Fox Sports pulls plug on Craig James

Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Craig James era at Fox Sports Southwest will be a short one. has learned that the veteran broadcaster will no longer appear on the network. Fox Sports executives were not happy with the hire by the regional network, according to sources, and the hire had not been fully vetted at the highest levels of Fox Sports management. A formal agreement had not been finalized, even though James appeared on FSS on Saturday night.

“Craig James will not be making any further appearances on Fox Sports Southwest’s football coverage this season,” said a Fox Sports spokesperson, when asked for a comment.

Last week Fox Sports Southwest announced James was being brought on as a college football studio analyst to work FSS’s college football post-game shows and appear on segments of Fox Sports Southwest’s Big 12 wrap-up show.


Local broadcaster Craig James joins Fox Sports Southwest

Former SMU and NFL tailback Craig James has joined FOX Sports Southwest as a college football studio analyst, it was announced on Friday by FOX Sports Southwest Senior Executive Producer Mike Anastassiou.

James, a member of SMU’s famed Pony Express backfield, will offer analysis on FOX Sports Southwest’s college football postgame shows this fall following primetime games on Saturdays. He’ll be paired with host Erin Hartigan and former NFL quarterback Tony Banks.

The veteran sports broadcaster will also appear on segments of FOX Sports Southwest’s BIG 12 LIVE wrap-up show.

“We’re excited to add Craig to the FOX Sports Southwest team,” Anastassiou said. “He’s a talented broadcaster who I’ve admired throughout his career. His knowledge of college football and the experience he brings as an analyst will be a tremendous asset to our coverage.”

James has an extensive sports broadcasting career that began in 1989 and has included stints as a college football studio analyst for CBS and ESPN. He also has worked as an NFL and college football game analyst for CBS, college football game analyst for ABC/ESPN, sports anchor at KDFW-TV in Dallas and radio analyst on SMU football games.

At SMU he teamed with Eric Dickerson to form the famed “Pony Express.” He played for the USFL’s Washington Federals from 1983-84 and the NFL’s New England Patriots from 1984-88. He was the Patriots’ Rookie of the Year in 1984 and Most Valuable Player in 1985, in addition to being named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 1985. James started in the 1986 Pro Bowl and in Super Bowl XX.

In addition to his role on the FOX COLLEGE FOOTBALL POSTGAME SHOW, James also will offer insight on segments of BIG 12 LIVE.

BIG 12 LIVE will air Saturdays at 11 p.m. CT and will feature highlights and commentary from the day’s Big 12 games.

Ric Renner hosts the one-hour show with College Football Hall of Famer and former New York Giants linebacker Gary Reasons and correspondent Matt Mosley.

The shows will be carried on FOX Sports Southwest, FOX Sports Oklahoma and FOX Sports New Orleans, which combined reach over 10 million cable and satellite television households in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

The FOX COLLEGE FOOTBALL POSTGAME SHOW also will be made available to FSN regional networks across the country.

Wayne Richard’s interviews with U.S. Senate candidates Craig James, Tom Leppert

The Wayne Richard Show on 1190 AM recently interviewed two of the underdog candidates in the race for the U.S. Senate seat from Texas. The show runs from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturdays on KXFR 1190 AM in North Texas. Click on the links to listen.

Quick info on Craig James

Quick info on Tom Leppert

Other recent Wayne Richard Show interviews

Cathie Adams, Eagle Forum

Jeran Akers, Jeff Leach on race for State Rep 67

Matt Beebe, State Rep. candidate vs. Joe Straus

Wayne Christian, State Rep

Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs

Kelly Shackelford, Liberty Institute

Nathan Sheets, North Dallas Honey Co. on bees

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But his fellow Republicans have questions about his candidacy

The Houston Chronicle is reporting this morning …

Houston Chronicle

Craig James  has never run for public office, but he has no doubt why he is a Republican candidate to replace U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. “I don’t want to seem weird and like a spiritual freak,” he said last week over a cup of coffee in Austin, “but I really believe God placed it on my heart to do this.”

With flashing ice-blue eyes and a no-huddle, hurry-up approach to life, the 51-year-old former SMU football star and ESPN football analyst seems to be a man on a mission, although his garrulous, good-humored personality leavens the zeal a bit.
James himself wondered whether God had the right number when he first heard the call a couple of years ago. He said he asked his minister how he was supposed to know whether it really was a call from above.

James recalled his answer: “ ’Craig, what I’ve found is, if it’s my idea, after two or three or four days, it goes away.’ And it wouldn’t go away for me.”

God may move in mysterious ways, but a number of James’ fellow Republicans also have questions about his candidacy.

They wonder what niche the rookie candidate fills in a race that includes an establishment candidate with $200 million of his own money to spend in Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst; a fiery tea party favorite in former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz; and a well-funded North Texas favorite son in former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert. Recent polls show James, who joined the race at the last minute, with 2 percent support statewide.

“I’ve never met him, which seems odd,” said Jonathan Neerman, former Dallas County Republican Party chairman. “I had heard of his interest a couple of years ago, but I sort of laughed it off. It’s hard to see where his base of support is.”

James’ backers include two of Rick Perry’s longtime financial supporters, Houston investor Jim Lee and Dallas insurance executive Roy Bailey, who supported former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s presidential bid in 2008.

Lee, who helped raise money for Perry’s presidential campaign, is one of three founding partners on Texans for a Better America, a nonprofit James set up last April to promote conservative policies. James also is a board member at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a think tank with pervasive influence over Texas Republicans.

Known for football

James’ politics generally are in line with the ultraconservative views of his fellow GOP hopefuls, but it’s his football persona that still predominates – and polarizes.

A high-school football phenom, he led Stratford to the 1978 4A championship, and then teamed with fellow running back Eric Dickerson as part of SMU’s fabled “Pony Express.” Although the Mustangs won two Southwest Conference championships, the team was found guilty of repeated rules infractions.

In 1987, the NCAA levied the so-called “death penalty” for payments to players from wealthy alumni and supporters. James has maintained that he was not involved.

After a professional career with the Washington Federals of the United States Football League and the New England Patriots, James joined ESPN and ABC. He also got involved in ranching and communications. More recently, he has been involved in a high-profile squabble involving his son Adam, formerly a football player at Texas Tech, and Mike Leach, the winningest coach in Red Raider history. James accused Leach of forcing his son to sit in a dark equipment shed during practice after being diagnosed with a concussion.

Defendant in suit

Leach denied mistreating the younger James, but lost his job over the incident. Recently named head coach at Washington State University, he is suing Tech and has named Craig James as a defendant.

“Mitt Romney will take less heat for Bain Capital closing whole factories than Craig James is already facing for how he got one football coach fired,” Democratic political consultant Jason Stanford wrote recently.

Neerman agreed. “Tech has a huge alumni base of support around the state,” he said. “Plus, I would guess he has zero support west of Fort Worth.”

Not so, says James, who insists he has supporters in Lubbock and West Texas. “I look at it like this,” he said. “I supported our son against a bullying act, bottom line – nothing more, nothing less. For anyone who doesn’t get that and wouldn’t support their son or child in a bullying act, in an unheard-of act, I don’t care for them. I don’t want their vote. Keep their vote.”

Unfamiliar with issues

James is a forceful and articulate speaker, but as he morphs into a politician his communication skills are thin cover for an unfamiliarity, for now, with the issues. At a candidate forum last week, he came out strongly – for freedom.

“I will never, never back down in fighting for freedom,” he declared. Beside him, Dewhurst wondered whether anyone would disagree.

James, who likes to say he lives on “real street,” also declared, “What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong, and it’s never right to do wrong.”

At the Texas Association of Business-sponsored forum, James voiced support for eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education. He also echoed his rivals’ support for cutting the number of weeks individuals can receive unemployment benefits.

‘I’m still standing’

Two qualities, James insisted, distinguish his candidacy – his experience as a private-sector employer and his determination in the face of adversity.

“I’ve been kicked in the backside, and I’ve been hit in the mouth,” he said. “I don’t have to have someone explain, ‘Hey man, I bet it really hurts to get hit in the mouth.’ I’ve been hit in the mouth, I’ve been on the ground. I had to get up off the ground, physically as well as emotionally, and I’m still standing.”

Joe Holley writes for the Houston Chronicle.

James ready to kick out skunks in Washington

By Brian Bearden
U.S. Senate candidate Craig James told the Mark Davis’ WBAP radio show audience Wednesday that he is in the race to kick the skunks out of the bushes.

James, the underdog from Celina, Texas, who left ESPN to join a crowded Republican Party race led by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, said he is prepared to debate the candidates Thursday night at the downtown Hilton in Austin and get started on a campaign tour across Texas.

At 7 p.m., Jan. 12, Empower Texans and the Texas Public Policy Foundation will co-host the first debate of the Texas Republican U.S. Senate candidates. Along with Dewhurst and James, former Solicitor General for Texas Ted Cruz, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and funeral director Glenn Addison of Magnolia, Texas, have confirmed. They are running for the seat open with Sen. Kay Baily Hutchison retiring.

“I have been studying the issues, and I am confident that I can convey my message and passion in the debates,” James said, pointing out his friends say he has been debating for years as a college football broadcaster for ESPN. “I’m for the Constitution, family and God. I want to get out there and show my passion, my vision.”
James said that although there may be hard-feelings in Lubbock because football coach Mike Leach was forced to move on after an incident with James’ son who played for Texas Tech, James believes he can pick up votes in West Texas and across the state. James said he has two of the top fund-raisers on his team, and his campaign has been building an organization.
“Our polling shows that statewide voters in this race are undecided,” James said. “I am a businessman, a rancher and a real estate guy. I understand what it is like to run a business in this economy. When you have been in it on the front end, signing checks, you understand that something needs to be done. We need to kick the skunks out of the bushes.
“[In Lubbock], you would be surprised there are a lot of friends I do have there. There is been some water under the bridge. We supported our son against an evil act. I understand there are some who don’t understand it. They weren’t in my shoes.”

James wants to be part of a conservative wave that transforms Washington D.C.
After watching Gov. Mitt Romney win Iowa and New Hampshire, James said Republicans need bold leaders.
“If the nominee is going to be Gov. Mitt Romney, I hope he is bold enough to go up there and kick the skunks out, too,” James said. “We can’t keep sending career politicians to Washington D.C. … I want people to get involved and go vote.”
James said he believes President Barack Obama wants to turn the United States into a European-style, welfare-state socialist country.
“If I wanted it, I would move across the big ‘pond’ to Europe,” James said.
James told Davis that fund-raising has been picking up as voters become aware of his campaign.
“Well, would you like to send in some?” James asked. “The money will come.” reports this is what James is up against:

Ted Cruz, tea party

Individual Contributions: $2,753,833
Candidates Loans: $70,000
Unique Donors/Contributors: 2,217
Facebook Friends/Fans: 68,740
Twitter Followers: 18,048

David Dewhurst
Individual Contributions: $2,456,934
Candidates Loans: $2,000,000
Unique Donors/Contributors: 1,157
Facebook Friends/Fans: 25,393
Twitter Followers: 5,702

Tom Leppert
Individual Contributions: $2,462,297
Candidates Loans: $2,600,000
Unique Donors/Contributors: 1,681

More on Craig James:

More on what happened at Texas Tech, what others are saying

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WFAA TV: Brad Watson asks Craig James about senate race

Brad Watson of Channel 8 interviewed Craig James of Celina about the senate race, and Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy weighed in on his candidacy this week. Take a look at Watson’s interview by clicking on VIDEO: Craig James interview with WFAA’s Brad Watson on senate race

Reid Cherner’s article on USA TODAY, Dec. 27:
Only in politics is it possible for a former football star turned national broadcaster be able to make the claim how connected they are to ordinary people.

But that is the way Craig James will be trying to make it to the Senate.

The former SMU and Patriots running back stepped down as an ESPN analyst to run for office in Texas. He’ll be in next year’s Republican primary.

“Washington is off its rails. I’m living on real street,” James, 50, said on Fox and Friends. “I understand this. For 30 years I’ve been in business. I’ve started jobs and created jobs. I understand the economy and our world. I want to take that fresh perspective of reality to Washington.”

And then, showing he can play both sides of the ball, James went negative on probable opponent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

“In the past, many times people have been able to use their wealth to buy a seat at the table in Washington. We have to change that,” James said. “Having governmental experience, being a career politician just doesn’t work. It’s why we’re in the pickle we’re in right now.”

Read what Kennedy has to say from Fort Worth: Bud Kennedy column on Craig James

How will Craig James’ candidacy play in Lubbock?

Here is a look back to a March 2011 story by James Clark for (Channel 11 Lubbock):
Click for full article

ESPN Commentator Craig James continues putting his toe in the water to see if he can successfully make a run for U.S. Senate to replace outgoing Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. 
James is best known in Lubbock as the father of Texas Tech football player Adam James. Many blame the  [Craig] James for pressuring Texas Tech to fire football Head Coach Mike Leach in December 2009 amid allegations that Leach abused Adam James.  Leach denies any abuse occurred.
[In March 2011] on WBAP radio in Dallas, [Craig] James took questions from host Mark Davis and radio station callers.  The premise of the interview was that James is considering a run for Senate, but Davis made it a point to ask a few questions about Texas Tech and the perception that James is partly responsible for Leach’s demise. 
Davis asked, “Is it your feeling that you got to make this Tech thing go away if you have the slightest hope of success?”
Craig James responded, “You know what? I guess because I’ve lived it for over a year and I’ve seen the reaction around the country, Mark. Obviously it was a big deal. People come up to me from all over the country and say, ‘Hey, thanks for standing up for your son.'”   
Davis also asked about possible support, or lack thereof, in Lubbock.  James was on record in January saying most folks in Lubbock supported him, but James says he was quoted out of context. 
James said, “Basically most folks in Lubbock and the good people of Lubbock understand the situation.  They understand supporting your son.”
Click for full article
On Wednesday, Dec. 21, Mark Davis of WBAP was talking about James’ candidacy said on his radio show with Bud Kennedy. …Davis said these one-liners to Kennedy: “The thing about Craig James is what does he bring to the race? … I’m not saying he [James] is Bin Laden, but 50 percent negatives? … The only person in the Senate race with [statewide] name recognition is David Dewhurst. … In the past year, what is the number of people that have come up to me and said they want to see Craig James in the Senate race, that number of people is zero. … Where is there room for him in a race that contains David Dewhurst, Tom Leppert and Ted Cruz? … “

More views in the media

Craig James running for senate

Heard it through the grapevine that former SMU Pony Express running back [B]Craig James[/B] plans to run for the Senate.

The McKinney Courier-Gazette reported in 2010 that James hinted on [B]Jeff Bolton’s[/B] KLIF 570-AM morning radio show that he may want to run.

James, the former Houston Stratford, SMU Mustangs, U.S.F.L. Washington Federals and New England Patriots star has been building his name as college football analyst on ESPN.

James, who lives north of Dallas in conservative Celina, Texas, will run as a Republican.

[B]Notable:[/B] Craig James and [B]Eric Dickerson[/B], the famed Pony Express, led SMU to a 7-3 Cotton Bowl victory over Pittsburgh in 1983. SMU plays Pitt in this season’s BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 7.

[I]The Idaho Stateman[/I] writes that running for office likely will at least temporarily take James off of ESPN. He has been heavily criticized since his involvement in the ouster of former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and recently for his evaluation of Boise State in [I]The Associated Press [/I]Top 25, where he has the Broncos ranked No. 23 — six spots lower than anyone else.

Craig James’ news comes just as former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert introduced his legendary endorsements.


Senator Craig James?

Former NFL and Southern Methodist University “Pony Express” running back Craig James, known for doing his homework as a football broadcaster, said Thursday morning on KLIF 570-AM that he has been encouraged to consider running for Senate one day.

James said that with no Senate seat open to run for he has been approached and research is under way to determine what it would take to run and win.

“If, and, or when a Senate seat opens, I have been encouraged to run and get in the game and make a difference,” James said when asked by Dallas’ KLIF morning show host Jeff Bolton.

James, an ESPN college football broadcaster, was weighing in as part of a group on the morning show discussing Wednesday night’s State of the Union speech by President Barack Obama.

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