From high school, to college, to the pros, Pittsburgh sports figures were part of a virtual sports roundtable discussion held Tuesday evening.
Discussions centered around the effect COID-19 has had on sports and how they can make a comeback moving forward.
KDKA Radio's Larry Richert served as moderator and the panelists included ESPN analyst and former Pittsburgh Steeler Merril Hoge, MLB Network analyst Sean Casey, University of Pittsburgh Athletic Director Heather Lyke, Jennifer Hawkins - Executive Director/ Sports Pittsburgh, Frank Velasquez of Allegheny Health Network Sports Performance, Shawn McClintock - General Manager/ AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, Michael Spacciapolli - Senior VP & Market Manager/ Entercom, and Eric Kasperowicz - Head Football Coach/ Pine-Richland High School.
Merril Hoge is confident that the NFL will play this season, but says there is a potential drawback. "Now what would be unfortunate, if it ends up being like this, is that the fans can’t be a part of it -- and obviously, the fans matter.”
Pitt AD Healther Lyke said they're taking things in stages. "We brought our first group of staff back a week ago, and that’s primarily our executive staff and all of our head coaches and all of the football coaches, in order to prepare for our student-athletes to come back." She continued, "We’ve created sort of a phased-in approach for our staff and student-athletes to return -- hopefully safely and with all kinds of protocols in place.”
Pine-Richland High School Head Football Coach Eric Kasperowicz said they lost of a lot time together due to the pandemic. “We’re used to being together four or five days a week and two or three hours a day -- building relationships, lifting weights and training, doing stuff in the classroom. That’s a lot of time lost. So, we’ve had to get creative over the past few months. You still want to give your team what they need to be successful.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented change to our daily lives -- including how we participate in sports and consume sports,” said Megan Baker, president and CEO of Baker Public Relations. “The goal of this roundtable was to discuss how the sports world can rebound from the effects of the pandemic and what changes lie ahead as we emerge from the crisis. The panel of experts we assembled did a fantastic job, sharing information and shedding light on a very complex situation. We’re grateful to them for their time and contributions.”
Baker Public Relations hosted the roundtable.