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ESPN Analyst Doris Burke joined by WSOU Hall of Famer Bob Picozzi in inspiring discussion

It’s not every day that a trailblazer comes to Seton Hall University. Renowned basketball commentator, sideline reporter, and ESPN analyst Doris Burke sat down on Feb. 23 to discuss her journey and share valuable advice to those aspiring to work in sports media. 

In 2018, Burke was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as the Curt Gowdy Media winner. Her list of accolades is a mile long and as she surges towards retiring soon, there isn’t much she hasn’t done. 

Burke was seated alongside her good friend and WSOU Hall of Famer Bob Picozzi, who she met upon her start in color commentary. 

Picozzi spoke glowingly about Burke’s work ethic and understanding of the game. He saw great potential in her from the beginning because of her ability to communicate and her passion for the job. 

“I would think to myself, once [Doris] gets some confidence, she’s going to be a rockstar in this business,” Picozzi said. 

Picozzi saw Burke’s inner belief skyrocket once she got more on-air reps and opportunities to improve. She continued to knock down doors, going from broadcasting Providence games on radio to calling men’s and women’s Big East games on television. Burke credits her dedication as the primary reason for her success.  

“I tried to be exceptional every time I went on-air,” Burke added. “I prepared like crazy.” 

Despite her accomplishments, Burke acknowledged that there was a tough road ahead. Women being in prominent on-air positions was foreign in her time, and critics questioned her abilities because of her gender. 

She prides herself on putting the best foot forward and winning over any doubters with her expertise. Her extensive knowledge and commentary couldn’t be denied, as she gradually moved up the ranks at places such as ESPN. 

Burke has reached a status that was unimaginable to her when she first started over thirty years ago. It was recently announced she has been assigned to call the 2024 NBA Finals. 

“I’m nervous as hell,” Burke said. “If you watch game one, I’ll try not to let you hear my voice quiver.” 

Although she’s anxious about the job, there’s another part of her that’s lighting up inside with excitement. She wanted to be around basketball her entire life, as she first fell in love with the game at age seven, and all her dreams are coming true. 

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There were many enthusiastic Seton Hall students in the crowd that feel the same way Burke does about basketball. Some were fortunate enough to ask her a question, and she gave in-depth answers to all of them. 

Burke highlighted the importance of preparation and how commentators must be prepared for harsh criticism. She also didn’t shy away from recognizing how competitive the sports media landscape is and the challenges these students would likely endure. She dumped the “cold water” on them so that they’d realize they must be fully committed if they want it to be their profession. 

“It is so competitive now, it’s brutal,” Burke added.   

Burke has worked several jobs for top organizations, but she still holds firmly that her favorite hasn’t been in sports: it’s being a mom. 

“Do the single most important job, which is being a mom or a parent,” Burke said. “Do that well. There’s nothing more important than that job.” 

Matt Soetebeer is the assistant editor of the Setonian’s sport section. He can be reached at


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