Top ESPN Programming Executive Jumps to Syracuse

By Chris Ariens 

John Wildhack, who joined ESPN fresh out of Syracuse University in 1980, is returning to his alma mater to run the sports program at the upstate New York university.

For the last two and a half years, Wildhack has been executive vice president of programming and production, reporting to ESPN president John Skipper. Wildhack joined ESPN just one year into its existence as a production assistant in 1980. He was promoted to associate producer in 1982, and to producer in 1985. From 1990-1993 he worked on event and remote production before continuing his rise through the ranks of the programming department.

An alumnus of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, which has produced its share of current media executives and on-air talent, Wildhack will be director of athletics for the ACC school. “To say this is a dream job would be a significant understatement,” says Wildhack in a statement. “Syracuse University played a profound role in my life’s trajectory and I’m confident I wouldn’t be where I am without the education and opportunities this institution afforded me.”

“John is a special kind of leader and Syracuse University is fortunate to have someone of his stature taking the helm of Syracuse Athletics,” says NBC Sports’ Michael Tirico a 1988 graduate, current Trustee and a longtime ESPN colleague.

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