THE LIVELY MORNING SPORTS TALK WITH THE DYNAMIC DUO OF MIKE GREENBERG AND MIKE GOLIC HAS TURNED OUT TO BE A BETTER WAKE-UP CALL THAN COFFEE AND A TRUE RISE AND SHINE ON THE RATINGS.
By Linda Marx | Photography By ESPN
Witty and bright, Mike & Mike co-hosts Mike “Greeny” Greenberg and Mike “Golic” Golic’s daily passion for sports is intoxicating and informative.
Not only is this pair of ESPN radio and television sports talkers energetic, fresh and well versed with new ideas on everything from football, basketball and baseball, to boxing, hockey and soccer, these co-hosts are also handsome and filled with self-deprecating humor.
For four hours each weekday, from six to ten a.m. eastern time, their radio show is simulcast on ESPN 2, where they take turns talking and laughing at themselves with delight.
For example, on a recent show, Golic, 53, a burly former nine-year NFL defensive tackle who grew up in Cleveland and loves food, chowed down on the Harbaugh Breakfast Challenge, a mix of Fruit Loops and Grape G2, the low-calorie version of Gatorade. The purpose of the challenge, made by members of the University of Michigan Alumni Association, was to get Americans to eat cereal topped with Gatorade.
Greeny, 49, a 1989 graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, reporter, columnist and novelist, stayed away from the feast, eventually freaking out at Golic’s prodigious appetite.
“Oh, God, I can’t even watch this,” he yelled to the audience. “No! Stop! Stop! I’m begging you to stop. This is where you crossed the line, where you’re not even fully a human being anymore!”
On other shows, Golic, a 1985 Notre Dame graduate who was captain of the football team, gets his turn. The jock teases Greeny about using big words and sounding too cerebral. But their on-air rants are entertaining and in good fun.
“On the air we fight, but off the air we never have issues,” says Golic of their successful partnership. “That is because we never intertwine our lives. We have different interests. Our kids are at different stages and we don’t socialize off the air. We have never had a fight.”
For 15 years, Greeny and Golic have been a dream team for listeners because they greatly complement each other. Greeny is a health nut and germophobe while Golic doesn’t worry about his appetite for food and life. Both hosts are charming, polite and eager to please.
During the show, which is broadcast from Bristol, CT, they interview industry professionals, enlist guest co-hosts such as coaches, former players—NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter is a regular analyst—and other sports pundits who help dissect sports news and poke fun at the jocks who make the headlines.
Sports fans and non-fans alike who need a good laugh will be entertained by Greeny and Golic’s interpretation of the news and some of their zany shows such as Mike & Mike’s Marriage Madness, when 500 couples applied for the opportunity to be married on air.
The hosts also engage regular banter about their wives who offer valuable creative input. “Our wives are the biggest part of the show,” quips Golic, the father of three children. “They criticize us and offer ideas on how to improve. We listen.”
Adds Greeny, who has a teen-aged son and daughter, “When we go on the road to broadcast, our shows are packed with women. They like that we are respectful and not misogynists.”
The hosts are always eager to do road shows in good-weather cities such as New Orleans and Orlando because work and play are meshed into one great weekend. Golic loves the hot weather and the abundance of good food in New Orleans; Greeny likes to take his family to Orlando where he has “great memories and pictures” from the Disney World options and other related fun.
But wherever they land, be it Phoenix, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Boston, New York, or others, the crowds gather and applaud. Over the years, these national excursions outside of Connecticut have become very successful.
In fact, their out-of-town event coverage is another area where Mike & Mike have been able to boost their celebrity status and value to ESPN, a network chock-full of super star commentators. Whenever they mingle with the masses, the co-hosts sit in the winner’s circle.
They have been stadium announcers for Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby (2013-2014). They served as guest emcees at the White House Tee Ball game on the South Lawn and attended the official White House dinner (2008). They were even heard over the radio in the 2010 film Valentine’s Day and appeared briefly on screen the same year in the romantic comedy Just Wright.
But one of the most endearing appearances was when Greeny and Golic were “guest conductors” at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The hosts were leading Cubs fans in singing the crowd pleaser Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the seventh inning stretch. They also announced and played in the Legends game at New York’s Yankee Stadium (2008) and in St. Louis (2009).
The guys keep a strong fitness schedule and go to bed early so they are in good shape for all of their activity related to the show and to their personal interests. Golic exercises three to four times a week on the treadmill, in the company of his wife Christine. He also bikes and lifts weights. Greeny uses an elliptical stationery exercise machine thirty-three minutes a day, four to five days a week. He also does yoga with his wife Stacy both in the house and away at classes.
But Greeny finds time for his regular passion of writing. In 2007, he published his first book, Why My Wife Thinks I’m An Idiot, a humorous romp about his day-to-day existence as s sports fan and husband, which was on the New York Times Best Seller list and also nominated for a Quill Award. In 2010, he and Golic released Mike & Mike’s Rules for Sports & Life, which jumped to number three on the New York Times Best Seller list.
In 2013, he published his first novel, All You Could Ask For, a tribute to a family friend who lost her battle with breast cancer. The novel was written from the perspectives of three women, strangers who confront cancer and find each other during this time. The Greenbergs donated the proceeds from the book to the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
His second novel, My Father’s Wives, a story about one man’s search to understand his father, as well as himself, came out earlier this year. “I love doing the show and writing fiction after work,” says Greeny, who drives about two hours from his home to get to the station each day. “As soon as the bell rings and the show is over, I head home and write.”
As for Golic, who hopes to get into calling games from the booth and maybe move to Arizona, he is still as excited as Greeny to wake up each morning for the show.
“We both love sports, the new technology which keeps things fresh, our audiences and our families,” says Golic. “We hope to be hosting Mike & Mike for many years to come.”