Gus Johnson (sportscaster)

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Gus Johnson
Born Augustus Cornelius Johnson, Jr.
(1967-08-10) August 10, 1967 (age 46)
Detroit, Michigan
Agent Christian Gesue
Title Fox Sports commentator (2011-present)

Augustus Cornelius "Gus" Johnson, Jr. (born August 10, 1967) is an American sportscaster.1 Formerly employed by CBS Sports, he currently calls play-by-play for Fox Sports, Showtime, the Big Ten Network and the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer.2

Biography

Education

Gus Johnson attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy. He graduated in 1985. That same year, according to the winter 1997 edition of University of Detroit Jesuit's alumni magazine, Highlights, Johnson was all-league quarterback for the school's football team, an all-league shooting guard on the basketball team, and first baseman and catcher on the baseball team. The 1984-1985 University of Detroit Jesuit yearbook also notes that Johnson was a co-captain of both the football and basketball teams and most valuable player on the latter. Johnson subsequently graduated from Howard University with a degree in political science in 1990 and was a four-year letter winner on Howard's baseball team. Born in Detroit, he is a resident of New York City.

Early career

Johnson called play-by-play for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves (1996–97), Big East Basketball on the Big East Network, college hockey and college basketball on ESPN, and Canadian Football League games for ESPN2. He also did some NFL games for CBS.

Johnson hosted ESPN's Black College Sports Today in 1991. After brief stints as an on-air personality with KXXV-TV in Waco, Texas, WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama, and WXII-TV in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he served as the weekend anchor for WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C., from 1991 to 1992. Gus also had a small cameo, as an announcer, in the 1998 film He Got Game.

Style

Johnson is known primarily for his enthusiasm and excitement that he shares with the game.3 He often uses signature phrases "Oh my goodness!", "Rise and fire... Count it!", "Here comes the pain!", "From the parking lot!", "And the Runner....Bang!", "Pure!", "BAM!", "Hot Sauce!", "Cold-Blooded!", "What a game!", and "HA-HAAA". ESPN's Bill Simmons frequently cites Johnson to be the "cause" of the many exciting finishes to the games he calls, calling it "the Law of Gus." "He's got 'get away from the cops' speed!", is also a famous quote from Johnson.

Roles

Johnson called numerous sports for CBS Sports, with his most recognized role as a play-by-play announcer for CBS' March Madness, which he worked each year from 1996 to 2011. Johnson is particularly known for his calls at the end of several close NCAA Tournament games including the double-overtime Xavier vs Kansas State game on March 25, 2010. Johnson worked for the Madison Square Garden Network (MSG) from 1994–2010, where he was the radio play-by-play and backup television play-by-play announcer of the NBA's New York Knicks, in addition to providing television play-by-play for MSG's coverage of the WNBA's New York Liberty. With the Knicks, he was well known for some of his calls. For example, one famous Gus line occurs after Knicks forward Al Harrington scores: "My name is Al Harrington... And I get Buckets!" Perhaps Johnson's most famous Knicks call was his yelling and screaming during Allan Houston's last second shot to knock off the top-seeded Miami Heat in the first round of the 1999 playoffs, en route to an unlikely NBA Finals appearance. Johnson has also provided commentary for MSG's coverage of the Golden Gloves Tournament and served as host of the "Yankees ScoreCard" and "SportsDesk", as well as the New York Rangers and Knicks "GameNight." Beginning in 2006, Johnson served as the pre-season TV voice for the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. Johnson also provided play-by-play commentary for the Arena Football League's defunct New York Dragons.

In 2008, Johnson handled play-by-play duties for Detroit Lions pre-season games on The Detroit Lions Television Network.

Johnson became lead blow-by-blow caller for Showtime Championship Boxing on CBS-owned Showtime, replacing longtime voice Steve Albert. Johnson was also a mixed martial arts commentator for both EliteXC and Strikeforce through mid-2011. Johnson was widely derided for his commentary during the Kimbo Slice vs Seth Petruzelli fight, where he announced that the fight was "the most incredible victory in the history of mixed martial arts".45

Johnson was also the play-by-play man alongside Bill Raftery in EA Sports NCAA Basketball 10.

In May 2010, it was announced that Johnson would be the play-by-play announcer in EA Sports Madden NFL 11.6 He is also the play-by-play announcer in Madden NFL 12.

Johnson is also the play-by-play announcer for the fictional football games seen in commercials for Buffalo Wild Wings, in which games are rigged and sent into overtime to allow patrons to stay longer and enjoy the experience.7

Johnson has also been an announcer for the Big Ten Network's Sunday Night basketball games since the 2008-2009 season,8 and was slated to announce 23 games for the network in the 2010-2011 season.

Before the 2010–11 NBA season, it was announced that Gus Johnson was let go by MSG Network, the television flagship station for the New York Knicks. Johnson explained on February 16, 2012, on the Scott Ferrall Show, that he wanted to leave the Network in order to spend more time with his son.

CBS released Johnson on May 5, 2011 following a contract dispute.9 He was still scheduled to call a boxing match between Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquiao for Showtime two days later. On May 9, 2011, Johnson finalized a deal to call college football and NFL telecasts for Fox Sports.10

In 2012, Johnson served as a radio play-by-play announcer of Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes, working a few of the team's away games on radio.11 He is currently being groomed by Fox Sports to be its lead soccer announcer, and called his first UEFA Champions League match on February 13, 2013.12 It has been anticipated that Johnson will be Fox Sports' lead announcer for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.12 He is also the lead play-by-play announcer for Fox College Hoops reuniting with Bill Raftery, who works for CBS and formally with ESPN.

References

  1. ^ Bishop, Greg (14 March 2011). "For Voice of March, Authenticity Comes With Sizzle". New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Writer: BobsBlitz.com (2012-04-19). "Craig Carton congratulates Gus Johnson on his new MLS CSN gig » Bob's Blitz". Bobsblitz.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  3. ^ Patashnik, Josh. "The Golden Gus". The New Republic. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Wetzel, Dan (2008-10-07). "Petruzelli in center of Elite XC storm - UFC - Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  5. ^ "FOX Could Add Gus Johnson To Announce Shows". FightLine.com. 2011-08-19. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  6. ^ "Madden Taps Gus Johnson for Video Games' Top Play-by-Play Job". Kotaku.com. 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  7. ^ "Gus Johnson Trademarks "Rise & Fire" To Sell Apparel". CNBC. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  8. ^ "Chicago Tribune August 26, 2008 Big Ten adds Johnson to its network lineup". Chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  9. ^ "Gus Johnson parts ways with CBS". CNN. 5 May 2011. 
  10. ^ Raissman, Bob (9 May 2011). "Gus Johnson officially out at CBS, headed to Fox after CBS declines to match Fox's offer". Daily News (New York). 
  11. ^ "Quakes announcer Gus Johnson making an impact in first year calling soccer matches". San Jose Mercury News. May 8, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Deitsch, Richard. "Gus Johnson groomed as voice of World Cup by Fox=". SI.com. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 

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