This Saturday, Feb. 14, ESPN’s College Basketball Gameday comes to town. The show, which airs live from the Kohl Center from 10-11 a.m. CT features anchor Reece Davis, former North Carolina standout Hubert Davis (no relation), former Notre Dame head coach Digger Phelps, the Division I all-time career wins leader among coaches, Bobby Knight, and former Duke standout Jay Bilas.
Bilas has worked his way into one of the most respected analysts in college basketball. He helped lead Duke to the Final Four as a senior in 1986. After playing professionally in Italy and Spain, Bilas returned to Duke as an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski. He was on the Blue Devils’ staff as they won back-to-back national titles in 1991 and 1992.He also earned his law degree from Duke in 1992.
Bilas has been with ESPN since 1995 (ESPN bio) and was nominated for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Studio Analyst last year. He also should have won award for his great call during this memorable game from the 2006-07 season:
Jay was kind enough to take part in our grueling “20 questions with …” (I guess that’s what we’re calling it). He’s the first person without blonde hair to do so.
1. What’s your hometown?
Rolling Hills, California, just about twenty miles south of downtown Los Angeles.
2. Who was the toughest player you went up against?
Len Bias of Maryland, Michael Jordan of North Carolina, and John Ebeling of Florida Southern.
3. What made you get out of coaching?
After my third season as an assistant at Duke, I got married. We decided that coaching was not the best profession for our family. My wife likes broadcasting better. I never lose.
4. Your favorite thing about college basketball?
The competition. When you see the players and coaches compete with the passion they show every single day, it doesn't get any better.
5. First job you ever had?
I did roofing work to bring older buildings up to code for California earthquake standards, which I did for my father. So, when the "big one" hits and the buildings I worked on are just a pile of bricks, my bad.
6. What’s in your iPod?
A lot of Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Al Green, U2, and Bob Marley.
7. Most memorable game you’ve covered:
The Illinois vs. Arizona game in the 2005 Elite Eight. I haven't seen a better game, and I haven't seen a team play with more heart than that Illinois team.
8. Another sportscaster / reporter that you admire:
There are so many, but if I had to name one, it would be Dick Enberg. There has not been a finer professional, nor a finer gentleman than Dick.
9. Your favorite vacation spot:
10. Someone you’d like to interview (sports or non-sports):
Any soldier that landed at Normandy, or any Mercury or Apollo astronaut.
11. An athlete you’d pay to watch:
12. A good book you’d recommend:
Life of Pi by Yann Martel. It is an adventure and allegory about a boy in a lifeboat.
13. Your favorite movie:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
14. Your most prized possession:
My wife, Wendy, and our two kids.
15. A quote or motto that you like:
"Anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone driving faster than you is a maniac." George Carlin. That pretty much sums up my world view.
16. Interests outside of work:
Golf, some charity work, and time with friends and family.
17. Something you’ve always wanted to do:
Beat my older brother straight up in a golf match.
18. Favorite food:
A burger from Tommy's in Los Angeles.
19. Favorite thing about the Swing Offense:
It's like Lombardi's Power Sweep. You know its coming, but you can't stop it.
20. Favorite Badgers of all time:
Boz Skaggs and (adopted Badger) Andy North. Both were BIG when I was in high school.
EA comes to town (Erin Andrews)
20 questions with Charissa (Thompson)