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Lesley Visser (born September 11, 1953 in Quincy, Massachusettsmarker) is an Americanmarker sportscaster, radio personality, and sportswriter. Visser is the first female NFL analyst on TV, and the only sportscaster in history, male or female, who has worked on Final Four, NBA Finals, World Series, Triple Crown, Monday Night Football, the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World Figure Skating Championships and the U.S.marker Openmarker network broadcasts. Visser, who was voted the No. 1 Female Sportscaster of all-time, recently became the first female to be an analyst for an NFL game on TV and is currently a reporter for CBS Sports and News, writes for CBSSports.com and is also part of WFTL 640 Fox Sports' morning drive in South Florida.

Biography

Lesley Visser was the first woman to be recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker as the 2006 recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award which recognizes long-time exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football. Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman said about Visser in his 2006 induction speech, "She brought respect and professionalism to the field of journalism for her work in print and broadcasting. It makes me proud to be in her company today."

A pioneer among woman sports journalists, Visser re-joined CBS Sports in August 2000 after a six-year hiatus after being relieved of her duties as the sideline reporter for Monday Night Football among other assignments she had at ESPN and ABC Sports. She serves as correspondent for the network's NFL programming, as well as for Tennis, college basketball, and horse racing programming.

Early life and career

Born on September 11, 1953, in Quincy, Massachusetts , to a school teacher and engineer, Visser loved sports from an early age. On Halloween, when other little girls would dress up as Mary Poppins, she would go as former Boston Celtics guard Sam Jones. From the age of 10 she wanted to be a sportswriter, but there was one problem -- the job didn’t exist for women. Her family didn't discourage her. “My parents didn’t say girls can’t do that, and my mother told me, ‘Sometimes you have to cross when it says “don’t walk.”’” Visser was educated at Boston Collegemarker, majoring in English.

Boston Globe

In 1974, she won a prestigious Carnegie Foundation grant which entitled her to work as a sportswriter at the Boston Globe. In 14 years at the Globe, she covered college basketball, the NBA, the MLB, tennis, college football, golf and horse racing. In 1976, she was assigned to cover the New England Patriots, becoming the first ever female NFL beat writer. In 2009, Sports Illustrated named the Boston Globe sports sections (1975-1980) the best sports section of all time.

Begins television career at CBS Sports

In 1983, she did a few features for CBS. In 1984 Visser joined CBS Sports part-time and went full-time in 1987. Her assignments included the NBA including the NBA Finals, college basketball including the Final Four, MLB including the World Series, College World Series college football, horse racing, Tennis including the U.S.marker Openmarker of Tennis (1984–1993) and the Olympics.

In 1989 she covered the fall of the Berlin Wallmarker, focusing on how sports would change in East Germany. In 1990 she became a regular on The NFL Today with Greg Gumbel, Terry Bradshaw and Pat O'Brien. Also in 1990, Visser became the first woman to cover the World Series. In 1992, she became the first and only woman to handle the Super Bowl Trophy presentation.

ABC Sports and ESPN

After CBS lost television rights to NFL games in 1993, Visser went to ABC Sports and ESPN. In 1995 she became the first woman ever to report from the sidelines during a Super Bowl when she covered Super Bowl XXIX for ABC. In 1998, she became the first woman ever assigned to Monday Night Football. She also covered Super Bowl XXXIV for ABC in 2000.

While at ABC Sports, Visser served as a reporter for college football bowl games and the NFL playoffs games during Wild Card Saturday. She also contributed to horse racing including the Triple Crown, ABC's Wide World of Sports, Major League Baseball, including the 1995 World Series, figure skating, Special Olympics, skiing, the Pro Bowl, and an ABC series A Passion to Play." She co-hosted the network's coverage of the "Millennium Tournament of Roses Parade."

For ESPN, Visser covered the Super Bowl, college basketball, figure skating, and horse racing including the Triple Crown . She also contributed to SportsCenter, NFL GameDay, and Monday Night Countdown.

Return to CBS Sports

On August 28, 2000, Visser returned to CBS, where she continues to work today as a contributor to The NFL Today and college basketball. In 2004, she became the first woman sportscaster to carry the Olympic Torch when she was honored in 2004 by the International Olympic Committee as a "pioneer and standard-bearer."

During the 2001 NFL season Visser became the first female color analyst on an NFL broadcast booth. She joined play-by-play announcer Howard David and analyst Boomer Esiason in the booth for Westwood One/CBS Radio. Visser also joined HBO's highly acclaimed "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel."

Visser served as the lead reporter for the Network's coverage of the NFL on CBS, teaming with CBS Sports' No. 1 announce team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. In 2006, she returned to The NFL Today as a reporter.

Visser was a pre-game reporter for The Super Bowl Today, where she covered the Super Bowl XXXV in February 2001, Super Bowl XXXVIII in February 2004, and the Super Bowl XLI in February 2007 pre-game broadcasts. Visser was loaned to NBC Sports twice to cover the Olympics as she covered the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens when she served as the Equestrian reporter. She also covered the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino as a reporter for Short Track Speed Skating.

In September 2007, she returned back to roots as she now writes a column for CBSSports.com.

Personal life

Visser is married to sportscaster Dick Stockton, who broadcasts football and baseball for FOX and baseball for Turner Sports. They live in Boca Ratonmarker, Floridamarker, and Nantucket, Massachusetts. Visser and Stockton met at the sixth game of the 1975 World Series, where Stockton called Carlton Fisk's iconic home run for NBC and Visser was covering for the Boston Globe.

In June 1993, Visser suffered a jogging accident in New Yorkmarker's Central Parkmarker in which she broke her hip and skidded face-first across the pavement. She required surgery on her face and hip and in 2006 she required an artificial hip replacement.

Achievements

Events

Visser has covered a number of events:

Honors

Visser was honored by the American Women in Radio and Television in June 2006 as the first woman sportscaster recipient of a Gracie Allen Award which celebrates programming created for women, by women and about women, as well as individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the industry. In 2007, she became the first woman sportscaster to host the Gracie Awards. Visser also, in 2007, received the Emily Couric Leadership Award—previously given to Sandra Day O'Connor, Caroline Kennedy and Donna Brazile—and in 2007, she was honored at the 22nd Annual Sports Legend Dinner, along with Magic Johnson, Gary Player and John Elway to benefit the Buoniconti fund to cure paralysis. In 2005 she won the Pop Warner female achievement award and was inducted into the New England Sports Museum Hall of Fame, along with Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy and the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey team.

Visser has been honored with the Compass Award for "changing the paradigm of her business" and was one of the 100 luminaries commemorating the 75th anniversary of the CBS Television Network in 2003. She was named "WISE Woman of the Year" in 2002 and voted the "Outstanding Women's Sportswriter in America" in 1983 and won the "Women's Sports Foundation Award for Journalism" in 1992. In 1999 she won the first AWSM Pioneer Award. Visser earned her bachelor's degree in English from Boston Collegemarker and received an honorary doctorate of Journalism from her alma mater in May 2007.

Visser became the first woman sportscaster to carry the Olympic Torch when she was honored in 2004 by the International Olympic Committee as a "pioneer and standard-bearer." Visser worked her 31st Final Four/NCAA Men's Basketball Championship this April 2009, having worked the tournament for the Boston Globe, ESPN and CBS Sports. This past season marked her 34th year covering the NFL and for covering the NFL.

In 2005 Visser was elected to the Museum of Television and Radio. Sean McManus, President of CBS News and CBS Sports, summed up her contributions this way: "Lesley Visser's career has broken many barriers and defined previously unimagined roles for women in professional sports and sports broadcasting."

References

  1. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2009-09-02-teams-values_N.htm
  2. http://blogs.tampabay.com/twocents/2009/07/two-cents-best-female-broadcasters.html
  3. http://www.cbssports.com/cbssports/team/lvisser
  4. http://www.shemadeit.org/meet/biography.aspx?m=105
  5. http://www.lordly.com/index.php?option=com_speakers&task=view&contact_id=424&Itemid=47
  6. http://nacda.cstv.com/convention/proceedings/1999/scholarship.html
  7. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2001_June_26/ai_75894031
  8. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE0DC123BF936A15754C0A965958260&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fSubjects%2fJ%2fJogging SPORTS PEOPLE: BROADCASTING; A Recuperating Visser Aims for N.F.L. Opener - New York Times


External links

  • http://www.lesleyvisser.com www.lesleyvisser.com
  • http://www.cbssports.com/cbssports/team/lvisser
  • http://www.shemadeit.org/meet/biography.aspx?m=105
  • http://www.roadtotheroses.com/G=74/meet_the_pros/pro_template.phtml?pro=pro_lesley_visser
  • http://www.onlinesports.com/sportstrust/sports43.html
  • http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2001_June_26/ai_75894031
  • http://progressiveboink.com/archive/ncaa.htm
  • http://nacda.cstv.com/convention/proceedings/1999/scholarship.html
  • http://www.lordly.com/index.php?option=com_speakers&task=view&contact_id=424&Itemid=47
  • http://www.rateitall.com/i-13739-lesley-visser.aspx
  • http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1139880/2/index.htm
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCAvZBXu_VE



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