Little League® International Mourns the Passing of ESPN’s John Saunders


Little League® International remembers ESPN’s John Saunders. He was 61.

Mr. Saunders, was a member of the ESPN stable of on-air talent for more than 30 years. He covered college football, basketball and the National Hockey League for the ESPN family of networks, and also was a regular anchor on the network’s flagship news program, SportsCenter. Over the past several years, Mr. Saunders also anchored NFL Primetime; and served as host and moderator for The Sports Reporters program.

Joining ESPN in December 1986 as an anchor on SportsCenter, Mr. Saunders became a regular contributor to the network’s coverage of college basketball and the WNBA; and hosted ESPN’s coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs from 1993 to 2004. He also worked on coverage of the Major League Baseball World Series and the MLB All-Star Game.

In 1993 and 1994, Mr. Saunders visited Williamsport, Pa., as the play-by-play voice of ABC Sports’ coverage of the Little League Baseball® World Series. In 2010, he again lent his voice to an International Little League® event as he served as Master of Ceremonies for the 2010 Chairman’s Dinner at the 25th Congress in Lexington, Ky.

john saunders
John Saunders served as Master of Ceremonies for the 2010 Chairman’s Dinner at the 25th Little League® International Congress in Lexington, Ky.

A native of Ajax, Canada, Mr. Saunders was an all-star defenseman in the junior hockey leagues of Montreal before turning his love of sports into a highly successful career. He played at Western Michigan and Ryerson Polytechnical in Toronto.

Mr. Saunders, was a close friend of the late Jim Valvano, head basketball coach of the 1983 NCCA Men’s basketball national champion North Carolina State Wolfpack, who passed away from Cancer. In honor of Coach Valvano, Mr. Saunders was a founding member of The V Foundation for Cancer Research and served on its board of directors.

Mr. Saunders, is survived by his wife; Wanda; and daughters, Aleah and Jenna.