Now working as an anchor for ESPN, Temple alum Kevin Negandhi has experienced the hectic life of a sportscaster.
Starting with local internships in Philadelphia, Negandhi propelled his hands-on experience as a student into an anchor job in Kirksville, Mo. From there, he went to Sarasota, Fla., where he eventually became a sports director at a local station. Finally, this August, Negandhi landed the ultimate sportscaster job at ESPN.
“My dream since I was 14 was to be on ESPN,” he said. “I’d love the chance to do Sportscenter. Getting that opportunity would be a major, major highlight of my career.”
Working at ESPN, Negandhi mostly handles anchoring duties on ESPNews, the 24-hour cable channel that acts more or less as a non-stop Sportscenter. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been covering major sporting events.
In the past month, Negandhi has been behind the desk for the deaths of Miami’s Bryan
Pata and legendary Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach. He also covered the firing of Miami coach Larry Coker, something he calls “the biggest story of my life.”
As Negandhi continues at ESPN, he looked back at his days on North Broad Street, and how they prepared him for the chaotic
world of broadcasting.
“Basically, all my success, it’s really the work you put in, but it all starts with the opportunity,” he said. “And Temple opened the door.”
While Negandhi began his college career at Syracuse University, the Phoenixville native decided that upstate New York was not the place for him, and quickly transferred back home to Temple after one semester.
At Temple, Negandhi worked at WRTI as a play-by-play announcer at women’s basketball games. He was also the college sports director for the radio station for a year, as well as being the sports editor of “The Temple News.”
“I’ve been pretty much rooted in Temple Athletics since I got there in the mid 90s,” Negandhi said. “I did a lot of radio. The Temple experience helped me.”
As Negandhi became more involved in the Temple community, he started receiving
opportunities to work at the plethora of broadcast mediums in Philadelphia.
From Phillies telecasts at the WB to Sportsradio WIP to WPVI 6-ABC, Negandhi worked hard to gain the vital experience needed to be successful in broadcasting.
“I never want to get out of school and sit in the middle of a conference room about to do a [job] interview and pose the question, ‘What if?,'” he said.
“I never wanted to face that question. So entering my sophomore year, my goal was to do an internship every semester.”
Following graduation in 1998, Negandhi moved on to the ABC affiliate in Kirksville where he worked weekend sports. There, he became just the second Indian-American sportscaster in American television history.
Upon his arrival there, Negandhi was asked, “What’s it like to be the only black man in town?” Despite this, Negandhi said he doesn’t get bothered by such comments.
Instead he takes it upon himself to educate others about Indian culture.
“I’m extremely proud about [being of Indian
decent],” he said.
“I’m humbled by it. It was very rewarding
to be, in my mind, somebody who’s setting
an example for other kids who are of Indian
decent, that hey, you could do something besides becoming a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer.”
As Negandhi quickly moved to Sarasota, he became the youngest sportscaster on air.
After taking two years off because of personal reasons, he returned to Sarasota to run the sports department at the ABC affiliate. But by 2006, the mecca of sports broadcasting, ESPN, came calling.
It didn’t take long for Negandhi to jump at the chance to join the worldwide leader in sports.
Todd Orodenker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.