ESPN Pioneer Chet Simmons Dies

By Andrew Gauthier 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A pioneer of sports broadcasting who helped create the ESPN network died Thursday in Atlanta. Chester R. Simmons, who died of natural causes, was 81.

“Chet” Simmons’ career began in 1957 with Sports Programs, Inc., which later became ABC Sports. While at ABC, Simmons helped create the “Wide World of Sports.” He later became president of NBC Sports and then ESPN, according to Josh Krulewitz with ESPN.


Simmons joined ESPN as president and chief operating officer on July 31, 1979, just prior to the networks launch September 7. More…