The Untimely Death of Scott Van Pelt’s Dad Helped Fuel His ESPN Career

Over the years, Scott Van Pelt has become one of the most prominent figures in ESPN as one of the faces of the company. Van Pelt’s years of various positions with the sports media giant have led to him becoming arguably the most recognizable people in the business over the last several years. However, it wasn’t a completely cheerful path as he did experience some personal struggles as he had to work past a tough loss in his life.

Scott Van Pelt’s broadcasting career

Scott Van Pelt grew up in the Washington, D.C. area where he wound up attending the University of Maryland.

He began his sports broadcasting career at WTTG-TV in 1990. He was hired by the Golf Channel, where he was part of the start of the company broadcast from 1995 to 2000 in the role of the studio host for various programs for the network.

Van Pelt earned the opportunity to join ESPN in 2001, which included him working as a host for the company’s coverage of golf’s major championships. That saw him work his way into becoming a prominent fixture for ESPN Radio over the years on shows such as Trico and Van PeltThe Scott Van Pelt Show, and SVP & Rusillo.

He has had his hand in various programs and platforms for the company that has seen him garner a solo anchor position for the midnight-edition of SportsCenter that he has been running since the summer of 2015. Van Pelt has become a fixture with the company over the years that has earned a strong reputation throughout the sports media industry. His success in sportscasting saw him through a tough personal loss before his career got moving forward.

Scott Van Pelt worked through losing his dad

Scott Van Pelt has risen to a significant amount of success over the last two-plus decades, becoming one of the most recognizable faces in the business.

It was a path where he experienced personal loss as his father passed away in his early 20s around the time he was wrapping up his time in college. Van Pelt touched upon the strong emotional toll it still holds over him as he used his “1 Big Thing” segment in SportsCenter midnight show back in January 2019 to talk about his father. (H/T Bro Bible)

What I’d give to have just five minutes today to tell him how the story has gone since 1988. To introduce him to the grandkids, one of whom is named Sam, after him. I’ve always avoided focusing on the day of his passing and I’ve chosen to talk about birthdays instead. To celebrate them, not obsess about the death day, but this year I’m surrounded by it.

My good friend Jill buried her dad today. She said she wanted to speak at his funeral but wasn’t sure she could do it. I told her to think about love, I told her should and she’d be glad she did. Well, she did and I’m told she was great.

Van Pelt continued on stating: “So maybe this is selfish to do it here, but it’s intentional, because we all have our pain to deal with. And maybe it helps somebody else or encourages someone to tell a loved one who’s still here how you feel. Maybe it doesn’t. Either way, I miss you dad today and every day, and I hope you’d be proud of how it all turned out.”

It has been more than three decades since his father passed away, but it’s clear that he still has a profound impact on who he has become.

Scott Van Pelt has scholarship in honor of his dad


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Scott Van Pelt continues to have great admiration and love for his father in the many years that have passed since his passing.

That has included him giving a scholarship to the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism in his dad’s memory. It’s something that he voiced that his father would have been proud to see him do.

“All of this would mean the world to my dad. Just to know that it worked out….I’d give every nickel, dime, and dollar if I could have five minutes to look him in the eye and tell him that everything worked out.”

Van Pelt has put forth an incredible career that his father would have quite proud to see what his son has accomplished.