JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell will join News4JAX as a sports reporter, analyst and insider, WJXT Vice President and General Manager Bob Ellis announced Wednesday.
Brunell will join the station in his new capacity next Friday, while at the same time continuing as head football coach at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
“With Mark’s background as a professional athlete and unmatched perspective, we are redefining sports coverage in Jacksonville,” Ellis said. “Jacksonville sports fans are savvy. They have been asking us for a new approach to our coverage of sports. Mark’s enthusiasm, fresh perspective, and ability to tell our viewers why the teams won or lost as a former player is something you just can’t get anywhere else. Sure, we’ll show highlights, but with Mark we’ll be able to tell you why the plays worked or didn’t. Our viewers will now get an entirely new level of coverage in sports on News4JAX commensurate with what they’ve come to expect from all parts of our television station.”
A former analyst at ESPN, Brunell will add anchoring to his duties for the station, handling the 6, 10 and 11 p.m. sports reports during parts of the year. He will continue his popular Monday Morning Quarterback segments each Monday after Jaguars games on the top-rated morning news in town.
“The idea that we’re going to be re-defining sports coverage in local newscasts is very exciting to me,” said Brunell. “Wherever I go in the community, people always ask me for the story behind why our team won or lost. I’ll now be able to share that information on TV regularly on the best local television station in Jacksonville. I’m thrilled to be at a news organization willing to think about how fans want information on their favorite teams and develop an innovative approach to provide it.”
Brunell will also continue his weekly column for News4Jax.com. The Mark Brunell Show, co-hosted by Cole Pepper, at 7 p.m. Mondays will return for a second season in late August, expanding to an hour. It will again be broadcast in front of a live audience each week from Sneakers Sports Grille in Jacksonville Beach. Mark will also conduct special interviews with coaches and players throughout the year and report live from big events including the NFL Draft, NFL Combine and Super Bowl.
Teamed with Cole Pepper and Brian Jackson, Brunell will also help sharpen the station’s focus on covering local sports that matter most to viewers -- especially at the high school level. As head football coach at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville, he understands the caliber of kids participating in high school better than just about anyone in town.
“We have great athletes at the high school level in Jacksonville who are even better kids," Brunell said.
"We need to tell their stories, and not just football. Let’s share the great achievements in track and tennis, swimming and soccer, all high school sports, men and women. We need to get to these campuses more regularly, talk to these kids, and celebrate their incredible accomplishments.”
“Our commitment to local sports has never been stronger than it is right now. That’s what being The Local Station is all about," Ellis said. "With Mark now here regularly, we’ll have additional announcements coming about plans for more special events and coverage of local sports. Things no one has ever done in Jacksonville, things viewers have been asking us to do for years."
Brunell was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 1993 NFL Draft after a stellar career at the University of Washington. He was acquired by the Jaguars in 1995 and quickly became the team’s starting quarterback. A three-time Pro-Bowl selection, he led the team to the playoffs three times in the Jaguars first four seasons of play, including twice to the AFC Championship Game. Brunell holds 36 Jaguar team records, including the most touchdown passes in team history. In 2013, he was inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars, the team’s Hall of Fame equivalent. He also won the 2010 Super Bowl as a member of the New Orleans Saints.