The pioneering play-by-play broadcaster and sports journalist made history in 2017 when she became the first female broadcaster to call a nationally televised NFL game
By Stella Katsipoutis-Varkanis
Beth Mowins ’89—an award-winning veteran television play-by-play announcer and sports journalist for ESPN, CBS Sports, and Marquee Sports Network—will deliver the keynote speech for Lafayette’s 188th Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2023 on May 20.
“It is absolutely wonderful to welcome Beth home as our Commencement speaker,” says Nicole Hurd, president of Lafayette College. “Her journey has been incredibly inspirational, breaking through the glass ceiling of a male-dominated industry. We are so proud to call her family, and we cannot wait to have her return to campus for Commencement to share this important milestone with our graduates and their families.”
With men’s and women’s college sports as her primary assignments, Mowins has been the voice of the Women’s College World Series on ESPN for more than 20 years. She also has called NCAA championships in basketball, softball, soccer, and volleyball. A prominent voice on ESPN’s regular-season men’s and women’s basketball telecasts, she was a member of the broadcast team for the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany.
The national spotlight shone brightly on Mowins in September 2017. She became the first woman to be play-by-play announcer for a coast-to-coast National Football League telecast when she called ESPN’s Monday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos. The historic moment marked the first time a female broadcaster called an NFL game since Gayle Sierens worked a regional telecast 30 years earlier for NBC in 1987. Mowins was featured by Sports Illustrated, CNN, CBS News, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and other national media outlets.
Mowins currently works ESPN and ABC Saturday games during the fall with Kirk Morrison and Stormy Buonantony. Mowins also was the first woman to call play-by-play for the NFL on CBS, and she has called NFL games on the network since 2017. She has been the preseason voice of the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders since 2015 and has called college football games on ESPN since 2005.
An English major at Lafayette, Mowins was inducted into the Maroon Club Hall of Fame in 2005. A two-time captain in basketball, she led her team to the East Coast Conference championship in 1986-87. A three-time all-conference selection, she scored more than 1,000 points and holds the school record for assists.
Mowins has enjoyed broadcasting several Lafayette events, including a few Lafayette-Lehigh football games and the 2000 Patriot League men’s basketball tournament championship game vs. Navy.
Mowins holds a Master of Arts degree in journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, and she was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by Lafayette College in 2018. She is one of five recipients to date of the Newhouse School’s Marty Glickman Award for Leadership in Sports Media, along with Bob Costas, Marv Albert, Sean McDonough, and Mike Tirico. The College Sports Information Directors of America honored her with the Jake Wade Award in 2014 in recognition of her outstanding contributions covering collegiate athletics.
A native of North Syracuse, N.Y., Mowins was inducted into the Greater Syracuse Hall of Fame in 2009.
“What an honor and a privilege to return to my alma mater to address the graduates,” Mowins says. “This class has been so resilient the past few years getting through such unique circumstances. I look forward to spending some time with them back in a community that has meant so much to all of us.”