Tom Mees

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For the cricketer, see Tom Mees (cricketer).
Tom Mees on the SportsCenter set.

Thomas E. Mees (October 13, 1949 in Springfield, Pennsylvania[1]–August 14, 1996 in Southington, Connecticut) was an American sportscaster best known for his play-by-play of professional and collegiate ice hockey and for being a prominent personality on ESPN during that network's early years.

Early life and career[edit]

He began his career as a student at the University of Delaware. He then took a job as sports director at WILM-AM in Wilmington, Delaware. Mees returned to Delaware in 1992 when he announced the Blue Hens' America East Championship for ESPN from the field house at Delaware.

After six years in Wilmington and one year in Tallahassee, Florida, Mees was hired by ESPN as one of their first on-air personalities for the network's launch on September 7, 1979. In 2005, he was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame.

ESPN[edit]

Mees was a lead anchor on SportsCenter from 1979 to 1987 when he took on play-by-play duties for NHL games on ESPN. ESPN later lost the NHL contract to SportsChannel America and Mees returned full-time to SportsCenter. When the NHL returned to ESPN in 1992-93, Mees worked NHL games during the season and hosted SportsCenter in the off-season. Mees was also the powerful guiding voice of NCAA Ice Hockey on ESPN, and was a forceful advocate to help the growth of the Frozen Four (NCAA Hockey's championship tournament) into its national status today.

Other sports Mees called for ESPN included college basketball, college football, and Major League Baseball. He also anchored the network's coverage of the United States Football League in the 1980s.

By the 15th anniversary of ESPN, Mees was one of three, along with Chris Berman and Bob Ley, original SportsCenter anchors still with the network.

Death[edit]

On August 14, 1996, Mees, who did not know how to swim, drowned in a neighbor's swimming pool.[2] At first, police said Mees had jumped into the pool to save his daughter, Gabrielle. They later retracted that account, saying that they did not know how Mees ended up in the pool and that Gabrielle had not been in it. He left behind Michele, his wife of almost ten years, and two daughters: Lauren, who was eight years old, and Gabrielle, who was four.[3]

Following Mees's untimely death, ESPN hired Dave Strader to take the vacant play-by-play spot on the National Hockey Night broadcasts.

References[edit]