NBC Sports broadcaster Mike Tirico, who is leading NBC’s Olympics primetime coverage in the place of the iconic Bob Costas, is married to former college basketball player Deborah Gibaratz Tirico, who goes by the name Debbie Tirico. The two met while attending Syracuse and live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The 50-year-old Tirico has been a national sports broadcaster since 1991, when he joined ESEPN’s SportsCenter, He remained at the network until 2016, when he left to join NBC Sports. Tirico was leading NBC’s Olympic coverage with Katie Couric.
Here’s a look at Tirico’s wife Debbie and their family. The couple have two daughters.
1. Debbie Has a Bachelor of Science from Syracuse & Went to NYU Business School
In October 2012, Syracuse University honored Debbie in its annual LetterWinners of Distinctions honors during halftime at a football game that aired live on ESPN.
Debbie graduated from Syracuse in 1989 and was a four-time letter winner in women’s basketball. Academically, she excelled, earning a Bachelor of Science magna cum laude from Syracuse’s School of Management. She later earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Today, Debbie works with several local non-profit organizations in Ann Arbor. The Tiricos have lived there since 1999.
2. The Couple Moved to Ann Arbor to Be Closer to Debbie’s Parents
Before attending Syracuse, Debbie grew up in Michigan, where she was a star high school basketball player. In a 2010 interview with the Detroit News, Tirico said that he and his family moved to Ann Arbor to be close to Debbie’s parents.
“My wife, Debbie Gibaratz, is a former all-state softball and basketball player from Trenton, in the late 1980s. We kind of moved back to be near her folks. We are sort of the proudest Syracuse alums in Ann Arbor, and we have a lot of friends here,” he said in 2010. “I joke with my daughters, ‘You can wear that Syracuse jersey to the Big House anytime you want!'”
“I was not born here (in Michigan), but we moved here 11 years ago now,” Tirico told the Detroit News in 2010.
3. She Also Played Softball in High School in Trenton, Michigan
Debbie also played softball while attending Tenton High School in Trenton, Michigan. She was a two-sport all-state athlete.
In 2014, Debbie and Tirico helped establish a scholarship in honor of Trenton Coach John Biedenbach, reports the Trenton Tribune.
“The Trenton Bullpen Club will be establishing a scholarship for a female athlete at Trenton High School,” she during a ceremony to name the softball field after the coach. “The name of the scholarship will be the Coach John Biedenbach Scholarship.”
After the ceremony, Debbie said that she and Tirico will match the donations for the scholarship.
The Canton, Michigan Observer reported in 1984 that Debbie “made several all-state teams a year ago and has starred for Trenton since her sophomore year.”
4. Debbie Changed Tirico’s Mind About Whether or Not a Sportscaster Needed to Be an Athlete to Be Successful
In a May 1991 Syracuse Post-Standard profile, Tirico said that he didn’t think a sports announcer needed to be an athlete to understand players.
“She’s my reality check for a lot of things,” Tirico explained at the time. “I used to think I knew what an athlete was thinking. And she would say, ‘How do you know what he was thinking?’ it’s so true. Now I’m a little less apt to second-guess an athlete because she reminds me almost every day, ‘You don’t know what he was thinking,'”
5. Before Their Marriage, Tirico Was Suspended From ESPN for 3 Months for Alleged Sexual Harassment
Back in 2006, Deadspin published passages from ESPN: An Uncensored History, a 2000 book by Mike Freeman. In the book, Freeeman portrays Tirico as a family man, but reports that he was suspended for three months for two instances of alleged sexual misconduct. At the time, he was still dating Debbie.
According to the first story, Freeman writes that Tirico was allegedly stalking a female ESPN employee at a fall 1992 house party. He repeatedly told the woman that she was the “most beautiful woman” at the party. When she finally decided to leave, he tried to stop her by standing in front of her car. Eventually, she allegedly rolled down the window, but “Tirico stuck his hand in and tried to wedge it between her thighs,” Freeman alleged. The next day, she thought he would apologize, but instead allegedly told her, “All I did all day was think about you.”
In the second case, Tirico allegedly sent an email to a female producer after having dinner with her and Debbie, telling the woman that he wanted to sleep with her. “I wish I was single. If I were, I’d throw you on the table right here and f**k your brains out,” he allegedly told her when they went to a bar after an NCAA basketball game.
Tirico was interviewed for Freeman’s book, Deadspin notes. He called those incidents “misunderstandings.”