Behind the Mic: Rob Stone Tabbed as Fox Women’s World Cup Studio Host; Rick Neuheisel Leaves Pac-12 for CBS Sports

FOX Sports’ lead soccer studio host Rob Stone has been officially tabbed as the prime-time studio host for the network’s coverage of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada later this year. Stone anchors FOX Sports’ studio shows, including pregame, halftime and postgame coverage, and other FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 related programming throughout the month-long tournament from the network’s studio on picturesque Coal Harbor in Vancouver.  The former Division I soccer player, who joined FOX Sports from ESPN in January 2012, takes on the most high-profile assignment of his career to-date as the prime time studio host of this summer’s Women’s World Cup.  Stone has hosted FOX Sports’ coverage of the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and other top soccer leagues in Europe, in addition to hosting college football and college basketball studio programming. Stone is set to work with a team of FOX Sports soccer analysts to be announced at a later date…

…Former head coach Rick Neuheisel has joined CBS Sports as a college football studio analyst.  He will be an analyst on the CBS Television Network’s college football pre-game studio show, COLLEGE FOOTBALL TODAY, and will contribute to CBS Sports Network’s college football coverage, including as a regular member of the weekly roundtable show INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL. Neuheisel was a former head coach at Colorado (1995-98), Washington (1999-2002) and UCLA (2008-11), where he posted an 87-59 record.  He led Washington to a Rose Bowl title in 2001 and brought his teams to seven bowl games during his head coaching tenure.  Neuheisel attended college at UCLA (1980-84), where he played quarterback for the Bruins and led them to victory in the 1984 Rose Bowl, in which he was named MVP. Rick worked as an analyst for Pac-12 Networks since May 2012…

…Following an extended break from announcing to receive treatment for leukemia, NBA on TNT reporter Craig Sager will be back on the court for the March 5 game between the Bulls and the Thunder. Sager will also back covering the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament on Turner and CBS Sports. (Twitter)…

…ESPN anchor Keith Olbermann was suspended from his program Olbermann for rest of last week after a series of tweets directed at Penn State students. Olbermann, who was most recently critical of Penn State on his ESPN show in January after Joe Paterno’s vacated wins were restored, was told on Twitter by a user about the $13 million raised by Penn State students for pediatric cancer. He responded to the tweet with a response of “pitiful.” Olbermann returned to the air Monday and offered an apology. (Yahoo Sports)

…SNY has announced that Steve Gelbs will replace Kevin Burkhardt as its New York Mets field reporter. Burkhardt left for a full-time job at Fox after eight seasons as the Mets reporter. Gelbs filled in regularly for Burkhardt last season when he was on assignment for Fox. Gelbs, 28, worked for MSG Varsity for four years after graduating from Syracuse. He also worked at MSG Network — MSG 150 for the Knicks and Rangers filling in for Bill Pidto and Rangers pre- and postgame and intermissions on radio filling in for Don LaGreca. (Newsday) (New York Post)…

…With the first Premier Boxing Champions on NBC fight set for this weekend, NBC continues to fill out its roster of on-air talent, adding Laila Ali, B.J. Flores, Kenny Rice and Chris Mannix to PBC on NBC and NBCSN coverage. Three-time super middleweight champion Ali and former two-time U.S. amateur heavyweight champion Flores will serve as corner analysts for PBC on NBC telecasts. Mannix and Rice will report ringside, and Rice will conduct interviews. Rice will also serve as the blow-by-blow announcer on select NBCSN shows.

In addition, NBC has added veteran boxing referee Steve Smoger and boxing historian Steve Farhood to its slate of experts. Smoger, who began refereeing professional fights in 1982 and worked bouts featuring stars Roberto Duran, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, and Vinny Pazienza, will sit ringside with Albert and Leonard, offering them rules insight. An upcoming June 2015 inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Smoger will only be utilized in an on-air capacity if there is a rules controversy which needs discussion or clarification. Farhood, who has covered boxing since 1978 for The Ring and KO Magazine as well as for multiple television networks, joins the PBC on NBC team as a ringside editorial consultant…

…ESPN’s Dick Vitale will miss his second straight Duke-North Carolina game — the game for which he’s best known — this Saturday. ESPN announced Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas will once again be on the call for the rivalry clash without Vitale – the second time this season he has missed the mathcup following a Feb. 18 matchup in Durham. Previously, he had been assigned every ESPN regular season telecast between the two. (SportingNews)…

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