Marist College Honors Bob Costas with Lifetime Excellence Award
May 5, 2022 — Marist College’s Center for Sports Communication has honored legendary journalist Bob Costas with its Lifetime Excellence in Sports Communication Award. Long the face of NBC and HBO Sports and a continued presence in national sports media, Costas received the award in front of a room filled with long-time colleagues and friends, along with Marist staff, faculty, alumni and Sports Communication students last week at The Pierre Hotel in New York City. Established in 2015, the award raises funds to support the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.
“This has a distinct place among the various tips of the cap that come your way when you’re just around long enough and in the right place at the right time long enough and you get some of the benefit of that,” said Costas from the event stage. “It’s distinctive because the emphasis is journalism and journalism is not the only thing I’ve done but I’m happy that it’s among the things that I’ve done,” he said.
Costas joined Marist Center for Sports Communication Director Jane McManus for a discussion which was a wide-ranging talk on his career, featuring stories about memorable interviews throughout the years and his approach to them. ESPN Radio host and Marist adjunct professor Freddie Coleman served as master of ceremonies for the event.
Costas friends and colleagues, including former 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft, Christine Brennan of USA Today, former ESPN anchor Bob Ley, and producers Ross Greenburg and Bruce Cornblatt, all spoke and shared personal stories.
Jane McManus, Director of the Center for Sports Communication (left), hosts a discussion with Bob Costas (right). Photo by Zachary Gawron/Marist College.
Costas reflected on his storied career and spoke about maintaining credibility while still celebrating the sports he covered. “I wanted to be somebody who presented the glories of sport, but I never wanted to be anybody’s shill,” Costas said. “If we didn’t care about the games and didn’t appreciate and admire at least some aspects of those who excel at them, then why would we care about all of the issues that surround them?”
Costas is among the most acclaimed television sports journalists of all time, winning a record 29 Emmy awards. He is the only person ever to have won Emmys in news, sports, and entertainment and has played a prominent role in the coverage of nearly every major sport over the past four decades.
He helmed NBC’s Olympic TV coverage twelve times, hosted seven Super Bowls, and has contributed to seven World Series and ten NBA Finals. More recently, Costas has appeared on MLB Network and hosted his own sports talk show, Back on The Record, on HBO.
Dr. Kevin Weinman, President of Marist College, presents Bob Costas with the Lifetime Excellence in Sports Communication Award. Photo by Al Nowak/On Location for Marist College.
Marist President Kevin Weinman presented the award after speaking directly to the Marist students in attendance and praised Costas as a shining example of what journalists can accomplish. “He blends together a passion for sports and a passion for justice,” said President Weinman. “He’s a brilliant journalist, talented broadcaster and a world class storyteller. He’s trusted by millions of people to cover the world of sports and the world itself.”
Costas implored Marist students to believe in their own abilities and to not listen to naysayers. He also offered an optimistic view of the journalism industry. “There are many more opportunities now. The broadcast universe has expanded not just numerically but in so many different ways. There are so many different places to do the work that you aspire to do.”
Net proceeds from the event will be used to expand the endowment for the Center for Sports Communication at Marist. Previous recipients of the award were Bryant Gumbel and Hannah Storm in 2015 and 2017, respectively. This gala was first planned for 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.