Craig Graham Sager Sr. (June 29, 1951 – December 15, 2016) was an American sports reporter, covering, from 1981 until the year of his death, an array of sports for CNN and its sister stations, TBS and TNT.
Sager is best known for his having worked as a sideline reporter who paced the floors of the National Basketball Association, as he invariably sported a specimen from his vast collection of garishly eccentric jackets and suits. He was a 2016 inductee of the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. During the 2017 National Basketball Association All-Star game, it was announced that Sager was the 2017 recipient of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Curt Gowdy Media Award.
Sager in 2012
Craig Graham Sager
June 29, 1951
Batavia, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||December 15, 2016 (aged 65)|
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
|Alma mater||Northwestern University|
|Occupation||TV sports broadcaster, commentator and announcer|
|Employer||Turner Sports (TNT, TBS)|
|Height||1.94 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|Spouse(s)||Lisa Gabel (m. 1980; div. 2002)|
Stacy Strebel (m. 2001)
Sager was born June 29, 1951 in Batavia, Illinois. He attended Batavia High School, gaining recognition in 1966 by writing an essay entitled "How and Why I Should Show Respect to the American Flag" for a patriotism contest sponsored by the American Legion. Sager's essay was published in the Congressional Record. It drew editorial accolades from conservative newspapers around the country for his declaration that he was an "untypical teen" of the silent majority that was not part of any protest movement and "happy we were born in America and not in Havana, Moscow, or Peiping".
Growing up in Batavia, Sager was friends with his basketball teammates Ken Anderson and Dan Issel. Greg Issel, Dan's brother, was very close with Sager.  Anderson became a National Football League Quarterback with the Cincinnati Bengals and the 1981 NFL Most Valuable Player.  Issel became a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame basketball player with the Kentucky Colonels and Denver Nuggets.  Later, Issel said of his Batavia teammates: “What Batavia instilled in all three of us – myself, Kenny and Craig – was a solid work ethic. I hope the people of Batavia appreciate how much Batavia meant to Craig and all of us, because we appreciate what Batavia did for us.”"
Sager was a 1973 graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where he earned a bachelor's degree in Speech. He was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. After little success on the school's football and basketball teams, Sager found his calling by donning the garb of Willie the Wildcat, the school's mascot, for three years — a foreshadowing of his professional sports entertainment career.
Sager began his career as a reporter for WXLT (now WWSB-Channel 40) in Sarasota, Florida. He worked as a radio news director in 1974, making $95 a week for his efforts, a paltry sum which was supplemented by his access to sports events. Sager was in Atlanta and dodged security to be on the field on April 8, 1974, when slugger Hank Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th home run, brashly seeking to interview the superstar at home plate amidst mass fan pandemonium.
In the mid-1970s, Sager had a short stint as a weatherman at WLCY-TV (now WTSP-TV) in St. Petersburg where he was mentored by then Sports Director, Dick Crippen. He then went to WINK-TV in Ft. Myers as a sports reporter where he covered the Kansas City Royals in spring training at Terry Park.
In 1978, Sager joined KMBC-Channel 9 in Kansas City, Missouri, where he broadcast Kansas City Royals spring training games and Kansas City Chiefs preseason games during the 1970s. Sager would remain at the station until 1981. The young reporter was later remembered by Major League Baseball hall of famer George Brett from an encounter at spring training as a "tireless worker" who would set up and focus the camera before conducting his own interview, essentially becoming a "one-man crew".
Sager handled the first live remote report by CNN from the 1980 baseball playoffs and joined the network full-time in 1981. While at CNN, he co-anchored CNN Sports Tonight shows, winning a CableAce award for his efforts in 1985. Sager also served as the anchor of College Football Scoreboard on CNN's sports-oriented sister network, TBS, from 1982 to 1985.
Sager was posted wherever the network needed him, working before the cameras at Ted Turner's Goodwill Games from 1986 through 2001. He also covered the Pan American Games and the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He called Nordic skiing and curling for sister network TNT's coverage of the 1992 Winter Olympics. He also worked for telecasts of golf and tennis, and was extensively employed covering the National Football League on TNT's telecasts from 1990 to 1997.
A natural entertainer, Sager was famous for his outlandish choices in clothing — an immense array of sport coats and suits described as "loud," "colorful," and "lively". He rarely wore the same outfit twice. One reporter investigating Sager's accumulated wardrobe stored within the jocular interviewer's home tallied 137 jackets before giving up, without even counting the garments contained in other closets scattered throughout the house.
In addition to his work on telecasts of the NBA, Sager reported for TNT at the 1999 Tournament of the Americas Olympic Qualifying Basketball Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the 2000 USA Basketball Games, and the 2002 World Championships of Basketball. Sager also served as a sideline reporter for the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, both for Turner Sports and CBS with Marv Albert, Chris Webber, and Len Elmore.
In 1999, he was loaned to NBC Sports where he served as a field reporter for both NBC's coverage of the National League Championship Series and World Series. He was the men's and women's basketball reporter for NBC's Olympic coverage since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. He served as a reporter for NBC Sports' coverage of basketball at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
With his life nearing its end, in June 2016 Sager was loaned by Time Warner's Turner Sports to rival Disney's ESPN to work in his first NBA Finals telecast. Sager partnered with ESPN regular Doris Burke to work the sidelines of Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
On July 13, 2016, Sager was awarded the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2016 ESPY Awards show for battling cancer. In a moving acceptance speech, Sager, then terminally ill, said to both those gathered and to the national television audience:
Time is something that cannot be bought; it cannot be wagered with God, and it is not in endless supply. Time is simply how you live your life.
On December 13, 2016, Sager was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, a career honor which took place just two days before his death. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences posthumously awarded Sager with his first Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality, Sports Reporter at the 2017 ceremony.
It was announced at the 2017 NBA All-Star Game that Sager was the 2017 recipient of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Media Award. The award was handed out in September 2017.
Since 2017, a replica of Sager's sports coat that was worn while accepting the Jimmy V Perseverance Award is used as a prize for recipients of Sager Strong Award. It is presented to "an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace." Monty Williams and Dikembe Mutombo are the 2 winners from 2017-2018.
In April 2014, Sager was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and he subsequently missed the entire 2014 NBA Playoffs. His son Craig Jr. was deemed a match for bone marrow transplant, and Sager underwent the treatment, pushing his cancer into remission. On April 20, 2014, Craig Jr. did the sideline interview with San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich between the 3rd and 4th quarters of the 2014 NBA playoffs' 1st round against the Dallas Mavericks to air a special get-well message to Sager. The NBA on TNT crew did a special tribute to Sager as well, wearing suits similar to Sager's from the past. On the same day, during the between quarters interview segments, all coaches gave get-well messages to Sager.
In late March 2015, Sager announced his leukemia had returned. It was also announced that doctors had told him that he had three to six months to live without treatment. Sager ultimately endured the process for a third time through the gift of marrow from an anonymous donor.
Sager died on December 15, 2016, at the age of 65. He was memorialized during that evening's broadcast of a game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls on the Inside the NBA pregame show, with players of each team wearing tribute T-shirts during warmups designed to look like one of Sager's signature gaudy suits. Sager was lauded for his expertise and courage by his friendly nemesis, head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, in a statement before the Spurs' December 15 game. Popovich told the assembled media:
To talk about [Sager] being a professional or good at what he did is a tremendous understatement. ...[B]ut he was a way better person than he was a worker, even though he was amazing in that regard. He loved people, he enjoyed pregame, during games, postgame—he loved all the people around it, and everybody felt that. ... What he's endured, and the fight that he's put up, the courage that he's displayed during this situation is beyond my comprehension. And if any of us can display half the courage he has to stay on this planet, to live every [day] as if it's his last, we'd be well off.
On December 27, 2016, Northwestern University, Sager's alma mater, announced its football team would wear stickers on their helmets in honor of Sager in the Pinstripe Bowl game against Pittsburgh.
On July 13, 2017, NBA Hall of Famer Dan Issel served as speaker at an event at Batavia High School's gymnasium to honor Sager. Sager and Issel were friends and basketball teammates at Batavia High School, when Sager was a freshman and Issel a senior. “To see him have the success he had on the national level was so gratifying to all of us,” said Issel.
One son from his first marriage, Craig Jr., was a walk-on wide receiver at the University of Georgia. Craig Jr. also filled in for his father as a sideline reporter during his absence in 2014. Kacy Sager is also employed by Turner Sports.
The day after Craig Jr. donated bone marrow to Sager for his leukemia treatment, Craig Sr. excluded his son and daughters from his will.
The 1993 Outback Gator Bowl, part of the 1993 bowl game season, took place on December 31, 1993, at the Gator Bowl Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The competing teams were the Alabama Crimson Tide, representing the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and the North Carolina Tar Heels, representing the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Alabama won the game 24–10.2008 Summer Olympics on NBC
NBC Sports coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics (the broadcasts being officially titled, as were the games themselves, The Games of the XXIX Olympiad) was broadcast from August 6 to August 24, 2008 (including selecting football matches prior to the opening ceremonies) on the various television networks of NBC Universal in the United States. Coverage was broadcast on NBC, Telemundo, USA Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Oxygen, their associated HDTV simulcast channels where applicable, and Universal HD. NBC also set up two dedicated cable channels, the NBC Olympic Soccer Channel and the NBC Olympic Basketball Channel, for the express purpose of providing additional coverage of those two sports.Casey Stern
Casey Stern (born October 17, 1978, in Massapequa, New York) is an American television personality and radio host who currently works for Turner Sports and Sirius XM Radio.College Football on TBS
College Football on TBS was the presentation of the Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) cable channel's regular season college football television package.Dan Issel
Daniel Paul Issel (born October 25, 1948) is an American retired Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame professional basketball player and coach. An outstanding collegian at the University of Kentucky, he was twice named an All-American en route to a still school record 25.7 points per game. The American Basketball Association Rookie of the Year in 1971, he was a six-time ABA All-Star and one-time NBA All-Star.
A prolific scorer, Issel remains the all-time leading scorer at the University of Kentucky and second all-time for the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the American Basketball Association itself. Upon his retirement from the NBA in 1985, only Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Julius Erving had scored more professional points.Jimmy V Award
The Jimmy V Award (sometimes called the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance) is awarded as part of the ESPY Awards to "a deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination". The award is named in honor of North Carolina State University men's basketball coach Jim Valvano, who gave an acceptance speech after receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 1993 ESPY Awards ceremony which "brought a howling, teary-eyed Madison Square Garden to its feet". Valvano died from adenocarcinoma two months after receiving the award. The Jimmy V Award trophy, designed by sculptor Lawrence Nowlan, is presented at the annual awards ceremony in Los Angeles by The V Foundation, a charitable organization founded by ESPN and Valvano in 1993, involved in raising money to fund cancer research grants across the United States.The inaugural winner of the Jimmy V Award in 2007 was basketball coach Kay Yow, who successfully led the North Carolina State University women's team to the ACC Tournament championship game, and the Sweet 16 (regional semi-finals) of the NCAA Division I Tournament after returning from sessions of breast cancer chemotherapy. Although the award has usually been given to coaches or athletes, it has been presented to two reporters: Stuart Scott (2014) and Craig Sager (2016). The award has been shared on two occasions: Team Hoyt (2013), consisting of the father and son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt, and the father and daughter combination of Devon Still and Leah Still (2015). The 2018 recipient of the Jimmy V Award was Jim Kelly, a ten-year quarterback for the Buffalo Bills and four time Super Bowl player who has survived three occurrences of squamous-cell oral cancer within five years.Ken Anderson (quarterback)
Kenneth Allan Anderson (born February 15, 1949) is a former American football quarterback who spent his entire professional career playing for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL) and later returned as a position coach.
After playing college football for Augustana College, Anderson was selected in the 3rd round of the 1971 NFL Draft by the Cinicinnati Bengals. Over the course of his 16 season NFL career, Anderson led the league in passer rating four times, completion percentage three times and passing yards twice. In 1981, he was awarded AP NFL Most Valuable Player, a season in which he led the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance. In 1982, Anderson set an NFL record for completion percentage of 70.6%—a record he held for nearly 30 years until it was broken by Drew Brees in 2009.As of the end of the 2018 NFL season, Anderson owns many of the Cinicinnati Begnals franchise passing records, including completions, attempts, yards, touchdowns and interceptions.After his professional playing career, Anderson served as a radio broadcaster for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1987—1993. From 1993—2002 he served as the Bengals' quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Anderson would later become the quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2003—2006) and Pittsburgh Steelers (2007—2009), before retiring from football in 2010.
Anderson has been a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame twice, and is often regarded as one of the best players not in the Hall of Fame.List of American League Division Series broadcasters
The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers who have covered the American League Division Series throughout the years. It does include any announcers who may have appeared on local radio broadcasts produced by the participating teams.List of Major League Baseball Wild Card Game broadcasters
The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers who have covered the Major League Baseball Wild Card Games throughout the years. It does not include any announcers who may have appeared on local radio broadcasts produced by the participating teams.List of NBA All-Star Game broadcasters
The following is a list of American television and radio networks and announcers that have nationally broadcast the NBA All-Star Games throughout the years.List of National League Championship Series broadcasters
The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers that have broadcast National League Championship Series games over the years. It does not include any announcers who may have appeared on local broadcasts produced by the participating teams.Outstanding Sports Personality, Sports Reporter
The Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality, Sports Reporter was first awarded in 2011. It is awarded to whom the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences judges to be the best sports reporter in a calendar year.Red Rowdies
The Red Rowdies are a group of fans of the Houston Rockets basketball team.
Before the start of the 2006-07 season, Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy held auditions to find what he deemed the most rabid fans of the team. The Rowdies get their own section at Toyota Center during home games. Van Gundy even offered to pay the fans' season tickets. The coach was responding, in part, to the team's 15-26 home record in the 2005-06 season; the Rockets were 28-13 at home in 2006-07.
Each participant in the original tryout, held in late August 2006, was asked to show off why he or she is the greatest Rockets fan. Entertainment ranged from speeches, scream shows, and re-enactments of the greatest moments in Rockets history to singing, running, and Indian, Hoola, and break dancing. Judges consisted of members of the Rockets organization and household radio names, such as Matt Jackson of Sportsradio 610.
In all, 32 Rowdies were selected from the first tryout. Two of them, Corry Worrell and Brandon Pittman, were guests on ESPN2's Cold Pizza on December 5, 2006.
The Rowdies made so much noise in the preseason that Rockets superstar Tracy McGrady decided to purchase twenty more tickets. Tryouts for the second audition were held at Dave and Busters during the regular season opener against the Utah Jazz. A remarkable number of approximately 200 people showed up for the tryout, much less than the estimated 70 who showed up for the first tryout.
Rowdies were obligated to attend approximately 40 out of the 48 home games. Brandon Pittman, who appeared on ESPN's "Cold Pizza", was honored for attending every single home game.
During Game 1 of the First Round of the Western Conference playoffs, TNT Sports reporter Craig Sager joined the Rowdies in watching the Rockets take on the Utah Jazz. Throughout the season, many reporters from ESPN, TNT, and Fox, as well as several other newspaper journalists, visited the Rowdy Section 114 on the lower bowl of the Toyota Center.
The Rockets gave Van Gundy permission to start the Red Rowdies and is sanctioning the program. There is mention of the group on the official web site.
Tryouts for the second class of Rowdies were held on September 22, 2007. Rockets guard Luther Head served as one of the judges. Approximately 60 people showed up for the tryout, and a total of 40 tickets were handed away. With the departure of former head coach Jeff Van Gundy, who sponsored the first installment, Adidas picked up the sponsorship of the Rowdies for year number two. The Rockets sponsored a road-trip to San Antonio for all Rowdies on November 16, 2007, providing tickets and charter bus.
The original name of the Red Rowdies was supposed to be "Van Rowdies", named after head coach Van Gundy, but because of Van Gundy's contractual situation, and because McGrady later bought tickets, Red Rowdies it was.Sager
Sager is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Bobby Sager, entrepreneur turned philanthropist, and inspiration for The Philanthropist television series
Carole Bayer Sager (born 1947), American lyricist, songwriter, and singer
Craig Sager (1951–2016), American broadcaster
David Sager (died 1986), victim of the Mindbender tragedy
Dirk Sager (1940–2014), German journalist
Gareth Sager (born 1960), British musician
Lawrence G. Sager (born 1941), American university dean
Pony Sager (1848–1928), American baseball player
Rabeh Sager (born 1964), Arabic singer
Ruth Sager, (1918–1997), American geneticist
Sidney Sager (1917–2002), British composer and musician
Sager orphans, seven orphans on a trek to Oregon in 1844Sager Strong Award
The Sager Strong Award is an annual award given by the National Basketball Association. It is presented to "an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion, and grace." The award was created in 2017 to honor of the longtime NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager (1951-2016), and the recipient receives a replica of the colorful sports coat that Sager wore when accepting the 2016 Jimmy V Award.