Liam McHugh, the host of Notre Dame football coverage on NBC and the NBC Sports Network, got indoctrinated into big-time college football as a sports anchor and reporter at KOKH-25 from 2007 to 2009.
McHugh, 35, said he learned of the importance of OU football in Oklahoma even before his first work day at KOKH, his second broadcasting job.
“I was towing all my stuff to Oklahoma City, that was the day after the Sooners lost in the Fiesta Bowl to Boise State,” he said. “And I remember driving into Oklahoma, finding a local station, and of course, all the talk was about it. I got a real baptism into how hard core everyone was about OK college football. You would have thought that day the sky was falling.”
A former print reporter for Newsday and ESPN the Magazine, McHugh made his broadcasting debut in 2004 at a Terre Haute, Ind., TV station WTHI-TV, and once worked 37 straight days on the air in starting the station's sports department.
He said his KOKH experience helped prepare him for his current job in covering the Fighting Irish and other sports.
“I was 10 feet away from Mike Gundy during the ‘I'm a man, I'm 40 rant,' I was there for Sam Bradford and Blake Griffin. I was there for having the (New Orleans) Hornets, losing the Hornets, getting the Thunder.”
McHugh said he and analysts Doug Flutie and Hines Ward are excited about covering the OU-Notre Dame game Saturday in a meeting of two tradition-rich programs. The trio will be part of the “Countdown to Kickoff” show at 2 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network and then supply halftime and postgame coverage on NBC. Dan Hicks, Mike Mayock and reporter Alex Flanagan will call the 2:30 p.m. game.
“I think it's going to be a very special game for all of us to cover,” McHugh said. “Doug is in many ways Mr. College Football. I think he loves these old-time, old-school matchups, teams with tons of tradition. Hines, having played in the SEC (at Georgia), I think he realizes the significance of Oklahoma coming into Notre Dame.
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