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Over the years, Scott Van Pelt has become one of the most prominent figures at ESPN. His years holding various positions with the sports media giant have led to him becoming arguably the most recognizable person in the business over the last several years.

However, the path to becoming a SportsCenter anchor wasn’t a completely cheerful one. Van Pelt did have to work through some personal struggles and a tough loss in his life.

Scott Van Pelt’s broadcasting career

Scott Van Pelt grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and attended the University of Maryland.

He began his sports broadcasting career at WTTG-TV in 1990. He was hired by Golf Channel, where he was part of the company’s broadcast team from 1995-2000, serving as a studio host for various programs.

Van Pelt earned the opportunity to join ESPN in 2001, and he worked as a host for the company’s coverage of golf’s major championships. He became a prominent fixture for ESPN Radio over the years on shows such as Tirico and Van PeltThe Scott Van Pelt Show, and SVP & Rusillo.

Though he’s dabbled in various programs and platforms for the company, he’s most notably gained a solo anchor position for the midnight edition of SportsCenter that has run since the summer of 2015. Van Pelt has become an ESPN fixture and earned a strong reputation throughout the sports media industry.

Scott Van Pelt worked through losing his dad

Scott Van Pelt has achieved much over the last two decades and change, becoming one of the most recognizable faces in the business.

But along the way, he experienced personal loss as his father died while the younger Van Pelt was in his early 20s and wrapping up at the University of Maryland. He touched upon the emotional toll with his “1 Big Thing” SportsCenter segment in January 2019.

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.

Scott Van Pelt

Van Pelt continued, “So maybe it 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.”

More than three decades have passed since his father’s death, but it’s clear he still has a profound impact on who his son has become.

Scott Van Pelt has scholarship in honor of his dad

Scott Van Pelt continues to have great admiration for his father, and he’s been able to honor him in a special way.

The SportsCenter anchor has provided a scholarship to the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism in his dad’s memory. It’s something he said 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 had — and continues to have — an incredible career, and his father would surely be quite proud to see what his son has accomplished.

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