NASSAU, Bahamas – Veteran ESPN SportsCenter anchor and play-by-play announcer Steve Levy will call the action, College Football Final studio analysts Lou Holtz and Mark May will bring their extensive football acumen to the broadcast booth and Laura Rutledge will report from the sidelines for ESPN at the inaugural Popeyes Bahamas Bowl on December 24.
The group will call the game between the Central Michigan Chippewas (7-5) and the WKU Hilltoppers (7-5) in Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium at Noon ET on ESPN.
Steve Levy has been an anchor on SportsCenter since joining ESPN in August 1993. Along the way, he has also handled play-by-play on the NHL (1995–2005) on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports, college football on ESPN2 (1999–2002) and the NCAA Division I men’s hockey semifinals and finals – “The Frozen Four” – in 1998 and ‘99. The versatile Levy has also served as the studio host for ESPN’s NHL telecasts and co-hosted The NFL on ESPN Radio – previewing, reviewing and updating National Football League games all day on Sundays throughout the season.
Prior to joining ESPN, Levy’s television experience included working at WCBS-TV in New York as a sports anchor/reporter (1992-93) and hosting Sports Desk on the Madison Square Garden Network (1989).
Levy began his television career at WTOP-TV in 1983 while an undergraduate at SUNY at Oswego. He worked at the station during his four years at Oswego State and was sports director there for two years (1986-87). Levy also called play-by-play for Oswego State’s hockey team on WOCR-Radio.
Levy has had cameo appearances in six movies, starting in 1999 when he played himself in Mystery, Alaska, a story about a small town hockey team’s big game against the New York Rangers. He has also appeared in Fever Pitch, The Ringer, The Game Plan, Tooth Fairy and Parental Guidance. In Spring 2013 he shot scenes for Grudge Match, featuring Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, and Million Dollar Arm, with John Hamm.
Legendary football coach Lou Holtz joined ESPN as a studio and game analyst in 2004, after his second retirement as a coach. He is an analyst on ESPN’s Saturday college football pregame, halftime and postgame studio coverage and College Football Final with host Rece Davis and fellow analyst Mark May, during which Holtz does a regular feature, “Dr. Lou.” The trio also calls select ESPN and ESPN2 weekday games. In addition, Holtz is a regular contributor to SportsCenter.
Before coming to ESPN, Holtz served for as a commentator for CBS Sports for two seasons.
Holtz began his coaching career in 1960 as a graduate assistant at Iowa. He then moved on to assistant coaching positions at William & Mary, Connecticut, South Carolina and Ohio State. At Ohio State he coached for Woody Hayes in 1968, when they won the national championship.
In 1969, he would return to William & Mary as head coach. In 1972, Holtz became the head coach for the University of North Carolina.
After four seasons with North Carolina, Holtz was hired as the head coach of the NFL’s New York Jets. After a year, though, Holtz returned to college football, where he succeeded Frank Broyles as the head coach at Arkansas. Next, after seven seasons with Arkansas, he headed to the University of Minnesota, where he would coach for two seasons.
In 1986, Holtz became the head coach at Notre Dame. In his decade with the Fighting Irish, he led Notre Dame to an undefeated season and a national championship in 1988.
In 1996, after 27 years of coaching, Holtz retired. But after two seasons as a CBS commentator, he returned to coach for six more seasons, this time at South Carolina.
Holtz retired with a career record of 249-132-7, which ranks him sixth all-time in victories. He has received such honors as Coach of the Year and has won national championships. Holtz has taken six schools to bowl games within two years of arriving as coach, including the only bowl game in William & Mary history. He has taken teams to 22 post-season bowl games in his career. Holtz is the only coach to lead four schools to top-20 finishes. He has written three New York Times best-sellers, including The Fighting Spirit, which tells the story of Notre Dame’s 1988 championship season.
Mark May, a 2005 College Football Hall of Fame inductee and 13-year NFL veteran as an offensive lineman, serves as an analyst for ESPN and ESPN2 studio shows and select college football game telecasts.
May joined ESPN in 2001 after serving as an NFL game analyst for CBS Sports from 1998-2001. Prior to CBS Sports, May worked for Turner Sports (TNT and TBS) from 1995-99 as a studio and game analyst for college and pro football telecasts.
In 1994, he worked for WTAE Radio in Pittsburgh as the color commentator for University of Pittsburgh football games, the school where he starred as an offensive lineman. Also in 1994, May co-hosted a two-hour postgame show following Washington Redskins’ games for WTEM Radio in Washington, D.C.
May was a first-round selection (20th overall) of the Washington Redskins in the 1981 NFL Draft. He played 10 years with the team where he was a starting offensive lineman – and a member of the famed “Hogs” offensive line – from 1982-90. While with the Redskins, May was a three-time Super Bowl participant, winning two championships, and played in the Pro Bowl following the 1988 season. In 1992, May was recognized as one of Washington’s 70 Greatest Redskins. He also played with the San Diego Chargers in 1991 and retired after two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (1992-93).
May, who attended the University of Pittsburgh, was consensus All-American, the Outland Trophy winner as the best offensive lineman in 1980 and had his jersey retired.
Laura Rutledge reported from the football sidelines for the new SEC Network in the 2014 season. In addition to her work for ESPN, she also is a freelance journalist for CNN in Atlanta.