Pinkel Visits ESPN Headquarters

MUTIGERS.COM Rece Davis interviews Coach Pinkel on the set of College Football Live.
Rece Davis interviews Coach Pinkel on the set of College Football Live.

Sept. 25, 2008

Mizzou Head Football Coach Gary Pinkel made a day-long trek to Bristol, Conn., on Tuesday, September 23rd, at the invite of ESPN to spend a day at ESPN headquarters. The purpose of the trip was to do a day-long media "barnstorming" tour that brought unprecedented publicity and exposure to the Tiger football program and to the University as a whole.

The trip began with a departure from Jefferson City in a private airplane at 5:30 a.m. central time. Coach Pinkel and his group that traveled with spent a busy day in Bristol, going back and forth between buildings and shows, and when it was done, had touched countless millions of people via ESPN's television, radio and internet vehicles. The group returned to Jefferson City at around 6 p.m. that night.

In between those times, here's a quick look at the schedule that Pinkel and crew had on that memorable day...

The group arrived at 9:30 a.m. (eastern) in Plainville, Conn., a small town that is essentially connected to Bristol, and was picked up via car service provided by ESPN. After a 20-minute drive, the Tiger travel party was at the campus of the Worldwide Leader In Sports, where they were first greeted by Carolyn Rauen, a 2008 Mizzou graduate who ran track and cross country for Coach Rick McGuire. Rauen, a proud Mizzou School of Journalism graduate (broadcast sequence), got an internship last summer with ESPN on the production side, and that turned into a full-time job, where she is now a studio production assistant. Rauen took her day off to guide the MU group around all day long, and proved to be a gracious host.

The first stop was Building 4, where the group was introduced to producers of the popular half-hour daily show, "College Football Live". The show's producers, Scott Harves and Antoine Davis, talked about some concepts they had for Coach Pinkel for when he would be taping a segment on the show later in the day, and it had to do with Coach pretending to give an in-home visit recruiting pitch to "recruit" Trevor Mattich, who is an analyst for the show. After a nice chat, the group escorted across campus to a different building, where Coach Pinkel was whisked into makeup while the gang was treated to coffee and donuts in the green room. Coach Pinkel did an interview with ESPN Rise magazine, a new high school venture for the organization, and he talked about many things related to high school football.

Pinkel went downstairs to the studio level, and made a live appearance at 10:45 a.m. on the First Take television show on ESPN2, with host Jay Crawford. Proud Mizzou alum Michael Kim was standing by in the studio to jump in the show, and did so later after Pinkel's session was over. Kim, a Fulton, Mo. native, wore a black and gold-striped tie, and was given some friendly razzing by his co-hosts when he claimed ignorance about his choice of tie color.

After that, the group went to a different building where Pinkel did an interview at 11:15 a.m. with Andy Gresch for College Football Digital Media. This interview will appear throughout the ESPN website in various formats, and will also be provided to ESPN Radio affiliates across the nation for their re-play throughout the year.

The next stop was back to the green room, where Pinkel took part in an live chat that lasted a good 25 minutes. Hundreds of questions were submitted according to ESPN personnel, but there was only time to answer a fraction of those, with most of the questions coming from, naturally, the state of Missouri.

Next up was a stop to a different building where ESPN Radio is housed, and Pinkel made a live appearance with Colin Cowherd's The Herd Show, which was also simulcast on the ESPNU television network. Cowherd was profuse in praise of Pinkel and the Tiger program, saying time and again how the Tigers one of the "legit" teams in the country this year.

Following the Cowherd appearance, the Tiger group went to Building 5, where they went to a conference toom for a 12:30 p.m. lunch with Mizzou graduates who work at ESPN. Roughly 15 former Tigers came out for the mixer, and the group had a chance to visit with Pinkel for about 45 minutes. Prominent names who made the lunch included John Walsh, senior vice president of ESPN, anchors John Anderson, Matt Winer and Michael Kim, as well as around dozen other proud Mizzou alums. Pinkel brought a bag full of Mizzou gear and memorabilia, furnished by equipment guru Don Barnes, and the goodies got snatched up rather quickly. The bounty included such things as mini helmets, autographed mini footballs, and all sorts of Tiger gear. ESPN's Dave Brown, who is vice president of programming, and a major player on the college football landscape, stopped by to say hello, and brought the MU travel party some ESPN swag that included shirts and hats.

After the lunch, it was back to Building 2 to do a live radio spot on the Mike Tirico/Scott Van Pelt Show at 1:25 p.m. Tirico was not there in person, as he had called the Monday Night NFL game the night before in San Diego, so he joined the show on the phone. Van Pelt was in studio, however, and posed for a quick photo with Pinkel after the visit, with went close to 15 minutes in length.

Next up was back to the same studio where they first did a morning spot on First Take, and this time the studio was changed around to reflect a set for College Football Live. Pinkel did a stand-up interview with host Rece Davis, and then moved to a make-shift living room set, where he played the role of pitch man, selling show analyst Trevor Mattich, on why Mizzou was a perfect place for him to come play football. Davis played the role of the father to Mattich, and when Pinkel's pitch was over, Davis emphatically told his "son" that he was going to play for the Tigers!

After the CFB Live spot, Pinkel next went to another building to do a live appearance in College Football Overdrive, on ESPN News with host Dari Nowkah. That lasted a good 15 minutes, and then was followed by a trip back across campus to the set of the famous Sports Center, where Pinkel taped a 10-minute spot with host Jay Harris. The Tiger group posed for photos at the Sports Center desk after Pinkel's interview, and then made a quick trip to the ESPN store, where the group made some purchases for friends and family.

After saying goodbye to Rauen and Jamila Phillips, who also helped host the Tigers throughout the day, the group piled back into the car and headed to the airport in Plainville, where they were flown back to mid-Missouri.



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