Kirk Herbstreit

American football player and analyst

Kirk Herbstreit
Herbstreit in 2024
No. 4
MajorBusiness Administration
Personal information
Born: (1969-08-19) August 19, 1969 (age 54)
Centerville, Ohio, U.S.
Career history
Bowl games
  • Florida Citrus Bowl (1993)
High schoolCenterville (Centerville, Ohio)

Kirk Edward Herbstreit (/ˈhɜːrbstrt/; born August 19, 1969)[1] is an American sportscaster and former college football player. He serves as an analyst for ESPN's College GameDay, a television program covering college football, and provides color commentary on college football games on ESPN and ABC and Thursday night NFL games on Prime Video. For his TV work, Herbstreit has won five Sports Emmy Awards in various categories. He appeared annually as a commentator in EA Sports' NCAA Football video game until the series was put on hiatus following NCAA Football 14.

From 1989 to 1993, Herbstreit played football as a quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes. He played in several games his junior season and was the starting quarterback throughout his senior season.

Playing career and subsequent activities in Ohio

Herbstreit graduated from Centerville High School in Centerville, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. As a quarterback for the Elks, he was the Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior. He also was a standout basketball and baseball player.

Herbstreit was the first player to commit to the Ohio State Buckeyes after the hiring of John Cooper as head coach in 1988. Herbstreit was a four-year letterman as a quarterback at Ohio State University from 1989 to 1993. After waiting his turn behind Greg Frey and Kent Graham, Herbstreit finally led the team as a senior in 1992. That year, he was a co-captain (along with linebacker Steve Tovar) and voted team MVP. Herbstreit passed for 1,904 yards that season, including four 200-plus-yard games, before losing to the Georgia Bulldogs in the Florida Citrus Bowl. Herbstreit set the Ohio State record for pass completions (28) in the rivalry game against Michigan, throwing for 271 yards in a 13–13 tie in 1992. The record stood until 2006, when it was broken by Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.[2] Herbstreit graduated from Ohio State in 1993 with a degree in business administration.

Herbstreit's father, Jim Herbstreit, was a co-captain (along with offensive tackle Jim Tyrer) of the 1960 Ohio State team, and later an assistant coach at Ohio State under Woody Hayes. When Herbstreit was named co-captain in 1992,[3] the two became only the second father-and-son duo to have each been Ohio State captains. (James and Jeff Davidson were the first in 1989; Pepper and Dionte Johnson became the third in 2007.)

He also is known for a 2009 case in which he sued the IRS for changing an implied policy of allowing deductions for house donations to the fire department for training purposes.[4]

Herbstreit is actively involved in multiple charities including the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer[5] and The Make A Wish Foundation Ultimate Sports Auction.[6]

Lee Corso and Herbstreit discuss college football on an evening update of ESPN College Gameday in 2007

He has lent his name to the Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic in Columbus, Ohio, and Arlington, Texas. According to the website, the Kickoff Classic "pits high school teams from the states of Ohio and Texas against prep football powerhouses from across the nation" over the Labor Day weekend. The games in Ohio are usually held at Ohio Stadium, while the games in Texas are held at AT&T Stadium.

Broadcasting career

Herbstreit joined ESPN in 1996, and has since gained roles as lead analyst on College GameDay with host Rece Davis, Desmond Howard, Pat McAfee, and Lee Corso. He serves as the analyst for ABC’s Saturday college football primetime games alongside former GameDay host and longtime colleague Chris Fowler.

Herbstreit was nominated for a 1997 Sports Emmy Award as television's top studio analyst[7] and wrote a weekly in-season column, "Inside The Game With Kirk Herbstreit," for The Sporting News.

A frequent contributor to and ESPN The Magazine,[7] Herbstreit has worked as a color commentator for ESPN's Thursday night college football games.

In July 2007, Herbstreit served as a panelist for the series Who's Now alongside Keyshawn Johnson and Michael Wilbon.[8]

Herbstreit contributes to the 97.1 The Fan, an ESPN Radio affiliate out of Columbus, Ohio.

In 2018, Herbstreit was announced to replace Jon Gruden for night one of ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage, as Gruden left to return to the then-Oakland, now Las Vegas Raiders. When ABC picked up rights to air the first two nights of the Draft, Herbstreit moved to ABC’s coverage with his GameDay colleagues.

In 2020, Herbstreit announced the first game of the Monday Night Football Kickoff Week doubleheader alongside Chris Fowler.[9] A week later, Herbstreit and Rece Davis worked a special Monday Night Football MegaCast on ESPN2 for the Saints–Raiders game, the first ever NFL game to be played in Las Vegas, on the night in which Monday Night Football celebrated its 50th anniversary. In 2022, Fowler and Herbstreit again called the first game of an MNF doubleheader, this time during the final week of the 2021 season.

On March 23, 2022, Herbstreit was announced as the new color commentator for Thursday Night Football on Prime Video, alongside NFL play-by-play announcer Al Michaels.[10] That same day, Herbstreit agreed to an extension of his contract with ESPN to allow him to continue on GameDay, Saturday Night Football, and the NFL Draft, to go along with his new NFL duties for Amazon.

Personal life

Herbstreit met his wife Alison at Ohio State, where she was a cheerleader.[11] They were married in 1998 and have four sons.[12] The Herbstreits moved from Ohio to Nashville in 2011, but now split time between there and Cincinnati where their youngest son, Chase, plays quarterback for St. Xavier High School.[13] [14] His twin sons, Jake and Tye, were athletes at Montgomery Bell Academy.[15] Tye now plays football as a walk-on at Clemson University;[16] Jake walked on at Clemson before transferring to Ohio State to focus on academics. Herbstreit has another son, Zak, who joined the Ohio State football team as a preferred walk-on in 2021, as a tight end.

Herbstreit is a Christian. When asked about the role faith plays in his life, he said, “Everything. I try to every day walk that path.“[17]

His hobbies include playing EA Sports video games, and working out. Herbstreit is a horse racing fan, and also follows Ohio sports teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Cincinnati Reds. Herbstreit was featured prominently in How We Lookin'?, a documentary about the life and career of longtime Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman. He has four golden retrievers, one of which he takes on road trips to games.[18]

Awards and honors

  • Five-time Sports Emmy Award winner[19]
    • Three Outstanding Studio Analyst (2010, 2011, 2019)
    • Two Outstanding Event Analyst (2018, 2020)
  • Rose Bowl Hall of Fame (inducted 2023)[20]


  1. ^ "About Kirk Herbstreit". Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  2. ^ "Rushing Records" from the 2011 Ohio State Information Guide
  3. ^ Moores, Alan (July 1, 2021). "Out of the Pocket: Football, Fatherhood, and College GameDay Saturdays". Booklist. 117 (21). American Library Association: Cengage: 12. ISSN 0006-7385. OCLC 1536781. Gale In Context: Biography, A669809253.
  4. ^ Lynn, Kathy (July 23, 2009). "Herbstreit 'fire' puts focus on IRS dispute". Columbus Dispatch. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
  5. ^ "Buckeye Cruise For Cancer Rises $1.5 Mllion". February 25, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  6. ^ "Make-A-Wish Ultimate Sports Auction - March 8, 2012 at Sun Life Stadium - Featuring ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit". Archived from the original on April 28, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
  7. ^ a b "Kirk Herbstreit - ESPN Press Room". Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  8. ^ Hart, Jay (July 10, 2007). "ESPN has reached new low with "Who's Now?'". The Morning Call. Allentown, Pennsylvania. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  9. ^ Al-Khateeb, Zac (September 14, 2020). "Why are Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler announcing 'Monday Night Football'?".
  10. ^ "Showbiz Stocks". Hollywood Reporter. Vol. 428, no. 11. Prometheus Global: Cengage. March 30, 2022. p. 13. Gale Document Number A700265015
  11. ^ Travis, Clay (November 10, 2011). "Kirk Herbstreit: The Face of College Football". Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  12. ^ Cochran, Lee (August 30, 2009). "Word on the 'Streit". Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  13. ^ Springer, Scott (August 12, 2021). "Back in the Buckeye State: ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit living again in Ohio for youngest son's high school". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  14. ^ Schrotenboer, Brent (December 28, 2019). "Family feud at the Fiesta Bowl: ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit having 'surreal' week". USA TODAY.
  15. ^ Murphy, Michael (December 1, 2017). "Twin sons of Kirk Herbstreit among 10 sets of brothers for Montgomery Bell Academy football". The Tennessean. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  16. ^ "#86 Tye Herbstreit - Football - Clemson University Athletics". Clemson University Athletics. April 2, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  17. ^ Doering, Joshua. "Kirk Herbstreit says prayer, weekly Bible study help him be 'more balanced'". Sports Spectrum. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  18. ^ Reedy, Joe (December 28, 2023). "Football's top dog: Kirk Herbstreit's golden retriever Ben has become a fan favorite". AP News. Retrieved February 21, 2024.
  19. ^ ESPN wins eight Sports Emmy Awards to lead industry - ESPN Press
  20. ^ "Kirk Herbstreit, Lincoln Kennedy and Cliff Montgomery to be Inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Class of 2023". Tournament of Roses - Rose Bowl Game. December 27, 2023. Retrieved December 29, 2023.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kirk Herbstreit.
  • Kirk Herbstreit at IMDb
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