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On The Bricks

June 25, 2020

Most people have an opinion about sports and those athletes and coaches made famous for their abilities in sports. But few sport opinions are listened to as much as Skip Bayless’.

Bayless, born John Edward Bayless II on Dec. 4, 1951, in Oklahoma City, is an American sports columnist, author, and television personality. His parents owned and operated the Hickory House restaurant in Oklahoma City. He worked in the restaurant as a youth. His younger brother Rick Bayless carried on the family tradition and became a television chef personality.

Skip was the salutatorian of Northwest Classen’s class of 1970 where he played baseball and basketball. He was a two – year member of the National Honor Society and president of the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, and an officer in the letterman’s club. Bayless became the sports columnist for the school newspaper his junior and senior years. Prior to his senior year, Bayless represented Northwest Classen at Oklahoma Boys State. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Grantland Rice Scholarship to attend Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, he majored in English and history, and graduated cum laude in 1974. He was sports editor of the university student newspaper, and spent the summer of 1969 interning at The Daily Oklahoman.

Bayless went directly to The Miami Herald, to wrote sports features. He then took a position at the Los Angeles Times. Bayless won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Newspaper Writing in 1977 for his coverage of Seattle Slew‘s Triple Crown victory.

At age 26, Bayless was hired by The Dallas Morning News, and later joined the Dallas Times Herald. Bayless was voted Texas sportswriter of the year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association three times (1979, 1984, 1986).

In 1989, Bayless wrote his first book, God’s Coach: The Hymns, Hype and Hypocrisy of Tom Landry’s Cowboys, about the rise and fall of Tom Landry‘s Dallas Cowboys. Following the Cowboys’ Super Bowl victory in 1993, Bayless wrote The Boys: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys’ Season on the Edge, and following the third Cowboys Super Bowl win in four seasons, Bayless wrote a third book about the Cowboys, Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the “Win or Else” Dallas CowboysHell-Bent caused a stir, in part, because in the course of writing about the conflict between Cowboys coach Barry Switzer and star quarterback Troy Aikman,

Bayless then become lead sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune. He won the Lisagor Award for excellence in sports column writing. He was voted Illinois sportswriter of the year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Bayless’s work also appeared in various national sports publications, including Sports Illustrated.

Bayless had a presence in radio. He began hosting a sports talk radio show for KLIF in Dallas. He became one of the original investors in KTCK (“the Ticket”) in Ft. Worth, and hosted The Skip Bayless Show. He became the primary guest host of the syndicated radio program, The Jim Rome Show. Soon thereafter, Bayless began co-hosting a weekend show on ESPN Radio with former SportsCenter anchor Larry Beil.

His television time began in 1989, when Bayless joined as a panelist on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters, and over the next decade, he was a regular on the Sunday morning show. Bayless became a member of the original debate team on NFL Prime Monday‘s “Knights of the Roundtable” segments.

Bayless appeared regularly on Jim Rome‘s show on Fox Sports NetThe Last Word. He also made frequent appearances on Fox’s The Best Damn Sports Show Period. Bayless became a fixture on Rome is Burning. He was also featured in a weekly Sunday morning SportsCenter debate segment with Stephen A. Smith, “Old School / Nu Skool”.

ESPN hired Bayless full-time to team with Woody Paige in daily debate segments called “1st and 10” on ESPN2‘s Cold Pizza, and to write columns for ESPN.com. Rebranded as First Take, the production was moved to the network’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

Leaving EPN in 2016, Bayless next went to Fox Sports. There he debuted Skip and Shannon: Undisputed along with Shannon Sharpe September 2016 on Fox Sports 1.

Bayless was selected to the Oklahoma City Wall of Fame. He was inducted as one of the five members of the inaugural class of the Vanderbilt Student Media Hall of Fame. In 2012, he received a Sports Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Analyst, and was the co-recipient with DJ Steve Porter of a Webby People’s Voice Award in the category of Video Remixes/Mashups for “All He Does Is Win”, Porter’s mashup of clips of Bayless passionately defending oft – maligned quarterback Tim Tebow.

Oklahoma is proud of Skip Bayless.

Sports trivia: Tickets to the first Super Bowl went for $12, for the most expensive seat.

More sports trivia: Beginning with Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000, footballs used in the big game have been marked with synthetic DNA to prevent sports memorabilia fraud. Souvenirs from the 2000 Summer Olympics were marked with human DNA in the ink.

Even more sports trivia: Only three men – Dan Reeves, Mike Ditka, and Tony Dungy – have appeared in the Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach, and head coach.

Made me laugh: Why did the poor quarterback have his receivers cross at midfield? He was trying to make ends meet.

Another laugh: Where do football players go when they need new uniforms? New Jersey.

Hope you’re enjoying that sports is starting back up.

See you on the bricks soon!

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