Kirk Herbstreit is widely recognized as one of the best college football minds of his generation. He has served as an analyst for ESPN’s eight-time Sports Emmy Award-winning College GameDay Built since August 1996, when he joined then-host Chris Fowler and co-analyst Lee Corso. For his efforts there, he has earned seven nominations and three Sports Emmy Awards for Best Studio Analyst (2010, 2011, 2019). Herbstreit is the game analyst for the Saturday Night Football series on ABC, broadcast television’s first weekly prime-time college football game, since the series debut in 2006. In 2018, Herbstreit earned a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Event Analyst. He currently shares the booth with play-by-play commentator Chris Fowler and reporter Maria Taylor.

Kirk was an All State Quarterback at Centerville High School (Centerville, OH) and played his college football at Ohio State where he was named a captain his senior season.

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  • “Because of what you have to do to be part of that program… You do things you didn’t think you would ever fathom you could get through. It develops you as a person.” — Kirk on what it’s like to play football at Centerville High School.
    • “Nothing has impacted me more than the time and what I learned from Bob Gregg and Ron Ullery. It’s with me every single day. That’s why we take so much pride in it. Because of the impact it has on our entire life.”
  • Learning resilience and how to persevere, and how to prepare for big moments.
  • Kirk’s preparation process: There’s nobody more prepared than Kirk each week.
    • “It’s the only thing I know. It’s not an option for me to not be prepared.”
    • “Nobody knew who I was back in 1996 when I first started. Instead of hiding from that, I said ‘I’m going to be the hardest working analyst in sports. That became my calling card. I had to earn people’s respect. The only way I knew how to do that was through my work ethic and preparation. It’s the only way I know how.”
  • The importance of relationships – “I’ve never in 25 years burned a coach. I never will. They are a lifeline for me. It’s one thing to read an article. For you to really get information, you have to go directly to the sources… The coaches.”
  • “I feel I’m the most prepared person covering the sport every week when I do Gameday and when I go into the booth Saturday night.”
    • “If I’m awake I’m either with my kids or I’m preparing for the games.”
  • Building relationships with powerful people… How?
    • “Trust. That’s the most important thing. In my job, you sometimes have to be critical. What I’ve always said to myself is, if this person was sitting next to me, he might disagree, but he’s not going to be offended.”
    • “I’ll call them the next week to make sure they understood what I said. I go out of my way to promote people.”
  • Sustaining Excellence — “I look at it like… I don’t do this for money, I don’t do this for fame, I do this for love, for passion. There’s nothing that makes me more happy than watching football. I love it. It never gets old, I’m constantly trying to improve, to get better. I feel like here I am 25 years into this business and I’m just scratching the surface…”
    • “You gotta keep working, you gotta keep learning.”
  • “It’s such a fun challenge to broadcast games now with how much has changed…”
  • Working with a partner (for him it is Chris Fowler)… The keys to working well with a partner:
    • Developing a relationship with that person – Make sure you go to dinners, do things away from work. Get to know that person. Become friends. Then earn your stripe through your preparation and your work.
  • Working with a broadcasting team – It takes amazing, constant, communication.
  • Keys to great quarterback play and how that translate to being a great leader in the business world:
    • The ability to process a lot of information and make sense of it quickly (Joe Burrow is the best he’s seen)
    • Accuracy – Throw the ball where you want it to go
    • Make great decisions
    • Mental toughness
  • Being the type of person that others want to follow… How to do that?
    • Play-making ability is a must – people are drawn to you because they believe in you
    • You can do it differently, but “it’s very hard to think of successful quarterbacks that aren’t well liked by all members of the team.”
      • People are drawn to them.  — Cannot be selfish. The quarterback gets a lot of attention. Need to deflect that and talk about the linemen, the defense, your teammates.
  • Would Kirk take the Monday Night Football broadcasting job?
    • “I’ve talked with my agent about it. That’s in play. It’s being talked about. It would have to be in addition. I’ll never leave college.”
      • “I love watching the NFL… Watching guys that I’ve covered. The college game is leaking more and more into the NFL. The prep would be pretty extreme, but I could do it.”
  • Life advice: “I was raised to be an unselfish person. I’ve never felt like I was more important than anyone else. I’ll never put myself above anybody in any regard.” — Be the hardest working person, have an awareness about you to help others, never think you’re more important than others.”
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