Here is part one of the interview by Miami Herald writer Jim Varsallone
Todd Grisham is transitioning from working with WWE to joining the ESPN crew. Like his broadcast colleague and friend Jonathan Coach Coachman, Grisham did backstage interviews, promos and called the action for WWE, before landing with ESPN.
• Did it help you that Jonathan Coach Coachman is doing well there?
Grisham: “Jonathan Coachman is my best friend. Our lives and careers are like mirror images of each other. I’m just a few years behind. He was a local sports anchor, got hired by WWE, started out hosting shows and then moved to announcing.
“Then he did outside sports work while still doing WWE, got married, had a kid and left for ESPN. It’s my story exactly. We talk about it all the time. The only difference is that I am more attractive than him and can beat him at golf.
“I think Coach working at ESPN and doing so well there has certainly paved the way for me. Like it or not, there are some places out there that look down at WWE and consider anyone that works there as a bit of a joke. It is hard to break the stereotype. Things aren’t as bad as they were 10 years ago, but I firmly believe if Coach had gone to ESPN and tanked, I would have never even got an audition, much less been offered a job. So to Coach I say, ‘Thank you for not sucking at your job.’”
• How did you land a job with ESPN? Why leave WWE now?
Grisham: “I worked for WWE and Fox Soccer Channel simultaneously for several years, and I really didn’t have any free time. I did WWE during the week and FSC on the weekends.”
Grisham played soccer collegiately on scholarship.
Grisham: “This past year, however, I didn’t do soccer so I had more free time and started sending out some feelers toward maybe doing some college sports or NFL work on the side. The ESPN thing kind of came out of the blue. They saw my resume reel, liked it and asked me to come in and audition.”
• What were your career goals?
“I always knew I wanted to either be on TV or radio. I actually practiced speaking without a Southern accent, when I was kid, which isn’t easy growing up in Bay Minette, Alabama. If you ever hear my brother talk, you’ll wonder how we’re related. He’s not as bad as Larry the Cable Guy but pretty darn close. My father used to go out of town on long road trips, and when he would return, I would recap all of the sporting events he missed seeing with me. I’d draw pictures reenacting big plays. You name it. He told me ‘You should be a sportscaster, when you grow up.’
“In college [Wingate University and then University of West Georgia], I started working at a local radio station as a D.J. One night I remember hearing the high school football broadcasts and thought, ‘I can do better than that,’ and my sports broadcasting career was born. My first TV job was in Ottumwa, Iowa, which is basically the smallest television market in the United States. Ironically, the other sports anchor there was Kevin Negandhi, who now works for ESPN. From there, I got a job at KOLD in Tucson, Ariz., where I worked for five years.”
• How did you get a job with WWE?
Grisham: “In Tucson, I tried to be different on the air. All three competing stations were basically running the same stories; so I tried to give viewers a reason to watch me instead of the other guys. I wanted to be funny but more importantly not boring, which is tough when you live in the desert. Scott Kilbury, who still works there, and I would really push the envelope, doing high school football skits. Our show ‘Overtime’ won AP awards and eventually an Emmy award.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/07/2442805/former-wwe-announcer-todd-grisham.html#ixzz1a7je7yVU