Childhood & Early Career
John Edward Bayless II was born on December 4, 1951, in Oklahoma City, U.S., to John Sr., who, along with his wife, ran the restaurant named 'Hickory House.' Soon after his birth, his father nicknamed him "Skip," referring to the "skipper of the ship." Since then, everyone began calling him ''Skip.''
His younger brother, Rick Bayless, is a celebrity chef, restaurateur, and TV personality. Bayless has a younger sister, too.
Bayless attended the 'Northwest Classen High School,' where he served as the president of the school's 'Fellowship of Christian Athletes' chapter. He ranked second and was the salutatorian in his graduating class of 1970. As a high-school topper, he was a member of the coveted 'National Honor Society.'
Bayless developed an interest in sports at an early age. He played baseball and basketball in his senior year. He represented his school at the 'Oklahoma Boys State' program.
He also worked at his family-owned restaurant but always focused on sports as his career choice.
While in school, Bayless was a letterman's club officer and wrote for his high-school newspaper sports column.
Bayless later attended the 'Vanderbilt University' through the 'Grantland Rice Scholarship.' A member of 'Phi Kappa Sigma' fraternity, he served as the sports director of the chapter. He also served as the editor of the university's student newspaper, 'The Hustler,' and in 1969, interned at ‘The Daily Oklahoma.'
Bayless graduated in 1974, majoring in English and history. Following this, he began his career as a sports journalist.
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Bayless began his career as a sports columnist for 'The Miami Herald.' In 1976, he joined the 'Los Angeles Times' as a sports investigative columnist. In that capacity, he investigated the media-hyped dispute between the 'Major League Baseball' team 'Los Angeles Dodgers' and its star player Steve Garvey and his celebrity wife, Cyndy.
Bayless also investigated Carroll Rosenbloom's (owner of the American football team 'Los Angeles Rams') decision of trying a new quarterback each week.
Bayless wrote for the sports column of 'The Dallas Morning News' for 3 years and then worked for the 'Dallas Times Herald.' Bayless's works caught the attention of 'The Wall Street Journal,' and he was hired to do a story for them.
Bayless used his skills as an investigative journalist for his first book, 'God's Coach: The Hymns, Hype, and Hypocrisy of Tom Landry's Cowboys.' Released in 1989, the book chronicled the journey of the 'National Football League' (NFL) team 'Dallas Cowboys.' The same year, he began working as a panelist on the ‘ESPN’ talk show 'The Sports Reporters,' hosted by Dick Schaap.
In 1991, Bayless began hosting a sports show on the Dallas radio station ‘KLIF.’ The show continued for 2 years. The following year, he participated in national sports debates for the 'Knights of the Roundtable' segments of 'NFL Prime Monday.'
Inspired by the comeback of 'Dallas Cowboys' with its 1993 'Super Bowl' victory, Bayless published his second book, 'The Boys: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys' Season on the Edge.' He then published the controversial 'Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the "Win or Else" Dallas Cowboys' (third in the 'Cowboys' book series), after the team won a 'Super Bowl' again.
Bayless then turned toward producing radio shows. He began with 'The Skip Bayless Show,' which he hosted from 1994 to 1996 for the Fort Worth radio station ‘KTCK’ ("the Ticket"). In 1996, his contract with the station was terminated after it was sold to ‘Cumulus Media.’
Around the time, Bayless made several guest appearances on ‘The Fabulous Sports Babe,' the debut show on 'ESPN Radio.' He then moved to Chicago, where he made appearances on the 'Sporting News Radio' program 'Coppock On Sports.'
In 1998, Bayless quit the 'Dallas Times Herald' to join the 'Chicago Tribune' as its chief sports columnist. For the next 2 years, he tried his luck in sports commentary, starting with significant golf championships for the ‘NBC’-owned 'Golf Channel.'
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He quit the 'Chicago Tribune' in July 2001 and began guest-hosting the syndicated radio program 'The Jim Rome Show.' Subsequently, he joined sports-show host Larry Beil for an 'ESPN Radio' weekend show.
In 2001 and 2002, Bayless became a regular guest on the 'Fox Sports Net' show 'The Last Word,' hosted by Jim Rome, and made several appearances on the 'Fox Sports' show 'The Best Damn Sports Show Period.'
In 2003, Bayless was a regular guest on Jim Rome's talk show 'Rome is Burning,' aired on ‘ESPN,’ and joined sports-show host Stephen A. Smith in the 'Old School/Nu Skool' debate segment of the ‘ESPN’ sports news program 'SportsCenter.'
The following year, Bayless worked as a full-time host on the ‘ESPN2’ morning show 'Cold Pizza,’ along with sports journalist Woody Paige. He also began writing columns for 'ESPN.com.'
Bayless, Paige, and Jay Crawford (another ‘ESPN journalist) appeared in cameo roles in the 2006 sports-themed film 'Rocky Balboa.'
From 2007 to 2016, Bayless was an analyst on the ‘ESPN’ talk show 'First Take.' In between, he took a break from writing for the network's website. However, he resumed in August 2012.
He appeared in 'Pony Excess,' part of the 2010 ‘ESPN’ docu-film series '30 for 30.' He was also featured in the 2011 ‘ESPNU’ documentary 'Herschel.'
In June 2016, Bayless filmed his final episode of 'First Take,' as his contract with the network expired. He then joined 'Fox Sports.'
From September 2016, he, along with Shannon Sharpe, hosted the talk show 'Skip and Shannon: Undisputed' for 'Fox Sports 1.'
Awards & Honors
In 1977, his report on the 'Triple Crown' victory of the American Thoroughbred racehorse “Seattle Slew” earned him the 'Eclipse Award' for ‘Outstanding Newspaper Writing.’
In 1979, 1984, and 1986, the 'National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association' voted Bayless the ''Texas Sportswriter of the Year.''
While he was at the 'Chicago Tribune,' the 'Chicago Headline Club' awarded him the 'Lisagor Award' for excellence in sports column writing.
The 'National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association' voted him the ''Illinois Sportswriter of the Year'' in 2000.
In 2008, Bayless was inducted into the 'Oklahoma City Wall of Fame.' The following year, he became part of the 'Vanderbilt Student Media Hall of Fame.'
In 2012, he earned a 'Sports Emmy Award' nomination for ‘Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Analyst.’ The same year, he shared the 'Webby People's Voice Award' with DJ Steve Porter, for their mashup video 'All He Does Is Win.'