Longtime ESPN Radio host Mike Golic officially left the company at the end of 2020. The Hall of Fame radio host was taken off the airwaves earlier in the year, when Golic & Wingo was replaced with a new morning show. Golic spent the final months of his ESPN contract working as a college football analyst.
Golic has spoken a bit about his time at ESPN and his departure from the network, as it was mostly fully of good experiences.
“There have been many changes since it became my work home in Oct. of 1998. Some good, some not so good. I’ve made many friends through the years and have had many great experiences, but what seemed most fitting to me was the last person I saw when I left, it was my son Mike, and while he and Chiney are stars on the rise, I can honestly say my most enjoyable years were sharing a mic with him and sharing my family with all of You!!!” he wrote at the end of his tenure.
This week, Golic opened up a little more about his ESPN departure in an exclusive interview with The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch.
Deitsch asked Golic why he believes he is no longer at ESPN. This was his response, as transcribed by Awful Announcing:
“Listen, this has been the easiest thing for me to equate. And I equated a lot of things to the sports world which certainly worked, because I was in the sports industry. I got cut from the Houston Oilers and Miami Dolphins, and the reason was they didn’t want me anymore. It’s that simple. They didn’t feel I had worth to their team, so they cut me. I thought they were wrong in both instances, but it doesn’t matter what I think. When they call you into the GM and Head Coach offices, they are going to release you. There’s no sense in saying ‘I could do this or I could do that.’ They made their decision. With ESPN it was the same thing. When Mike and Mike ended, they still felt there was value to having me there. That’s why the new morning show with Me and Trey and my son got going, but after that deal and contract was up, they just felt there wasn’t any worth.”
“And, not even from a monetary point, Richard, because they didn’t even talk about taking less money. We knew everybody was taking pay cuts. We didn’t even talk about that. Again, I was the one on July 31st when the show ended, they were just gonna let me sit there for 6 months and collect a paycheck and I said “No, let me go back and call college games. I love doing college games.” And they said “Well hell, I guess he wasn’t gonna work and was gonna get paid anyways.” So I did that. And we’ve gone back to them since. There were probably 3 or 4 different entities we were talking about college and ESPN was one of them. And their last conversation with my agent was “No, don’t want it.” Not even a talk of we can’t pay much. It was just nothing. Like those teams cut me, they felt I had no more worth to them. And I’m sure ESPN felt the same way, I had no more worth to them. Shit, is it a blow to the ego? Sure. To anybody it would be. But when you are there for as long as you are, and all of a sudden it’s not even discussed to keep you there. Yeah, that’s a blow to the ego. But that’s life. I can’t sit here and cry about it. You move on. It was a nice break and other people want me to do some things and I’ll eventually go to that. But that’s why it ended. That’s an easy question to answer.”
It’s clear that the end didn’t go as planned for Golic at ESPN. There’s probably still a bit of animosity there, which is completely understandable from Golic’s position. ESPN Radio, meanwhile, has not been the same since his departure.
Golic still has significant plans for his sports media future, too.
He told The Athletic that he would like to continue working in the college football world and also is looking into podcasting. It will be interesting to see where he ends up.
You can listen to his full interview with Deitsch here.