Mike Pesca

Mike Pesca first reached the airwaves as a 10-year-old caller to a New York Jets-themed radio show and has since been able to parlay his interests in sports coverage as a National Desk correspondent  for NPR based in New York City.

Pesca enjoys training his microphone on anything that occurs at a track, arena, stadium, park, fronton, velodrome or air strip (i.e. the plane drag during the World's Strongest Man competition). He has reported from Los Angeles, Cleveland and Gary. He has also interviewed former Los Angeles Ram Cleveland Gary. Pesca is a panelist on the weekly Slate podcast “Hang up and Listen”.

In 1997, Pesca began his work in radio as a producer at WNYC. He worked on the NPR and WNYC program On The Media. Later he became the New York correspondent for NPR's midday newsmagazine Day to Day, a job that has brought him to the campaign trail, political conventions, hurricane zones and the Manolo Blahnik shoe sale. Pesca was the first NPR reporter to have his own podcast, a weekly look at gambling cleverly titled “On Gambling with Mike Pesca.”

Pesca, whose writing has appeared in Slate and The Washington Post, is the winner of two Edward R. Murrow awards for radio reporting and, in1993, was named Emory University Softball Official of the Year.

He lives in Manhattan with his wife Robin, sons Milo and Emmett and their dog Rumsfeld. A believer in full disclosure, Pesca rates his favorite teams as the Jets, Mets, St. Johns Red Storm and Knicks, teams he has covered fairly and without favor despite the fact that they have given him a combined one championship during his lifetime as a fully cognizant human.

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Sports
4:20 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

NBA's Twyman's Great Assist: Caring For Teammate

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 5:13 pm

Former NBA star Jack Twyman has died at the age of 78. Twyman played for the Rochester and Cincinnati Royals in the 1950s and 60s. But it was his friendship and assistance to an injured teammate that earned him the most recognition.

London 2012: The Summer Olympics
6:01 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Before Leaping To 10 Golds, Athlete Beat Polio

Ray Ewry wins the standing high jump at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. Ewry won 10 gold medals, all after having overcome polio as a child.
Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 6:22 pm

The debate over who is the greatest summer Olympian in U.S. history is relegated to a familiar list of names: Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Jim Thorpe, Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens, perhaps Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Then there's Ray Ewry, an all-but-forgotten Olympic great with a remarkable story.

Ewry won his 10th gold medal in 10 tries by leaping, bounding and hopping to such heights and lengths that spectators were awed — but also dumbfounded — that a human being could perform such feats. In fact, the French dubbed him L'Homme Grenouille, the "Frog Man."

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NPR Story
3:42 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Ray Ewry, America's Forgotten Olympic Great

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 6:01 pm

Michael Phelps has won more medals, and more gold medals than any U.S. Olympian. But how many people have heard of Ray Ewry, perhaps the all time greatest Olympic athlete on land? Ewry entered 10 events and won 10 gold medals. That his events no longer exist, and that he won his last gold 104 years ago are what contributes to Ewry's relative anonymity.

Sports
3:22 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Olympic Runners Find Unique Was To Raise Funds

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:38 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Anyone who watches NASCAR knows the cars out on the track are plastered with ads. Golfers almost all wear their sponsorships, but not U.S. Olympians.

NPR's Mike Pesca reports that some runners are now chafing at the long-standing rules blocking them from raising sponsorship money.

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NFL Draft
4:12 am
Fri April 27, 2012

NFL Draft: Quarterbacks Go In First Two Picks

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 6:24 am

The first round of the 2012 NFL draft was held at New York City's Radio City Music Hall Thursday. The top-two picks are two of the most highly regarded quarterbacks to enter the NFL in quite some time. After those players were selected, teams began furiously trading picks and players in order to secure their presumed slice of future greatness.

Sports
3:00 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Wildcats Roll To 8th NCAA Title, Coach Calipari's 1st

Anthony Davis of the Kentucky Wildcats puts up a shot over Jeff Withey of the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA Division I men's basketball final Monday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Ronald Martinez Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 1:01 pm

The Kentucky Wildcats beat the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 Monday night in New Orleans, claiming their eighth NCAA men's basketball title and head coach John Calipari's first.

The Jayhawks trailed by 14 at halftime, and just 5 points separated the teams with about a minute left in the game. But Kansas couldn't get any closer to beating Kentucky, a team stacked with young talent that had dominated the whole tournament.

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Sports
6:09 am
Sun April 1, 2012

Kentucky To Face Kansas In NCAA Title Game

Kansas' Thomas Robinson (0) fights for a rebound with Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas (1) during the second half of an NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball tournament game Saturday in New Orleans.
Chris Steppig AP

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 9:33 pm

The national championship game in men's college basketball is set. The Jayhawks beat Ohio State in a close one and Kentucky got past Louisville.

At the nine-minutes-to-go mark in games one through four of Kentucky's romp through the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats have had leads of 13, 11, 18 and 30 points. So it was significant that the Louisville Cardinals actually found themselves tied with Kentucky at that nine-minute juncture.

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The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Defending Kentucky's Coach Calipari: Not A Tough Assignment

Kentucky coach John Calipari has been criticized as being more of a recruiter than a coach. But that doesn't mean his approach to the game is easy.
Kevin C. Cox Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 2:04 pm

The critique of University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari is that he does what it takes to get his players, and they do what they want from there. Sure, this thinking goes, he's yelling at them from the sidelines whenever one — specifically Terrence Jones — puts up a 3-point shot from a step behind the arc. But he's not much of a coach.

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Sports
7:00 am
Sun March 25, 2012

On To The Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State Win

Originally published on Sun March 25, 2012 3:04 pm

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

In NCAA men's basketball, the Louisville Cardinals and Ohio State Buckeyes have qualified for the Final Four. Later today, two more teams will join them after Kentucky plays Baylor and Kansas faces North Carolina. With so much basketball peppered with reversals and upsets, it's hard to deny the madness of March. But, as NPR's Mike Pesca reports, most coaches try desperately to keep it at bay.

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Sports
7:00 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Kentucky's 'Not Allowed To Lose' NCAA Tournament

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: And coming up, we'll talk about the scandal rocking the NFL. But first, in the NCAA last night: North Carolina needed overtime to put away Ohio. Kansas defeated NC State. Baylor beat Xavier. And Kentucky toppled Indiana 102 to 90. And with that win, the powerhouse Wildcats moved into the elite 8 of the tournament. NPR's Mike Pesca reports.

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