Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Kirk Herbstreit says prayer, weekly Bible study help him be 'more balanced'

When asked about the role faith plays in his life, ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“Everything,” he said while appearing on the “What’s Next?” podcast, hosted by former NFL Pro Bowl center Eric Wood. “I try to every day walk that path.”

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Herbstreit went on to share that he had been in a Bible study earlier that morning. The group meets every Thursday and is comprised of men from Herbstreit’s home state of Ohio and the Nashville area, where his family currently resides.

They are going through the Book of Acts and have a minister in the group helping to guide the conversation. Herbstreit said he sees a difference in his life when he’s spending time in fellowship with other Christians.

“I just feel so good when I get a chance to do that,” he said. “And I’m not just saying this to say this, but I feel like when I’m praying and I’m with my Bible study group, things just seem to be more balanced. I’m more patient. I’m more outgoing.”

A native of Centerville, Ohio, Herbstreit followed in his father’s footsteps by playing football at Ohio State from 1989 to 1993. They were the second father-son duo in program history to both serve as captains. Herbstreit became the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback for the 1992 season, throwing for 1,904 yards and leading the team to an appearance in the Citrus Bowl.

As he’s gotten older, Herbstreit has learned the dangers of having a “do it yourself” mentality — which he pointed to as a reason for his athletic and broadcasting success – when it comes to his faith.

“Sometimes, I have to guard against my own, like, ‘I can fix this, I can fix this problem, I can do this,'” he said. “There’s certain things, you know, you can’t, and you need to kind of let go and just pray about.”

Since joining ESPN in 1996, Herbstreit has filled a variety of roles. He currently serves as one of the analysts on “College Gameday” every Saturday morning during the college football season, and then calls the primetime game on ABC Saturday night.

Additionally, he makes regular appearances on ESPN’s College Football Playoff rankings shows throughout the season, and is part of the network’s NFL draft coverage team. He has also occasionally been the color commentator for special Monday Night Football broadcasts.

The chaotic nature of Herbstreit’s life in the fall can make it difficult for him to keep his faith at the forefront, he said. He admitted in the interview with Wood he has a tendency to hold his emotions in rather than sharing them with people around him.

The best solution, he’s found, is staying connected to God.

“I’m an introvert by nature, so I tend to kind of lock down and hold everything in, whether it’s frustration, or it’s pain, or it’s happiness,” Herbstreit said. “I’ll kind of lock down and I find when I’m in a good spot with my faith, that stuff seems to kind of just let go a little bit for me.”

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