|Alma mater||Syracuse University|
|Employer||CBS, ABC, ESPN, Boston Red Sox|
The son of Boston Globe sportswriter Will McDonough, McDonough graduated from the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications of Syracuse University in 1984 with a degree in broadcast journalism. During college, he worked for Syracuse football coach Dick MacPherson.
McDonough was an intern at the short-lived Enterprise Radio Network in 1981.
It was in Syracuse where McDonough began his broadcasting career in 1982 as the play-by-play announcer for the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League. McDonough was also an Ivy League football announcer for PBS. He was a sideline reporter from 1984 to 1985 and a play-by-play announcer from 1986 to 1987.
Boston Red Sox
Four years after graduating from Syracuse, he began broadcasting Boston Red Sox games on WSBK-TV (Channel 38) in Boston with former Red Sox catcher Bob Montgomery and later former Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy.
McDonough continued announcing broadcast Red Sox games through the 2004 season, moving over the years to various local stations, including WFXT (Channel 25), WABU (Channel 68), and WLVI (Channel 56). In 1996, he was teamed with Jerry Remy. He worked with Remy for nine seasons, ultimately only Friday night games, before being replaced in 2005 by NESN announcer Don Orsillo. McDonough attributed his firing to his salary and disputed talk that his "candor" was to blame.
In 2019, McDonough returned to Red Sox broadcasts as a part-time radio play-by-play announcer, announcing 30-32 games in 2019 and becoming a permanent part-time announcer alongside Joe Castiglione, Will Flemming, and Lou Merloni in 2020.
He began work for CBS Sports in 1990, where he broadcast college basketball (including 10 NCAA tournaments), college football (including the prestigious Orange Bowl game), the College World Series, the NFL, US Open tennis, three Winter Olympics (bobsled and luge in 1992 and 1994 and ice hockey in 1998), and golf (including four Masters and PGA Championships).
Major League Baseball on CBS
Outside of New England, he is probably best remembered for his time as CBS's lead baseball announcer, a role in which he was teamed with Tim McCarver. In 1992 at the age of 30, he became the youngest man to announce the national broadcast (and all nine innings of all of the games played) of the World Series. Coincidentally, that particular record would be broken four years later by Fox's 27-year-old Joe Buck, the son of the man McDonough replaced on CBS, Jack Buck.
Perhaps McDonough's most famous call is his emotional description of the Atlanta Braves' Francisco Cabrera (who had only 10 at-bats at the major league level that season) getting a dramatic, game-winning base hit in Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates:
Line-drive and a base-hit! Justice has scored the tying run, Bream to the plate...and he is SAFE! Safe at the plate! The Braves go to the World Series! The unlikeliest of heroes wins the National League Championship Series for the Atlanta Braves. Francisco Cabrera, who had only ten at-bats in the major leagues during the regular season, singled through the left side, scoring Sid Bream from second base with the winning run. Bream, who's had five knee operations in his lifetime, just beat the tag from his ex-mate Mike LaValliere and Atlanta pulls out Game 7 with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. This place is bedlam. There will be no second nightmare for Bobby Cox. Final score in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series: the Braves 3 and the Pirates 2.
He also called the final play of the subsequent 1992 World Series, in which the Toronto Blue Jays became the first non-American based team to win the Major League Baseball's world championship:
Three years later, while calling the College World Series for CBS alongside Steve Garvey, McDonough called another series-clinching home run. This time, it was Warren Morris, who hit a two out, 9th inning walk-off home run that won the 1996 College World Series for the Louisiana State University Fighting Tigers against Miami.
NCAA Basketball on CBS
McDonough's other major endeavor at CBS was his coverage of the NCAA Tournament with then-partner (and fellow Irish-American) Bill Raftery. McDonough and Raftery covered a number of regional finals in the 1990s before McDonough's run at CBS came to an end. The pair developed a terrific on-air rapport, thereby enabling them to spice up their broadcasts. Before the 1999 South Regional Final between Ohio State and St. John's from Knoxville, Tennessee, McDonough and Raftery donned fishing gear as they previewed the game from a boat on the Tennessee River, which was just outside the arena.
In 1998, McDonough—with Raftery at his side—called one of the great buzzer-beaters in NCAA Tournament history, as Connecticut defeated Washington in the East Regional Semifinals on a last-second shot by Richard Hamilton.
Since 2000, McDonough has announced baseball, college basketball, college football, NBA, NHL, and NCAA hockey for ESPN/ABC. Specifically, McDonough announced many Big East college football and basketball events. He has also contributed to ESPN's coverage of the U.S. Open and British Open golf tournaments, and called the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship Final Four alongside Quint Kessenich.
McDonough called NCAA basketball play-by-play on March 12, 2009 on ESPN between UConn and Syracuse which went into 6 overtimes, becoming the longest game in Big East history, clocking 3 hours and 46 minutes. The final score was 127–117 in favor of Syracuse. Also on the broadcast was color commentary from Bill Raftery and Jay Bilas.
On September 28, 2011, McDonough called the nationally televised game in which the Baltimore Orioles came back to defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 after Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon came within one strike of closing the game. McDonough called Baltimore's Robert Andino's walk-off single, which occurred only three minutes before Evan Longoria's walk-off home run against the New York Yankees in St. Petersburg gave the Tampa Bay Rays, who trailed the Red Sox by nine games on September 3, the American League Wild Card, as follows:
College football, the NFL, and the NHL
McDonough was also behind the mic for the fumbled punt in the final seconds of the Michigan State-Michigan football game on October 17, 2015, that resulted in the game-winning touchdown for the Spartans.
Whoa, he (Michigan punter Blake O'Neill) has trouble with the snap…and the ball is free! It's picked up by Michigan State's Jalen Watts-Jackson…and he scores! On the last play of the game! Unbelievable! (pauses while the team celebrates) Michigan State is still the big boy on the block in the state of Michigan. A shocking ending to this rivalry game.
Starting in 2013, McDonough started play-by-play work for the NFL on ESPN Radio. Others included Ryan Ruocco, Marc Kestecher, and Bill Rosinski, who previously did NFL games for NFL on Westwood One as the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers.
McDonough was named the lead play-by-play announcer for Monday Night Football (succeeding Mike Tirico, who departed for NBC Sports) beginning in the 2016 season. In March 2018, ESPN announced that McDonough would be leaving Monday Night Football and would return to announcing college football games.
On June 29, 2021, ESPN formally confirmed that he would be their lead play-by-play voice for their forthcoming NHL coverage beginning in the 2021–22 season, when the league returned to ESPN and ABC, after 16 years at NBC. He was reportedly interested in an NHL role ever since ESPN reacquired the rights to the NHL in March, and ESPN reportedly considered him and Steve Levy for the #1 play-by-play announcer role before they eventually chose him.
In 2012, McDonough had ear surgery, which kept him from working for several months.
In 2014, McDonough was named to the Hall of Fame for WAER, Syracuse University's noncommercial radio station, where he began his sports broadcasting career as a student. S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications also honored McDonough in July 2016 with the 4th annual Marty Glickman Award. In May 2007, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Southern Vermont College.
- 1982–1984: Syracuse Chiefs Radio Play-by-Play
- 1988–2004, Boston Red Sox TV Play-by-Play
- 1990–1999: College Basketball on CBS Play-by-Play
- 1991–1993: NFL on CBS Play-by-Play
- 1992–1993: MLB on CBS Lead Play-by-Play
- 1996–1999: College Football on CBS Lead Play-by-Play
- 1996–1999: Masters Tournament Hole Announcer
- 1995–1999: College World Series Play-by-Play
- 1992–1994: Bobsled and Luge in Winter Olympics Play-by-Play
- 1998: Ice Hockey 1998 Winter Olympics Play-by-Play
- 2000–present: College Basketball on ESPN Play-by-Play
- 2000–2003, 2009–2015: College Football on ABC Play-by-Play
- 2004–2015, 2018–present: College Football on ESPN Play-by-Play
- 2010–2014: U.S. Open Hole Announcer
- 2010–2015: British Open Hole Announcer
- 2010–2011: NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship Play-by-Play
- 2011–2012: ESPN Monday Night Baseball Play-by-Play
- 2013–2015: NFL on ESPN Radio Play-by-Play
- 2016–2017: MNF on ESPN Play-by-Play
- 2019–present: Boston Red Sox Radio Play-by-Play
- 2021–present: NHL on ABC Play-by-play
- "Red Sox announce 'more permanent and consistent' 2020 radio broadcast team". 17 January 2020.
- "Sean McDonough - ESPN MediaZone". espnmediazone.com. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- "Alumni Profiles: Sean McDonough '84 (Boston)". boston.syr.edu. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
- "ESPN's Sean McDonough: Dick MacPherson 'saved my life' (best moments from funeral service)". syracuse.com. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- "After losing his job with CBS, Sean McDonough thought about quitting broadcasting". Remy Report via Reddit. December 14, 2004.
- Vautour, Matt (2020-01-17). "Red Sox Radio Broadcasts: Sean McDonough takes more permanent role with Joe Castiglione, Lou Merloni and Will Flemming". masslive.
- Hiestand, Michael (14 June 2012). "ESPN's Sean McDonough to have surgery on bone near brain". USA Today. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- Sherman, Ed (December 17, 1999). "Mcdonough Out, And That's Odd". Chicago Tribune.
- Fang, Ken (May 16, 2016). "After losing his job with CBS, Sean McDonough thought about quitting broadcasting". Awful Announcing.
- WavSource: Sports
- on YouTube
- Yoder, Matt (17 October 2015). "VIDEO – MICHIGAN STATE BEATS MICHIGAN ON BOTCHED PUNT AS TIME EXPIRES". Bloguin. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- Hofheimer, Bill (May 9, 2016). "Sean McDonough Joins ESPN's Monday Night Football" (Press release). ESPN Media Zone. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- Mandell, Nina (May 9, 2016). "ESPN confirms that Mike Tirico will leave network; will be replaced by Sean McDonough on MNF". USA TODAY Sports. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- "McDonough moving off MNF, back to college football for ESPN". Boston.com. AP. March 9, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- "Dynamic, Diverse and Accomplished Team to Present ESPN's NHL Coverage to Fans". ESPN Press Room U.S. 2021-06-29. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
- Finn, Chad (June 29, 2021). "Sean McDonough to lead ESPN's NHL coverage". www.boston.com. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
- Lee, Joe. "McDonough '84 Roth '87 Newest Hall of Fame Inductees". Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- "Sean McDonough '84 receives Marty Glickman Award for Leadership in Sports Media (slideshow): Newhouse School - Syracuse University". Newhouse School. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- "ESPN's Sean McDonough '84 Given Marty Glickman Award for Leadership in Sports Media by Newhouse School". SU News. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- "Sportscaster tells grads nice is key". The Bennington Banner. Retrieved 2017-12-17.