Joe Valerio — noted producer of ESPN’s long-running Sunday morning “Sports Reporters” series, and a longtime Westporter — died Sunday, of pancreatic cancer. He was 71.
Valerio began in the programming department in ESPN’s first days. But he was best known for overseeing “The Sports Reporters.” The show aired weekly, from 1988 through 2017.
ESPN reporter — and fellow Westporter — Jeremy Schaap paid tribute to Valerio:
Here is our tribute to Joe Valerio, the longtime producer of The Sports Reporters, who has died at 71, from cancer. Joe leaves behind his wife of 42 years Debbie, their children Caroline, Brian and Courtney, and 5 grandchildren. @MikeLupica @MitchAlbom @WCRhoden @GlobeBobRyan pic.twitter.com/0bPzvkpmuU
— Jeremy Schaap (@JeremySchaap) May 16, 2021
According to ESPN, “Valerio was known for his passion, sharp wit, and smarts. A groundbreaking program featuring newspaper columnists debating issues in sports, The Sports Reporters helped usher in a new genre of sports studio programming, while bolstering the profile of some of the most renowned sports personalities in the industry.”
(In 2017, Schaap reflected on “Sports Reporters”‘ impact. His comments include thoughts about Valerio. Click here to read. Click here for more on Valerio, from ESPN; click here for other tributes. Hat tip: David Tetenbaum)