SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Bill Bonnell hasn’t been to a Syracuse University football game in 35 years, but he’ll make up for lost time when the Orange take on Clemson.
Bonnell will have a front-row seat, but won’t be inside the Carrier Dome.
His seat is inside ESPN’s high-tech truck parked across the street, where Bonnell will literally be calling the shots.
After graduating from North Syracuse High School, Onondaga Community College and then Syracuse University, Bonnell worked his way up through network sports.
Now, he’s the coordinating producer for ESPN on ABC, making sure the SU-Clemson game is seen far beyond Central New York.
“It’s really to be the captain of the ship, to guide the content of the show, work with the talent,” Bonnell says.
Viewers will hear the voices of Kirk Heirbstreet and Sean McDonough. Bonnell will be the voice they hear.
Bonnell says, “For me, to produce the game with Sean this weekend, because Sean and I went to school together. He used to come over to our house. My mom would cook us dinner.”
Those drives home were easy because Bonnell grew up just down the street.
“On Butterfield Circle in North Syracuse. Went to North Syracuse High School, which doesn’t exist anymore,” Bonnell tells NewsChannel 9. “I always wanted to be in sports broadcasting. I used to watch the Rose Bowl every year on January 1st, and I would say to myself, someday, I’m going to do that.”
He’s living that dream, having produced 12 Rose Bowl broadcasts, the College Football Championship and countless Saturday Night Football games. He’s earned at least 12 Emmys (Bonnell doesn’t count), many for his work on NBC’s broadcasts of the Olympics.
Rewards for a resume that does Central New York proud and finally brings Bonnell back to where it all began.
“I never thought I’d do a game here. It’s been a long time and it’s been great to be here,” Bonnell says.
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For more local news, follow Andrew Donovan on Twitter @AndrewDonovan