John Buccigross Meets With Penn State Students Over Zoom

Story posted March 24, 2020 in CommRadio, News by Jake Starr

Longtime ESPN reporter and avid college hockey fan John Buccigross met with Penn State students over Zoom on Tuesday night for an hour-long Q&A session.

The event was hosted by Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. John Affleck, the chair of the Curley Center, oversaw the video call, which had up to 80 spectators.

Buccigross, who is in his 23rd year with ESPN, gave insight to how the network is approaching changes in the sports world due to COVID-19, and talked about what he saw from this year’s college hockey season. This would have been Buccigross’s eighth season as the play-by-play voice of the Frozen Four, and he was disappointed to see the festivities in Detroit be canceled. Buccigross had a good feeling the Nittany Lions could have made a run.

“I was looking forward to getting to Detroit,” Buccigross said. “It would have been so cool to have Penn State in it.”

Another hot topic on the evening was how the sports world would respond and adjust following the suspension of active seasons. Buccigross compared it to the previous NHL lockout and how the league adjusted.

Buccigross also answered questions on how he prepped for broadcasts. He talked about how he focuses on the teams all year round and focused specifically on what he does leading up to the Frozen Four.

“The frozen four isn’t as hard because I have two weeks to prep,” Buccigross said. “I usually hope it’s a team I have seen before or have watched in person or on TV.”

Outside of hockey, Buccigross offered a lot of journalism advice, along with giving his background to the group. He talked about his path to ESPN and where he started following college.

He began working for free at a local station in Boston and turned that into a sports anchor job with another station outside of Cape Cod in April 1990. After another job up in New England, Buccigross took his first position with ESPN when he was 30-years old.

“I sent my tape and they called me two-months later for an interview,” Buccigross said. “I wrote and did a 15-minute SportsCenter and had lunch with the executives. To interview well is a really important skill apart from your talent and ability.”

Among the students who participated in the Q&A was sophomore broadcast journalism student Andre Magaro. Magaro’s biggest takeaway is the confidence, work ethic and persistence that helped Buccigross succeed in the industry.

“I thought it was an incredible experience,” Magaro said. “I’m very grateful for John making the time to speak with all of us and the Curley Center for all they do providing us with these opportunities.”

Magaro added how Buccigross “putting his name out there” helped take him to the next level in the industry and that it is no coincidence Buccigross is successful, based on the way he conducts himself.

“I’m glad I got to hear from such a kind-hearted and hard-working individual,” Magaro said.

Magaro’s opinion was shared by the other students who participated, as Buccigross took the time to answer all the questions that were asked. Each answer was thoughtful, insightful and had all participants walking away with a greater knowledge of the journalism industry.

Jake Starr is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email