Behind the Mic: Hawk Harrelson To Retire From White Sox Booth; ESPN Re-Signs College GameDay’s Lee Corso, Desmond Howard

Behind the Mic provides a roundup of recent news regarding on-air talent, including new deals, departures, and assignments compiled from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, Dean Blandino has FOX Sports as a rules analyst for the network’s college football and NFL coverage, White Sox booth legend Ken “Hawk” Harrelson is retiring, the L.A. Kings tap Northeastern University alum Alex Faust to replace the recently-retired Bob Miller in the booth, NFL stalwart John Clayton is among the ESPN layoffs, ESPN re-signs College GameDay’s Lee Corso and Desmond Howard to extensions, Alex Rodriguez will reportedly contribute to ABC News, ESPN signs Chip Kelly as NFL commentator, and more. 

Dean Blandino joins FOX Sports as a rules analyst for the network’s college football and NFL coverage in 2017. Blandino is the NFL’s former Senior Vice President of Officiating. Together with FOX Sports’ lead NFL and college football rules analyst Mike Pereira, Blandino contributes regularly to both FOX Sports’ college football and NFL telecasts from in the network’s Los Angeles studio, offering his unique insights and interpretation of the rules. Blandino previously served as an Instant Replay Official (1999-03), Manager of Instant Replay (2003-07), Director of Officiating (2007-09, 2012-13), in which he served as the No. 2 officer behind Pereira, and Vice President of Officiating (2013-16)…

Ken “Hawk” Harrelson’s 34th year in the Chicago White Sox broadcast booth next season will be his last, the organization announced. Harrelson will work a 20-game schedule of primarily Sunday home games during the 2018 season, after which he will step down to serve as a White Sox ambassador throughout the 2019 season. Also, the White Sox announced a multi-year agreement with Jason Benetti to expand his role as primary play-by-play voice. Benetti joined the broadcast team in 2016. Harrelson began his career in baseball on the field, playing nine seasons in the major leagues and is credited with bringing the batting glove to the game. Following his baseball career, Harrelson played professional golf for more than three years, qualifying for and competing in the 1972 British Open. His broadcasting career began with the Red Sox in 1975, and he joined White Sox broadcasts in 1982, teaming with Hall of Famer Don Drysdale. Harrelson became general manager of the White Sox in 1986, before joining New York Yankees broadcasts in 1987-88. From 1984-89, he served as a backup color commentator on NBC’s Game of the Week. He returned to the White Sox broadcast booth in 1990. (Robert Feder)…

…The Los Angeles Kings lost the 44-year “Voice of the Kings,” Bob Miller, when he retired following last season. 28-year-old Alex Faust has inked a multiyear contract to replace Miller and will announce Kings games on Fox Sports West along with longtime TV color man Jim Fox. Veterans Nick Nixon and Daryl Evans will continue to call games on the radio. Faust has called hockey games for NBCSN, NESN and Westwood One Radio. He was the voice of the AHL’s Utica Comets from 2013-15, had done college football and basketball play-by-play man for ESPNU and Fox Sports since 2015 and called this year’s NCAA Men’s Frozen Four for Westwood One. Earlier in his career, Faust was the voice of Northeastern’s men’s basketball team and announced games for minor league baseball Staten Island Yankees for two years (Deadline)…

…NFL insider John Clayton is leaving ESPN as part of the sweeping layoffs at the network, according Sporting News. Clayton confirmed his status in a tweet. The well-respected Clayton has served as a senior NFL writer and commentator at ESPN for 23 years. In 2007, Clayton was inducted into the writer’s wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Sporting News)…

…ESPN College GameDay Built by The Home Depot analyst Lee Corso has agreed to a multi-year deal to remain on college football’s longest-running pregame show. Corso will also play a role on ESPN’s College Football Playoff programming. Corso joined ESPN in 1987 and is the only remaining original College GameDay on-air personality (he was a contributor in 1987-88 and joined as an analyst in 1989). The seven-time Emmy Award-winning show is hosted by Rece Davis, who is also joined by analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack. Corso came to ESPN after 28 years as a coach at the college and professional levels, including 17 seasons as a head coach. (ESPN)…

… In addition, ESPN has secured Desmond Howard – a longtime voice on College GameDay – to a multiyear agreement to remain with the network. Howard has been a part of the seven-time Emmy-Award winning College GameDay college football’s longest-running and most-celebrated Saturday morning pregame show – since joining ESPN in 2005. He is also a staple on ESPN’s daily, weekday news and information show – College Football Live, in addition to calling select mid-week games during the season. Howard will continue to play a large part on ESPN’s College Football Playoff programming. The Super Bowl XXXI MVP (1997) and Pro Bowl selection (2000) joined ESPN a few years after his 11 seasons in the NFL. (ESPN)…

…Former Yankee Alex Rodriguez has inked a contributor deal with ABC News, according to CNNMoney. A-Rod will make occasional appearances on the ABC shows “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight,” and “Nightline.” It’s not yet known when Rodriguez will first appear on the network or how long his contract will run. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Rodriguez retired from baseball last August as the fourth the all-time home-run hitter. (CNN)…

…ESPN has signed former head coach Chip Kelly to a multi-year deal as a studio analyst. The former Associated Press College Football Coach of the Year will have a significant presence on ESPN programming during the football season, predominantly working college football pre-games, halftimes and studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2. Kelly, a coach with nearly 30 years of experience at multiple levels of football, will also appear on SportsCenter on Fridays and Sundays offering insight to college and NFL games.  Kelly was the head coach of University of Oregon from 2009 to 2012, compiling a career record of 46-7 including victories in the Rose Bowl Game and the Fiesta Bowl and earning a trip to the national championship game. Overall, Kelly has coached 24 years at the collegiate level, including two years as an offensive coordinator at Oregon before he became the head coach. Kelly has coached the last four seasons in the NFL, including going 10-6 with the Philadelphia Eagles and winning the NFC East in his first year at the helm. (ESPN)…

…College basketball analyst Seth Greenberg has signed a multi-year extension with ESPN. Greenberg will continue his main roles of weeknight studio analysis in Bristol, CT, and entertaining fans from remote locations on College GameDay Covered State Farm with host Rece Davis and fellow analysts Jay Bilas and Jay Williams.  He will appear on various ESPN platforms, including regular appearances on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio programming, in addition to calling select games. He also hosts a weekly podcast “Courtside” on ESPN.com that features top-billed guests from the college basketball world. Greenberg joined ESPN in 2012 with 36 years of college coaching experience. He posted a record of 383-293 in his 22 years as a head coach (Long Beach State, South Florida, Virginia Tech) and secured 11 postseason appearances. (ESPN)…