CHICAGO -- Former University of Michigan tight end Derrick Walker is among nine veteran broadcasters the Big Ten Network added to complete its roster of on-air talent for its inaugural season of college football broadcasts, BTN president Mark Silverman and executive producer Leon Schweirthe announced Tuesday (Aug. 7).
Walker, a four-time letterwinner (1986-89) and three-year starter for the Wolverines, was recruited by legendary coach Bo Schembechler for the 1986 team and finished his career as an All-Big Ten first-team selection in 1989. Voted by his teammates as a co-captain his senior year, Walker caught 33 passes for 446 yards and five touchdowns during his U-M career.
A sixth-round pick of the San Diego Chargers, Walker played nine seasons as a tight end in the NFL for the Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders. Walker is married to Rhonda Walker, a news anchor on Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV-TV.
Walker will team with veteran play-by-play announcer Scott Graham, who handles NFL football on FOX. Graham spent 13 years working Philadelphia Phillies broadcasts and
worked four years on NFL and NFL Europe games for FOX Sports. His college basketball experience includes play-by-play for Philadelphia's Big Five Games and the Atlantic 10 Conference.
The rest of the group includes the award-winning Roger Twibell, longtime ABC Sports journalist; ESPN college football analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Mike Tomczak; Mark Neely, whose resume includes Major League Baseball on ESPN; the versatile Jim Kelly, who has worked for CBS, ESPN and CNBC; former 11-year NFL veteran Richard Baldinger; Ron Thulin, who bring 27 years of broadcasting experience; and former Ohio State running back Butler By'not'e.
"We are tremendously pleased to add such a talented group of broadcasters to our game-day lineup," Silverman said. "I have no doubt that fans will enjoy their expertise and knowledge on Big Ten Network football Saturdays."
"This is a great blend of play-by-play announcers and analysts who bring terrific experience from both on and off the field," Schweir said. "Each one of these individuals will enhance the quality of the Big Ten Network's football coverage."
The announcers join the previously released studio team of Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith and the game-day broadcast teams of Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis, and Wayne Larrivee and Chris Martin.
The official launch of the Big Ten Network comes Aug. 30, two days before the kickoff of the 2007 Big Ten college football season. Michigan's season opener against Appalachian State on Sept. 1 is among the network's first-day games.
Big Ten Tonight, a nightly studio show hosted by Dave Revsine, will preview the upcoming season and closely examine all of the weekend's conference teams in action.
The network will televise more live events in HD than any other new network in television history. The network recently announced a commitment to gender equality by 2010, when all Big Ten Network-controlled television, Internet and mobile media will provide equal men's and women's athletic coverage.
Big Ten Network Release (8/7/07)
Media Contact: Bruce Madej (734) 763-4423