Along with the new football season come changes to the faces that present it. The biggest talent changing logos this offseason was Colin Cowherd, who has left ESPN for his new show on FOX. Cowherd has made some changes to his new show, the most noticeable of which is his sidekick. Instead of stuffy, unknown ESPN people reading us the news, Colin has treated his listeners (and himself) to some eye candy:
Kristine Leahy, known nationally as one of three hosts of American Ninja Warrior, works the newsdesk daily across from Cowherd on his new show. Kristine has a rep across the country. She was born and raised in the Chicago era, got her start at BU and with the Celtics, and most recently was working on the west coast with KCLA. Leahy isn’t exactly Buster Olney with the sports knowledge, but she holds her own and provides a nice cushion for Cowherd when he gets a little off the rails.
Here’s the background on Leahy:
1. She’s a Big Michael Jordan Fan
Leahy grew up in Chicago, during the height of Michael Jordan’s dominance. In her LinkedIn profile, she recalls asking her father to quiz her about the players and happenings of the Bulls. Leahy wasn’t a spectacular athlete, but grew up constantly watching her brothers play sports. Leahy quickly learned and loved these games, and along with the rest of her family became an avid sports fan.
Though Leahy has moved on and worked around the country, she’s held onto her midwest roots. On The Herd, Leahy is a supporter of all things Chicago, namely Derrick Rose. Cowherd has been critical in the past of Rose’s attitude and injuries, but Leahy is always there to stand up for the maligned Bull.
In another Jordan connection, Leahy has made it clear that her favorite movie is Space Jam.
In Leahy’s Twitter bio it reads, “I love animals, rap and sports.”
2. Leahy Studied Journalism at BU
After high school Leahy traveled east, choosing to study at BU. During her schooling she was focused and determined, and helped to create and anchor “Offsides”, the first and only sports talk program on BUTV. From 2006-2009 Leahy worked on the show, doing everything from producing segments, to conducting interviews, and editing episodes.
During her time in Boston Leahy worked as a intern with FOX25. After graduating with a B.S. in journalism, Leahy immediately took on the Boston sports scene. She spent 2009-2011 working in the area, first as talent for legendary Boston radio station WEEI, and later as an in-arena host for the Boston Celtics.
3. Leahy Got Her Start at WEEI in Boston
After graduating BU, Leahy quickly pursued opportunities in the neighboring sports media. She was snatched up by WEEI, who made her the host of “The Five”. Leahy hosted the web show from 2009-10, when she left the station to begin working for the Celtics.
Leahy started with the Celtics in late 2009, and wore multiple hats for the team. She wrote articles and appeared in clips for Celtics.com, but was a bigger presence on game days. When the Celtics were at home, Leahy provided hosting duties for in-arena entertainment as well as postgame hosting. She stayed with the Celtics until 2011, when greener pastures offered her the opportunity to move west.
4. In 2012 She Moved to California
Leahy got her first big break in 2012, when she became an official reporter for multiple outlets in Los Angeles. She covered the Lakers, Dodgers, and was a courtside reporter for the NCAA Tournament. At one point Leahy even made history, when she became the first woman to call a horse race in California.
Leahy worked in LA for a variety of companies. She was a host for CBS Sports Network, where she filled in on a program called “Lead Off”. She had a role in the CBSLA program “Sports Central”, and worked with KCLA on their Dodgers coverage.
5. She Replaced Jenn Brown on American Ninja Warrior
Leahy went national for the first time in March, when it was announced that she was joining the broadcast team for NBC’s production of American Ninja Warrior. The athletic competition, which originated in Japan, signed Leahy for their seventh American season. Leahy replaced Jenn Brown, who took time off to have a baby.
On ANW, Leahy joins a strong cast of hosts and reporters. Matt Iseman, an actor and comedian based out of LA, hosts the show. Leahy does the contestant interviews, and former NFL player and current analyst Akbar Gbajabiamila joins her to round out the crew.