Pac-12 Networks Sign Ronnie Lott, Rick Neuheisel, & Summer Sanders

May 9, 2012

The Pac-12 today took another step forward in its ongoing revitalization process, as the Conference announced the signing of Ronnie Lott, Rick Neuheisel, and Summer Sanders to be the on air personalities and initial faces of the Pac-12 Networks.

“This is an exciting day for the Pac-12 Networks as we bring on three of the greatest leaders and personalities in Pac-12 history as the initial members of our on air broadcast team,” said Lydia Murphy-Stephans, Executive VP and GM of the Pac-12 Networks.

In Lott, Neuheisel, and Sanders, the Conference kept things in-house, as all three are former Pac-12 student-athletes at USC, UCLA, and Stanford, respectively. During their collegiate careers the three combined to lead their teams to five Conference titles, three Rose Bowl crowns, and two national championships.

Sanders, who has enjoyed a successful broadcasting career for the last two decades, will have a multipurpose role as a host and expert analyst for a variety of shows and events, while Lott and Neuheisel will serve as football analysts.

The Pac-12 Networks will launch in August 2012, and will consist of one national and six regional networks that will provide 24/7 access to Pac-12 teams. The networks will televise approximately 350 live events nationally, including 35 football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 40 women’s basketball games, and hundreds of premier Pac-12 Olympic sports.

“When I first heard that the Pac-12 was planning to build seven networks to showcase all of the incredible student-athletes and programs throughout the Conference it was one of those WOW moments,” Lott said. “What is being created is truly remarkable and I’m excited to be part of it. If you are a fan or alum of the Pac-12 you have to have these networks.”

Lott played four years at USC (1977-80) and helped lead the Trojans to two Rose Bowl victories and the 1978 national championship. During his 14 years in the NFL, he developed the reputation as one of the league's most feared defensive players, leading the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, and previously worked as an NFL analyst with FOX Sports from 1996-98.

Sanders became the first swimmer in Stanford history to win back-to-back NCAA Swimmer of the Year honors (1991-92), and helped lead the Cardinal to the national championship in 1992. Sanders later won two gold medals in the 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter medley relay at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. After the Olympics, Sanders began a successful broadcasting career covering the Olympics, NBA, WNBA, and tennis.

"I am thrilled to be a part of the Pac-12 Networks,” Sanders said. “It's like coming home for me. Being a Stanford alum who was born and raised in Northern California, I truly believe there's no greater Conference in the country.”

Neuheisel was a walk-on quarterback at UCLA, who became a starter as a senior in 1983. After a slow start, he rallied the Bruins to six wins in their last seven games, including a big one over rival USC to clinch the Conference title and a Rose Bowl berth. His four touchdowns led UCLA to a 45-9 win over No. 4 Illinois and earned him Rose Bowl MVP honors. Neuheisel later served as the head coach at Colorado (1995-98), Washington (1999-2002), and UCLA (2008-11), posting an 87-59 record and going 4-3 in bowl games.

"I have been affiliated with the Pac-12 since I was six years old when my dad taught at Arizona State," Neuheisel said. "I never missed a Sun Devils game growing up. Then I got the chance to play at UCLA and went to law school at USC. I began a coaching career at UCLA that took me to Colorado then to Washington and back to UCLA. The launch of the Pac-12 Networks is very exciting and I am thrilled for this opportunity to help deliver unprecedented exposure to the Conference of Champions."

Getting three experienced, recognizable personalities to be the face of the Pac-12 Networks is another feather in the cap for Commissioner Larry Scott.

Since Scott has assumed leadership of the Conference, the Pac-12 has seen tremendous growth, including the addition of two new member schools, a football conference championship game, and a new competition schedule with the Big 10.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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