Skip Bayless is an American sports columnist as well as an author and television personality. He became prominent as a commentator on the ESPN2 show, First Take.
Skip Bayless Bio
Skip wasn’t his birth name but the name stuck after his father called him that. His mother was also called the same name by the husband, anyway hers denotes the skipper of the ship, but for his, we don’t know the inspiration. What’s in a name you may ask? Shakespeare also asked that same question. Before we delve into that, let’s look at the timeline of Skip Bayless.
He was born on December 4, 1951, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and named after his father John Edward Bayless II, his dad being John Sr. His father started calling him Skip, he was never called John by his parents. The name stuck and he eventually changed his name legally to Skip. He grew up with two younger siblings, a brother, Rick, and a sister.
His parents were restauranteurs who owned and operated the Hickory House restaurant in Oklahoma City. He worked in the restaurant which specialized in barbecue in his youth but never considered it as a path to trod career-wise. His interest was rather in sports which he began to indulge in from an early age playing baseball and basketball.
Information regarding his early education is not available, but we can make headway with what we got. Skip graduated high school from Northwest Classen as the salutatorian in 1970. He was a member of the National Honor Society for two years and chapter president of his school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
The skip must have really been a good and bright student. He was an officer in the letterman’s club and before he became a senior, he represented his school at Oklahoma Boys State. Being a sports enthusiast, he was the school newspaper sports columnist both in his junior and senior years.
His passion for sports and sports writing earned him the Grantland Rice Scholarship into Vanderbilt University. He majored in English and History and graduated cum laude in 1974. As a member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, he served two years as the chapter’s sports director. An ardent sportsman, he was also the sports editor of the students’ newspaper, The Hustler.
What is in a name? He became a skipper (captain), garnering successes wherever he goes. We will get to know more of them as we read on.
He interned under sports editor Frank Boggs at The Daily Oklahoman in the summer of 1969. After graduation, he wrote for the Miami Herald for two years and garnered experience in sports feature writing adding to his resume. In 1976, he was hired by the Los Angeles Times to write investigative reports. He moved to The Dallas Morning News where he wrote its lead sports column for three years. Morning News rival, Dallas Times Herald poached him and that got The Wall Street Journal to write a story on that.
He wrote his three books during his 17-year career with Dallas Times Herald. The books were God’s Coach: The Hymns, Hype, and Hypocrisy of Tom Landry’s Cowboys (1990), The Boys: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Season on the Edge (1993), and Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the “Win or Else” Dallas Cowboys (1996). These works chronicle the rise and fall of the Dallas Cowboys, their victory in the 1993 Super Bowl and for four consecutive seasons.
After Skip left Dallas in 1998, he became the lead sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune and left in 2001.
Television / Radio Career
Whether as a guest, guest host or as co-host, he has worked in radio even before moving into TV full-time.
He started with a two-year stint in 1991 for Dallas Radio station, KLIF, hosting the sports talk radio show. Skip hosted his show The Skip Bayless Show in the Fort Worth radio station, KTCK from 1994 to 1996. He appeared regularly on Chet Coppock’s Coppock On Sports show on the Sporting News Radio network. Skip became the major guest host of the syndicated radio program, The Jim Rome Show in 2001.
As a guest, he frequented ESPN Radio’s first national weekday show, The Fabulous Sports Babe in the mid-’90s. The sports presenter extraordinaire would later co-host a weekend show on the same station with Larry Bell until 2004 before moving into television full-time.
Skip first appeared on TV in 1989 as a panelist on an ESPN show, The Sports Reporters. Jim Rome’s show on Fox News, The Last Word, The Best Damn Sports Show Period were some of his regular appearances.
In 2004, he became a full-time TV persona being hired by ESPN to write columns and to work with Woody Paige in daily debate segments called 1st and 10. The show was renamed First Take after production was moved to Bristol from New York in May 2007.
He made his final appearance in the show on June 21, 2016, and moved to Fox Sports. Skip debuted on Fox Sports 1 with his new sports talk show, Skip, and Shannon: Undisputed with Shannon Sharpe on September 6, 2016.
Skip Bayless had several cameo roles in films including Rocky Balboa with Woody Paige and Jay Crawford, ESPN film, Pony Excess (2010) and the 2011 ESPNU documentary, Herschel.
Awards and Recognitions
You will agree with me that Skip Bayless is good at what he does and deserves a lot of acclamations and awards for his works well done. He sure has gotten a number of them over the years and much more are still to come.
Besides his work appearing in various national sports publications, including Sports Illustrated, he has also garnered a host of awards.
The Eclipse Award for Outstanding Newspaper Writing in 1977 went to him for his coverage of Seattle Slew’s Triple Crown victory. During his time in Herald, he was voted Texas sportswriter of the year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association three times (1979, 1984, and 1986).
Within his first year with the Tribune, he was awarded the Lisagor Award for excellence in sports column writing by the Chicago Headline Club. A year before he left the Chicago Tribune, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association voted him the Illinois sportswriter of the year.
He was inducted as one of the five members of the inaugural class of the Vanderbilt Student Media Hall of Fame in 2009.
Skip Bayless Wife, Brother
After his first marriage to his high school sweetheart, a decision he considers his greatest mistake, having ended in divorce, he met Ernestine Sclafani. Ernestine is a publicist and the vice president of Shandwick Public Relations.
The duo met on ESPN’s show Cold Pizza when she brought actor Kevin Dillon to the set. They connected and had dinner that same night where he told her she will never be more important than his work. It wasn’t an issue for her because she also loves her job. Their common interests like likeness for Woody Allen, and music from the ’60s bonded them. They had a private wedding – after dating for some years – among close relatives and friends.
She is hardworking just like her husband and maybe their love for their work has kept them together. They may not be making regular appearances together in public but are still very much in love.
While Skip opted for sports, his younger brother, Rick upheld the family tradition of becoming a chef, restaurateur, and television personality. The two have become successful and widely acclaimed for their chosen professions.
Rick was born on November 23, 1953, and specializes in traditional Mexican cuisines with modern interpretations. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma and did his doctorate in anthropological linguistics at the University of Michigan. Rick studied Spanish and Latin American culture, he has broadened his interest to include regional Mexican cooking as an undergraduate.
He is widely known for his PBS series Mexico: One Plate at a time and has won many accolades and awards for his works. He is also an author who has written many books on traditional Mexican fare and contributed to a host of magazines. The restauranteur par excellence is married to Deann Bayless.
Salary, Net Worth
Skip renewed his contract with ESPN in 2015 which got him $3 million as an annual salary. He, however, left the network for Fox Sports in 2016 and it was reported that he would receive an estimated salary of $5 million. Skip was given a signing bonus of $4 million in 2016.
His net worth is estimated to be between the corridors of $7 and $13 million.
Skip Bayless Height
The former athlete and sports analyst stand at a height of 5’10” (1.78).