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ESPN's Herbstreit sacrifices to watch sons play high school football

Kirk Herbstreit

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit welcomes viewers every Saturday morning to a day of college football. He does so on location at campuses across the country from Miami, Florida to Pullman, Washington.

Herbstreit has four sons, three of which play football for Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville. Every Friday he attends his son’s games.

“My favorite time of the week is Friday night watching my guys out there on the field,” Herbstreit said. “I just had to be there, and you only get one chance as a parent to be there for big moments in your kids' lives.”

Herbstreit’s commitment to attending his sons’ games requires major sacrifice for a man whose television program starts in less than eight hours by the time some games end.

After each game, Herbstreit goes to Nashville’s airport and catches a flight to the city where College Gameday is located that week. Later Saturday, he will fly to wherever he is calling a game. Often, he does it all on no sleep.

“He tells us great job, and then he goes straight to the airport. From there he goes to wherever the game day site is,” said Tye Herbstreit who plays receiver for the 11-1 MBA Big Red. “He's just another dad supporting his kid on the field.”

Last month after MBA got an overtime win against their rival Brentwood Academy, Herbstreit celebrated with his sons and then took a cross-country flight to Pullman, Washington, where Washington State University is located. After College Gameday, he flew to Indiana to broadcast a Purdue game. His son Jake recounts his dad saying he was too wired after MBA’s win to sleep that night.

“He decided he couldn't sleep that night. He just went straight into the set and just did his thing which is crazy to me,” said Jake Herbstreit, Tye’s twin brother and starting safety.

“It's surreal. It's so nice for him to be able to do that for us. It's just a part of who he is.”

Montgomery Bell Academy will take on Brentwood Academy again Friday as both teams fight for a birth in the state championship. Kirk will be at the game, cheering on his sons, anxiously watching each play. Next year, his two twin senior boys will go to Clemson University to be preferred walk-ons on the football team.

“I'll have Zak playing [at MBA] as a junior, and Jake and Tye going over to Clemson. We'll have to cross that bridge when we get to it. These are all really good problems to have,” Herbstreit said Thursday. “My goal is to be there for anything I can be.”

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