It was in the guidance counselor’s office at Needham High School that Karl Ravech made one of the biggest decisions of his life – to marry his love of sports with his joy for writing and pursue a degree in communications. The rest is history! After graduating from high school, Karl earned his BS in communications from Ithaca College, and his Master’s in management and leadership from SUNY at Binghamton. Since 1993, he has worked as a reporter for ESPN, where he serves as primary host of Baseball Tonight, as a SportsCenter anchor and appears on Monday Night Baseball providing play-by-play. He has hosted ESPN’s coverage of the Major League Baseball playoffs and World Series since 1995, and has been the lead play by play and host of the College World Series and Little League World Series since 2008.
While at NHS, Karl played Varsity soccer, basketball and tennis and recalls that sports were his social life during that time. He has a great appreciation for the camaraderie of being on a team and looks back fondly on the friendships and bonds that he built through sports. Karl also looks back on high school as rewarding and challenging and a time of tremendous growth both inside and outside the classroom. He remembers teachers like Don Brock who were encouraging and demanding in helping him with math and as his soccer coach. In an ironic twist, the man for whom this honor is named, George Dennett, used to pick up Karl for summer day camp when he was a little boy. “He would drive up with a big smile on his face, load me into his car and pick up others for the 20 minute drive to camp. George was the swim director and as stern as he was, he also had a terrific sense of humor.”
At the age of 33, Karl was playing a pickup game of basketball with friends when he had a heart attack. “That experience was a wake-up call.” Karl began volunteering with the American Heart Association at both the local and eventually the national level. As a spokesperson and fund raiser, his goal is to raise awareness and money to help in the fight against the number one killer of men and women. To this day he practices a vigorous exercise routine with a focus on healthy eating.
Despite winning two Emmy Awards throughout his career, Karl counts “job security” as the greatest reward he has received in his 22 years of experience at ESPN. Prior to joining ESPN, Karl served as weekend sports anchor/reporter at WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, PA; as a sports anchor/reporter at WBNG-TV in Binghamton, NY; as the sports director at NewsCenter 7 in Ithaca, NY; and as a freelance sports producer for WCVB-TV in Boston, while attending college.
Karl’s advice to the junior class is, “be open to learning about yourself, challenge boundaries, get out of your comfort zone. Find things that interest you and in doing so you will find things that don’t. It is important to discover what motivates you as a person. High school is a great time of discovery, volunteer to help others. It is very clear as you get older, more successful and well established your roles and responsibilities within your own communities change. You will be asked to serve on boards, assist in fund raising, donate your time. All of these can be nurtured in high school.”
Karl lives in Avon, CT with his wife Chris and has two sons, Sam (21) and Max (16).