By LARRY VAUGHT
WPBK-FM (102.9) and wpbkfm.com listeners are going to be in for a treat Tuesday from 7:30-8 a.m. when ESPN’s Shannon Spake joins myself and Tim Estes.
There’s no ESPN analyst I respect more than Spake — and no ESPN analyst that Kentucky basketball fans like more and for good reason. Coaches and players also respect her, which is the surest sign she is very, very good at what she does.
We are obviously going to talk UK basketball and college basketball in general. But she can also talk football and NASCAR and a lot, lot more.
She grew up in Florida and since she was a swimmer, she looked up to Summer Sanders. She grew up a football fan and watched Michael Irvin play before he became a NFL superstar.
From 2000-01 she stepped outside of sports and covered the presidential election as well as the 9/11 terrorist attack. She worked for the Kids Television Network, Nickelodeon, MTV and CBS (she worked a year for The Early Show as an associate producer). She worked six months on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, who she grew to admire.
I am told she even did freelance production for several TV projects, including the MTV Video Music Awards.
She moved to Charlotte, went to work for a local FOX affiliate and covered the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats. She moved to the SPEED Channel and then ESPN wisely added her to its team in 2006.
Spake was a NASCAR pit reporter and now is a sideline reporter for Saturday college football games as well as a basketball sideline reporter.
What you might not know is that Spake, who has twin sons, is a runner. And not just a short-distance runner.
When she’s in Lexington, her workout often consists of running the stairs at Rupp Arena. Her runs normally are 60 minutes and in June I think she is still planing a half-Ironman Triathlon. That makes the Marching Ant 5K today I ran in Stanford seem like baby steps.
But give us a listen Tuesday morning. You can follow Spake on Twitter at @SSpakeESPN.
If you have a question for her, send it to me at @vaughtsviews.com.