years you hosted a live radio call-in program during the night shift at Bowling Green’s WBGU. What was that like?
Campus life can be very busy and there weren’t a lot of people sitting in dorm rooms listening to the radio. I told all of my buddies to call in and a couple of my female friends called up and acted like they were interested in what I was saying. I’m glad there wasn’t audience measurement back then. Whether anyone was listening or not was irrelevant. It was a great opportunity. I realized this was a passion of mine.

What attracted you to entering the world of education?
I love the prospect of helping young people who are interested in pursuing a career in sports journalism. It’s an opportunity for me to share what I’ve picked up over the last 30 years. ... One of the things that most excites me is that I can help provide the road map I used to start my career. 

For more information, visit