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Skip Bayless: Wikis


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Skip Bayless
Born John Edward Bayless II
December 4, 1951 (1951-12-04) (age 58)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Education Vanderbilt University
Occupation Sports Commentator, ESPN
Notable credit(s) Cold Pizza & First & 10
Skip Bayless on ESPN Official website

Skip Bayless (born John Edward Bayless II on December 4, 1951 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) is an American journalist on ESPN2's ESPN First Take and its afternoon show 1st and 10. Bayless previously wrote regular columns for and its "Page 2" section.


Schooling and family

Bayless was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The first child of John and Levita Bayless, he was named John Edward Bayless II on his birth certificate, but his father immediately began calling him Skip or Skipper. It stuck, and Skip Bayless was never called John by his parents. He eventually had his name legally changed to Skip. His brother is the chef, restaurant owner and TV personality Rick Bayless

Bayless graduated from Northwest Classen High School and Vanderbilt University.

Writing career

Bayless went directly from Vanderbilt to The Miami Herald, where he wrote sports features for two years before being hired away by the Los Angeles Times. There, he was best known for investigative stories on the Dodgers' clubhouse resentment of "golden boy" Steve Garvey and his celebrity wife Cyndy and on Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom's behind-the-scenes decisions to start different quarterbacks each week (James Harris, Pat Haden or Ron Jaworski). Bayless also won the Eclipse Award for his coverage of Seattle Slew's Triple Crown.

At 25, Bayless was hired by The Dallas Morning News to write its lead sports column, and two years later, the rival Dallas Times Herald hired him away by making him one of the country's highest paid sports columnists—prompting The Wall Street Journal to do a story on the development. Bayless was voted Texas sportswriter of the year three times.

In 1989, Bayless wrote God's Coach, about the rise and fall of Tom Landry's Dallas Cowboys. Following the Cowboys' Super Bowl victory in 1993, Bayless wrote The Boys, which broke the story that coach Jimmy Johnson and owner Jerry Jones were not "best friends" and correctly predicted that Jones would fire Johnson no matter how much success the team had. (Jones fired Johnson after the Cowboys won another Super Bowl the following year.)

Following a third Cowboys Super Bowl win in four seasons, Bayless wrote the third and final book of his Cowboys trilogy, Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the "Win or Else" Dallas Cowboys. He created a controversy when he speculated that Troy Aikman might be gay. Aikman spoke at length to Bayless for the book, stating he was not gay and also refuting a claim (from then-head coach Barry Switzer) that the quarterback used a racial slur in criticizing receiver Kevin Williams during a game and that the quarterback was trying to get Switzer fired and Norv Turner hired as Cowboys coach. The book is about the season-long clash between Aikman and Switzer. Bayless reported that Aikman refused to speak to Switzer from December 4 of that 1995 season through the Super Bowl, which the Cowboys won.

After covering the Cowboys through the 1996 season, Bayless chose to leave Dallas after 17 years and become the lead sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune. In his first year in Chicago, Bayless won the Lisagor Award for excellence in sports column writing and was voted Illinois sportswriter of the year.

Bayless eventually had a highly publicized dispute with the Tribune's executive editor, Ann Marie Lipinski, over limiting all Tribune columns to just 650 or so words. Bayless quit over the policy and was immediately hired by Knight Ridder Corporation to write for its flagship newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News. While in San Jose, Bayless became a fixture on ESPN's Rome is Burning and in a weekly Sunday Morning SportsCenter debate with Stephen A. Smith, "Old School/Nu Skool." ESPN hired Bayless full-time in 2004 to team with Woody Paige on ESPN2's Cold Pizza and to write columns for In 2007, Bayless stopped writing columns to concentrate on what is now called First Take (formerly Cold Pizza) and on ESPN's afternoon show, First and 10, as well as increased presence on ESPN's 6 p.m. SportsCenter with segments such as "The Budweiser Hotseat".

In 2008, after much controversy surrounding the 2008 Summer Olympics, Bayless suggested ending U.S. participation in all Olympic games. Bayless proposed creating a U.S.-only Olympics because he believed all professional sports talent was already concentrated in America.

Radio and television

Skip Bayless has occasionally substituted as host for syndicated radio program The Jim Rome Show. He has also previously contributed to ESPN as a recurring panelist on The Sports Reporters, NFL Prime Monday (now ESPN Monday Night Countdown) in the 1990s, and Jim Rome is Burning. For three years (1998-2001), Bayless was a contributor at major championships for the Golf Channel.

KTCK Sports Radio 1310 "The Ticket"

In 1994 Bayless left his show at KLIF in Dallas to help start the city's first talk radio station, KTCK Sports Radio 1310, "The Ticket." For two years Bayless was the primary host on the 6-9 a.m. morning show as "the Ticket" became one of the country's most successful sports stations. Bayless also was an original investor and when the ownership decided to accept a lucrative offer to sell the station, the new owners bought out Bayless' contract. He immediately became a regular on ESPN Radio's first national show, The Fabulous Sports Babe, and later co-hosted a weekend show on ESPN Radio with Larry Beil. He was also a regular on Chet Coppock's show on Sporting News Radio. For three years he was the primary guest host on The Jim Rome Show.

Cold Pizza/ESPN First and 10

Bayless is featured in debate segments on what is now known as "First and 10" and the segments are re-aired as First and 10 in the afternoons. Bayless debates the day's 10 hottest sports topics with a rotation of sportswriters and ex-athletes including Stephen A. Smith, Greg Anthony, Jalen Rose, Marcellus Wiley, Shaun King and 2 Live Stews (Ryan and Doug Stewart). Donovan McNabb, rappers Lil Wayne, Bow Wow, Wale and Donnie Wahlberg also have taken on Bayless. He has also taken on Chad Ochocinco twice, once during the preseason in the Cincinnati Bengals locker room and the second took place in Bristol on October 29, 2009 during the Bengals bye week.

Bayless, who has called himself "The conscience" of the show, is known for taking unpopular stances on issues discussed on the show. For example, he has extensively criticized Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James for his inability to make clutch shots or live up to his reputation as one of the league's preeminent stars. This typically draws strong disagreement from co-host Jay Crawford, an Ohio native and Cavaliers fan. Bayless mockingly refers to the player as "Prince James" (a derivation of his actual nickname "King James"), James' team as the "Non-Lebrons" in order to show how awful they are without his play, and derides the star constantly on the show. His criticism of James reached its peak in the 2007 NBA Finals, as the San Antonio Spurs swept James' Cavaliers. James has not responded to Bayless' criticism as of yet.


Bayless has written about his belief in God and the pros and cons of religion in sports for The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He attends a church in Manhattan.


  • God's Coach: The Hymns, Hype, and Hipocrisy of Tom Landry's Cowboys, Simon and Schuster, 1990. ISBN 0-671-70581-4.
  • The Boys: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys' Season on the Edge, Simon and Schuster, 1993. ISBN 0-671-79359-4.
  • Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the "Win or Else" Dallas Cowboys, HarperCollins Publishers, 1996. ISBN 0-06-018648-8.

See also

Rick Bayless, celebrity chef and brother of Skip Bayless [1].


External links

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