“If I Had It My Way, I Would Never Leave Fox”| Gus Johnson Sidestepping NFL For 2022 Season To Attend Harvard

(Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)

Longtime Fox Sports play-by-play man Gus Johnson, the legendary urban voice of corporate sportscasting, has made a name for himself with his unbelievable calls on Saturdays during Big Ten football games.

Before that the Detroit native was the lead play-by-play analyst on CBS for college basketball games. Just go listen to the most memorable March Madness moments over the past decade. Johnson’s vocal cords are all over them. 

In all, the Howard University alum has been in the game for more than three decades, and let’s just say he hasn’t slowed one bit. 

Johnson, who recently picked up an NBA gig with TNT during the playoffs, is one of the best announcers in the game. That comes on the heels of Johnson being overlooked as a candidate to replace Troy Aikman in Fox’s lead booth after the former Dallas Cowboys QB took a major bag from ESPN. 

Change Of Direction: Best Of Both Worlds

Aikman and Joe Buck were the lead team for NFL football on Fox. The station chose Kevin Burkhardt and former NFL tight end Greg Olsen to replace the longtime duo. But it looks as if Gus will be taking his talents to Harvard University — as a student — but still working on Saturday calls for college football and basketball.

In a recent interview, Johnson mentioned to Richard Deitsch that he’d be studying at Harvard, in an Advanced Leadership Program.

“Eric Shanks (CEO/executive producer Fox Sports) is a man that’s about growth,” Johnson explained. “It’s because of him I got this opportunity at Turner. I asked him if I could have permission to do it, and he said yes because he thought it would be good for Fox, and he knew it would be good for me.
“That’s one reason that, if I had it my way, I would never leave Fox for the rest of my career.”

Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker played a role in Johnson getting into the program after Johnson let it be known he may want to teach at the collegiate level.

 

Johnson And Aqib Not Chosen For Top Announcing Spot

With Johnson and former NFL player Aqib Talib not getting the top announcing gig, it was obvious that Fox’s lead team would have no diversity or minority representation. While Talib still needs to refine his game a bit, the larger concern within the Black sports community was for Johnson. Where would he share his golden voice? 

Johnson will now strictly focus on calling his Saturday assignments, which feature Big Ten and Pac-12 matchups. Fox needs his quick wit and all-around spunk and passion for the game. He makes you want to tune in. With a heavy Ivy League course load that will require his attention during the week, having the Saturday calls seems to be just enough for Gus.

“My classes are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays,” Johnson said. “So, I’m probably going to need to call the college games on Saturday, and it’s a good thing they’re at noon, so I can call the college games on Saturday … and then get a flight, and get back. … At my age, the travel and prep work isn’t hard, but it’s a lot of work, so I’m probably going to have to take a timeout on the NFL this year.”

While many believed Gus should’ve been promoted to the top NFL gig with Fox, he seems content with what he’s currently doing.

Other Broadcasters Take Exception To The Lack Of Diversity

FS1s Rob Parker talked about the lack of diversity as it pertains to the top announcing teams at networks.

“I got a problem with why there hasn’t been, to this point, a Black analyst on a major primetime broadcast.”

The savvy veteran Parker did mention Black broadcasters like James Brown and Michael Strahan getting gigs on pregame shows. But, in his opinion, that isn’t good enough.

“The big paying jobs and the biggest ones have so far not had that guy in there.”

Being flexible and versatile is key for any person of color trying to navigate a corporate route to success in America. Failing to secure the NFL gig has opened Johnson’s world to another direction. One that is focused on developing as a leader and sharing his decades of knowledge and trendsetting with generations of aspiring journalists, broadcasters and sports content creators.