In Memoriam: Former ESPN/ABC Sports Executive, Loren Matthews

Former ESPN and ABC Sports Executive, Loren Matthews (ESPN Images)

Former ESPN and ABC Sports Executive, Loren Matthews (ESPN Images)

Loren Matthews, who retired from ESPN as ABC Sports’ senior vice president for programming in 2006, passed away Friday night. He was 65.

“Loren Matthews was instrumental in the success and growth of ESPN,” said ESPN Executive Vice President, Production, John Wildhack a long-time colleague of Matthews. “Loren’s programming expertise was second to none. Equally important was the high degree of integrity, passion and loyalty Loren displayed throughout his career.”

Matthews joined the network in 1980, less than a year after its launch, as its Director of Broadcast Promotions. He was promoted to vice president of programming in 1986 and two years later was named senior vice president of programming. He went on to serve in executive roles with ESPN’s Regional Television (formerly Creative Sports, Inc.) and ABC Sports. The 2006 Super Bowl was Matthews’ last event with the company.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon and three children, Scott, Brett and Amanda. Scott is currently a producer for ESPN.

Under Matthews’ direction, ESPN programming grew to encompass more than 4,500 hours of original programming per year, featuring 65 sports and he was recognized for his leadership by several organizations including:

In 1999, he was selected the All American Football Foundation’s inaugural Sports Television “Executive of the Year.”
In 1992, The Sporting News named him one of “The 100 Most Powerful People in Sports”
In 1992, Sports Illustrated included him in its college basketball Universe of Stars
In 1991, the American Baseball Coaches Association honored him for his “outstanding contributions to collegiate baseball”
In 1990, Baseball America named him one of “10 to watch in the 90′s”
In 1990, Sport magazine named him among “15 Baseball People Every Fan Should Know”
In 1988, Sports, Inc. magazine listed Matthews as one of the top “powers” in college basketball.

Prior to joining ESPN, Matthews served as Director of Promotions for the New York Mets Baseball Club from 1976-79. Previously, Matthews served as Assistant Director of Promotions and Public Address Announcer for the Mets from 1970-1976.

Matthews was an alumnus of Northeastern University. Matthews was a supporter of children’s hospitals and animal rescue groups. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to:
- St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
- Levine Children’s Hospital (Charlotte, NC)
- North Shore Animal League America
- Second Chance Rescue (Rock Hill, SC)