Ball State Sports Link’s incoming class was surprised recently during a virtual admitted students day by ESPN’s John Anderson.
Due to the global pandemic, Sports Link instructors welcomed one of the program’s largest incoming classes in history with what has become a new normal — a virtual video meeting.
As the new cohort introduced themselves around the room, Anderson was waiting for his turn, too.
“I appreciate the relationship I have cultivated over the years with Sports Link,” Anderson said to the students. “My empathy goes out to all you for how your high school senior years have ended. Things will be better on the other side and you’ll have a terrific story some day. It doesn’t feel that way now, but it will one day.”
Throughout the session, Anderson shared the importance of building relationships and the power of true storytelling.
He also encouraged students to write more and not forget the power of the spoken word.
“Good writing is the basis of everything that you will do, and do well, in telling stories,” Anderson said. “It’s paramount. The best way to make people want to watch is to make stories, to make your audience want to like those people.”
Before leaving the meeting, Anderson left the students with advice for starting Ball State in August.
“Watch and learn,” Anderson said. “Don’t be intimidated when you get there and everything seems to be going 120 miles per hour and you feel stuck in a school speed zone. Say yes to everything and respect the people who came before you. Remember to share knowledge, be kind and be helpful.”
Anderson is an anchor on the Emmy-award winning daily studio show SportsCenter,ESPN’s flagship sports news program. Anderson is most often seen on the 11 p.m. ET edition of the program, both in the studio and from locations at major sporting events.
Anderson joined ESPN in June 1999 as an ESPNEWS anchor and came to ESPN from KPHO-TV in Phoenix, Ariz. where he was a weekend sports anchor from 1996 to 1999.
Prior to KPHO, Anderson was a sports reporter and weekend sports anchor at KOTV in Tulsa, Okla. (1990 to 1996), and a sports photographer and reporter at Tulsa’s KTUL-TV from 1988 to 1990. Anderson began his broadcasting career at KOMU-TV in Columbia, Mo.
On November 3, 2013, Anderson made his debut as co-host of ESPN’s presentation of the 2013 ING New York City Marathon. He paired with fellow SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm as hosts of the five-hour race telecast aired nationally on ESPN2 and in New York City on ABC7.
Previously, Anderson was co-host of Wipeout on ABC, an extreme obstacle-course series on the network. In 2015, Anderson supplied the voice of a futuristic alien sportscaster in an episode of the Disney animated series Penn Zero: Part Time Hero.
Anderson was graduated from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with a bachelor’s degree in 1987. He was a four-year member of the men’s track team, competing in high jump, and captained the squad his senior season. In 2007 he was honored with the Mizzou Faculty-Alumni Award for his contributions to the University, including an ESPN/Missouri internship for one journalism student that he began in 2003.
Anderson, a native of Green Bay, Wis., won the Outstanding Sports Feature Reporting Award, presented by the Oklahoma Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, in 1994 and 1995; in 1997, he received the Associated Press Television Award in Arizona for outstanding performance in broadcast journalism.
In 2003, he co-wrote a book with golfer Chi Chi Rodriquez, Chi Chi’s Golf Games You Gotta Play, which teaches players how to play better golf and have fun while playing. In the fall of 2009, Anderson and his wife started the Anderson Family Charitable Foundation to help supply underprivileged youth with backpacks, schools supplies and food.