Linda Cohn ’81, an ESPN anchor for more than 20 years, hosted her milestone 5,000th broadcast of SportsCenter on Feb. 21. No one in the program’s 36-year history—male or female—has hosted
Cohn, who was the goalie for the women’s ice hockey team from 1977-81, graduated from Oswego with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. She has been an anchor for ESPN since 1992, when she hosted her first broadcast at 2 a.m. Since then, she has been a regular anchor for not only SportsCenter’s weekend morning edition but ESPNEWS, ESPN Radio and countless special coverage shows.
“It is a remarkable achievement. In her years at ESPN, she has been one of the defining personalities of SportsCenter,” said John Skipper, ESPN president and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, in a statement. “The quality of her work and commitment has distinguished ESPN and made her one of the preeminent sportscasters of her time.”
The two-hour special broadcast, co-anchored by ESPN’s Randy Scott, showcased Cohn’s career with the network. Messages also poured in from fans online, and shortly after the broadcast began, SportsCenter’s hashtag for Linda’s achievement #LCo5KSC began trending nationwide.
Prior to ESPN, Cohn worked at a number of New York based radio stations as a sports anchor. She made history in 1987 when she became the first full-time female sports anchor on a national radio network after being hired by ABC. Cohn also authored her own memoir in 2008, titled Cohn-Head: A No-Holds-Barred Account of Breaking Into the Boys’ Club. The book detailed her love for sports, as well as her success in a heavily male-dominated career.
She is a 2006 inductee of the SUNY Oswego Athletic Hall of Fame, and served as the moderator of the college’s 2006 Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit. She also served as the mistress of ceremonies during the 1994 Commencement Eve Torchlight Ceremony. She was featured in the NCAA’s Division III 40-In-40 Project in 2014.
During media interviews about the 5,000th episode, Cohn recognized School of Communication, Media and the Arts Dean Emeritus Fritz Messere ’71 M’76 for helping her develop her broadcast voice. She also gave a shout-out to fellow SportsCenter anchor and Oswego alumnus Steve Levy ’87.
During an ESPN radio interview, Cohn joked about not yet having a sub named after her at the Oswego Sub Shop, as have Levy and Al Roker ’76. The interviewer, Paul Esden Jr. ’15, then launched a Twitter campaign #GetCohnaSub, and a Linda Cohn sub has since been added to the menu. Cohn tweeted: “Thank you Oswego subshop!! I’ll make u proud with this healthy addition!”
—Kelly Walters ’16