Andy Katz, a former Fresno Bee sportswriter and college basketball columnist, announced Thursday he is leaving ESPN.
The cable sports network made a second round of layoffs Thursday after reportedly letting go of 100 anchors, reporters and analysts Wednesday.
The cutbacks are the result of massive changes in media, ESPN President John Skipper wrote in a note to employees Wednesday.
Industry observers have pointed out that ESPN costs are expected to rise 11% this year – mainly due to rights fees paid for professional and college sports. Meanwhile it has lost 10 million subscribers since 2013, as more and more households “cut the cord” from cable.
Reporter Britt McHenry also will leave ESPN following the conclusion of the National Football League draft Saturday. She is best known for being suspended by ESPN in 2015 after she engaged in an angry tirade against a parking lot attendant. Footage of the exchange went viral on social media.
Katz joined The Bee in 1995 and covered the Fresno State men’s basketball team, which was then coached by Jerry Tarkanian. In 1999, Katz added the Fresno State football beat to his assignments.
He was hired by ESPN to cover college basketball on all of its platforms – digital, radio and television – and earned a reputation as the network’s “Swiss Army knife” because of his versatility.
His most high-profile duties included being a substitute host for “Outside the Lines,” the network’s investigative show, and hosting the show in which President Barack Obama annually filled out his NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournament brackets.
After Donald Trump became president, however, Trump declined ESPN’s invitation to continue the tradition.
Former Fresno State standout and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer was among the cuts Wednesday.