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Who Could Replace Eamon McAnaney As ESPN’s Top Lacrosse Play-By-Play Guy?

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Although ESPNU usually doesn’t begin televising games until late February, it’s a big question with a few weeks until the 2017 season gets underway.

ESPN The Party - Inside Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for ESPN

We learned yesterday of the departure of Eamon McAnaney from ESPN to becoming a full-time anchor at SportsNet New York, more commonly known as SNY.

With less than a month to go until the 2017 college lacrosse season gets underway, we get our first big surprise question of the season, and it doesn’t involve any teams, coaches, or players.

I look at ESPN as the top dog in televising college lacrosse games. Sure you have others such as CBS Sports Network and (when they feel like it) FS1 and FS2 on cable, as well as online-only sites such as the Patriot League Network (who takes the cake in that category), and most recently Lax Sports Network. But if people will want to get exposed to lacrosse for the first time ever, more than likely it will be either on ESPNU during the regular season or ESPN2 (or ESPN) during Championship Weekend.

McAnaney has been covering lacrosse at ESPN since 2007, first as a reporter before moving up to the booth to call the games alongside numerous color commentators, including Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra.

With the loss of McAnaney, there are plenty of names that could take over the top play-by-play lacrosse spot at the network. Here’s some that stick out:

Anish Shroff

If you follow some of our staff (and I highly suggest you do), it appears our consensus is to see the Syracuse graduate (!!!) be the new number one after doing plenty of studio work during telecasts for the past few seasons. He was on the call for plenty of games in the North Carolina area, since ESPNU’s headquarters are located in Charlotte, and provided plenty of excitement and creativity to the broadcasts, along with Carc. The best example is when he made last year’s Notre Dame-North Carolina regular season game around a Game of Thrones theme. Shroff also calls college football and basketball games during the year. If he gets the top spot, ESPN might have to fill Shroff’s old role as studio host as well. Or they could hire us.

Mike Corey

Corey has been the number two play-by-play guy for a few years now, and he’s been heard covering the first day of the NCAA Quarterfinals for the past two seasons. The veteran broadcaster has done a ton of work in his eighteen-year career, including calling field hockey for NBC during the last three Summer Olympic games. Currently, he’s the lead play-by-play voice for NBCSN’s college basketball coverage, mainly for Atlantic 10 hoops, which includes the conference’s tournament in March. He called the Albany-Maryland midweek showdown in mid-March, but also called Virginia’s home win over Johns Hopkins a couple of weeks later. Running into him a few times when I was at Brown, he was a nice guy to talk to. Similar to Shroff, I would be perfect with Corey as the new number one.

John Brickley

Brickley is an interesting, and new name, to the college lacrosse scene, and the broadcasting scene in general. He joined ESPN on their radio side in 2011 as a SportsCenter update anchor before eventually moving up to do some TV work beginning back in 2015, mainly on college basketball telecasts. He called last year’s regular season meeting between North Carolina and Syracuse (aka UNC’s kryptonite), as well as the NCAA First Round matchup between North Carolina and Marquette. He was on the call for the Women’s Division I National Championship game as well, when North Carolina beat Maryland, and by my surprise, the PIAA Boys’ and Girls’ Lacrosse Championships this past summer. I was walking toward the press box end at the site of the games and saw a glance at him and was shocked (and happy) to kind of see him (great pick, PCN). I forgot to DVR the boys’ game and get a chance to listen to his call, but I’m pretty sure he was solid. He also does some studio work on college basketball telecasts. I think you continue to see more of him, whether it’s play-by-play or studio work, this year. Know his name.

Booker Corrigan

THE RACE TO NIFTY ON THE U???!!! It could be possible! Just listen to his calls.

The most creative broadcaster that I can name off the top of my head has to at least be considered. But unlike the other three play-by-play guys mentioned, Corrigan (from what we know) has only done lacrosse broadcasting. He’s mainly a fixture in the high school game around the Baltimore area, and does a handful of college lacrosse throughout the season, including last year’s Maryland-Johns Hopkins matchup. He also does some stuff with Corrigan Sports Enterprises throughout the year, which could also be somewhat difficult for him to the top play-by-play man. He’s an underdog indeed, but just imagine him calling a Chris Cloutier goal and hearing this:

Other Candidates

  • Mark Dixon (More of an analyst, but is able to call games, like Cuse-Hopkins last year)
  • Joe Beninati (although him calling Washington Capitals games are tough already, as well as doing Big Ten lacrosse for BTN)
  • Dave Ryan (was at ESPN for some time, currently the top play-by-play man at CBSSN for lacrosse as well as college football)
  • Quint Kessenich (Top ESPN analyst, ain’t gonna happen)

Ridiculous Dark Horse, But He’s Done It Before

It was discussed and kicked around on Twitter a little bit, but would Sean McDonough be a good fit? He’s done the NCAA Lacrosse Championships before, notably in 2010.

I don’t believe he is a lacrosse fan (though I may be wrong), but I do know he’s a Syracuse graduate, so I’m automatically down with that. But would ESPN let him call lacrosse as the play-by-play man of Monday Night Football and some other events, such as college basketball and probably Monday Night Baseball? Probably not, but if he wants to do it, I would think they would let him?

He probably won’t get it, but if I had one suggestion for ESPN, it would be to have this pairing for one game.

Scott Clarke / ESPN Images

Just imagine Jon Gruden having a Gruden Grinder for ONE LACROSSE GAME! I don’t care if he does or doesn’t know lacrosse, this would be great entertainment for the lacrosse fan and the non-lacrosse fan/Gruden lover. Imagine this call by McAnaney, but with a McDonough-Gruden dialogue:

McDonough: “Cloutier, SCORES!!!! THE CURSE IS OVER!! THE TAR HEELS ARE BACK ON TOP, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 25 YEARS! JOE BRESCHI’S FEEL GOOD STORY IS COMPLETE!

Gruden: “I’ll tell ya what man, I don’t know anything about lacrosse, but that was one of the best things I’ve ever seen in my life. I love lacrosse so much, I might start a Gruden camp soon for quarterbacks of an offense. I love Carson Wentz, man.”

It’d be beautiful. And I’d want it as soon as possible. Make it work, ESPN.