Tom Hammond : biography
Tom Hammond (born May 10, 1944 in Lexington, Kentucky) is an American sportscaster for NBC Sports television. Hammond is one of the network's staple on-air presenters, along with Bob Costas and Dan Hicks. Hammond is the lead play-by-play commentator for Lincoln Financial Sports (formerly Jefferson Pilot Sports), as well as for Notre Dame Football on NBC. He has known his color commentator on the Lincoln Financial broadcasts, Larry Conley, since junior high school. Hammond also has served as the play-by-play announcer for NBC's coverage of Track and Field at every Summer Olympics since 1992.
Hammond earned a B.S. in animal science in 1967 from the University of Kentucky, specializing in equine genetics and following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Thomas Poe Cooper, a former dean of the UK College of Agriculture and a former Acting President of UK. He began his career with WVLK Radio, where he was news and sports director. In 1970 and for the next 10 years, he was sports director for WLEX-TV. In 1980, he was named a play-by-play announcer for Southeastern Conference basketball games, a position he continues to enjoy.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he served as a sales announcer at the Keeneland Thoroughbred Sales and at thoroughbred horse sales in 16 other states. He is recognized as a specialist and national expert on thoroughbred pedigrees.
Hammond's tenure at NBC began in 1984, when he was named as a co-host of the inaugural Breeders' Cup alongside Dick Enberg. It was supposed to be a one-shot deal for Hammond, but network execs were so impressed, he ended up getting a long-term contract. He is the main host of the network's thoroughbred racing coverage.
Hammond's duties at NBC expanded to covering many other sports. He is the network's play-by-play voice for its coverage of Notre Dame football alongside analyst Mike Mayock. He was also the lead play-by-play man for The AFL on NBC. Hammond is also very much involved in NBC's Olympic Games coverage. At the Summer Olympics, Hammond is the chief commentator for track and field, a position he has held since the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, where his broadcast partner that year was O.J. Simpson. Hammond has since said that, prior to the O.J. Simpson murder case, he and Simpson were great friends and got along well. Hammond also commentates on other track and field events shown on NBC. At the Winter Olympics, Hammond is the main commentator for figure skating and ice dancing. Hammond is sort of unique in that, unlike most of his NBC Sports colleagues, he does not live in or around the New York City area, opting to stay in his hometown of Lexington, a decision he made during his early days at NBC. Hammond isn't alone in this choice; despite being a New York native himself, Costas lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
Hammond was considered the leading play-by-play candidate when NBC won the bidding for Sunday night NFL coverage beginning with the 2006 season, but ended up losing out to former ABC announcer Al Michaels after the latter signed with NBC. Hammond teamed with Cris Collinsworth to call the secondary Saturday Wild Card playoff game for NBC each year, including Chiefs-Colts in January 2007, Redskins-Seahawks in 2008, and Falcons-Cardinals in 2009, but teamed with Joe Gibbs and Joe Theismann for the Jets-Bengals Wild Card playoff game in January 2010, as Cris Collinsworth partnered with Al Michaels in the 2009 season due to the retirement of John Madden after the 2008 season. Hammond also filled in for Bryant Gumbel as play-by-play announcer on the NFL Network's December 13, 2007 game featuring the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football, once more teaming with Collinsworth. The pair also serve as the announcing team on the Madden NFL 10 video game.
Hammond's work at NBC also includes doing play-by-play commentary for The NBA on NBC and The NFL on NBC. He also called gymnastics, figure skating, the WNBA, the Orange Bowl, and college basketball. Hammond never did call the XFL, though, as NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said to someone who asked if Hammond would be an XFL commentator, "Anyone that needs credibility will not be doing XFL."
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