Al Michaels

From Academic Kids

Alan Richard Michaels (born November 12, 1944 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American television sportscaster. Since 1977, he has been employed by ABC Sports and has been one of the most prominent and respected members of his profession.

Michaels attended Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, California, where he was a football and baseball player. He later attended Arizona State University, where he majored in radio and television and minored in journalism. He began his broadcasting career in Hawaii in 1968, calling the games of the Hawaii Islanders baseball team in the Pacific Coast League. He also called play-by-play for the University of Hawaii's football and basketball teams, and was named Hawaii's "Sportscaster of the Year" in 1969.

In 1971, Michaels moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he became the lead announcer for the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball. He covered the World Series in 1972 for NBC Sports. In 1974 he moved on to a similar position with the San Francisco Giants, and also covered basketball for UCLA before signing with ABC in 1977. Since then, he has covered a wide variety of sports for the network, including Major League Baseball, college football, ice hockey, track and field events, figure skating, and many events of the Olympic Games.

His current and longest-running assignment is that of the lead play-by-play announcer on ABC's Monday Night Football telecasts, which he has held since 1986. The trio of him, Dan Dierdorf, and Frank Gifford lasted until the 1997 season, when Gifford was replaced amid an extra-marital affair. Boomer Esiason replaced Gifford in 1998, and Dierdorf was dropped in 1999. Esiason's relationship with Michaels was questioned leading to his firing. Unexpectedly, comedian Dennis Miller joined the cast in 2000 along with Dan Fouts. The move was a bust, and in 2002, John Madden joined him in a two man booth, which is arguably one of the most successful of all time. Since 2003, he has also been the lead announcer for ABC's telecasts of the National Basketball Association. He teamed with Doc Rivers in 2003, and is currently in the booth with Hubie Brown.

Michaels has won numerous awards during his career, including the Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality (Play-by-Play Host) four times, the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association three times (he was also inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1998), and "Sportscaster of the Year" once each from the American Sportscasters Association and the Washington Journalism Review. In October of 2004, Michaels was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Two of Michaels's more famous broadcasts were of the 1980 Winter Olympics ice hockey medal round match between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the attempted third game of the 1989 World Series.

In 1980, an unheralded group of amateur ice hockey players from the United States won the Gold Medal at the Olympic Winter Games. The medal round match on February 22—which, contrary to popular belief, did not assure the team of the gold medal—was of particular interest, as it was played against a heavily favored squad from the Soviet Union, and was in front of a partisan American crowd in Lake Placid, New York whipped into a patriotic fervor by the Cold War. Michaels's memorable broadcast of this game, including his interjection—"Do you believe in miracles? YES!"—as time expired on the 4-3 U.S. victory, earned the game the media nickname of "The Miracle on Ice".

On October 17, 1989, Michaels was in San Francisco, California, preparing to cover the third game of the 1989 World Series between the home team, the Giants, and the visiting Oakland Athletics. While his broadcast partner, Tim McCarver, was assessing the Giants' chances for victory in the game, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck. McCarver fell into a stunned silence, but Michaels astutely said into the microphone, "I'll tell you what, we're having an earth--!" just as it went dead, providing the only concurrent broadcast account of what had happened. Audio was restored minutes later (where Michaels started off by trying to make light of the chaotic situation by quipping that it was "The greatest open in the history of television -- bar none!"), and Michaels gave an eyewitness account of the aftermath at Candlestick Park, the Giants' stadium, for which he later won an Emmy Award for news broadcasting, becoming only the second sportscaster ever to win the award.

Michaels currently resides in Los Angeles, California.


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