Like father, like son: After thee years at ESPN, Jac Collinsworth is returning to NBC Sports, where his father does Sunday Night Football, television's No. 1 primetime show.
While a student a Notre Dame, Jac worked for NBC as the network's first social media correspondent at the 2016 Rio Olympics, interviewing athletes for the Olympic Late Night with Ryan Seacrest team. He also worked on NBC's sideline production team for Fighting Irish football games (2013-17), and was NBC's sideline reporter for the Notre Dame Blue-Gold spring football game (2016-17).
"For as long as I can remember my dad has been my coach. Now we're teammates. Life doesn't get much better than that. It feels good to be home," Jac said in the NBC announcement Wednesday.
After earning a degree in film, television and theatre in 2017, Jac joined ESPN as a Sunday Countdown features reporter, specializing in revealing personality profiles of players and coaches. He also anchored NFL Live and hosted Sunday NFL Countdown segments. Last July, he was named host of The Huddle on ESPN's ACC Network.
Before going to the 2016 Summer Olympics, Jac described his career goals to me this way: "I definitely like the sports side of things, but I have a passion for entertainment as well. I'll take the best option. I have a tough time sitting still. But for me, it's never been work. Storytelling is my passion."
Specific assignments were not announced Wednesday, but NBC Sports says that Jac will been seen on "a wide range of NBC Sports properties, including the Olympics, NFL and Notre Dame Football, on linear and digital platforms."
Here's a 2015 profile of Jac at Notre Dame by Mary Carillo for HBO's Real Sports, which includes him interviewing his older brother/football star player Austin.
"We saw the potential for Jac to become a unique television personality when we worked with him as a college student, and his most recent reporting, interviewing and storytelling reinforced that thinking,” said Sam Flood, executive producer and president for production at NBC and NBC Sports Network. "Having worked many games and events over three decades with Cris, we’ve decided not to hold that against Jac."
Jac is the youngest son of Cris and Holly Collinsworth of Fort Thomas, Ky. His sister Katie Collinsworth Hughes also works for NBC, as business marketing manager for GolfNow, a division of NBC's Golf Channel. Austin was a Notre Dame team captain. Sister Ashley was captain of the Harvard University women's track team.
Jac started in broadcasting as a Highlands High School freshman taking a media class. He operated cameras for the monthly news shows until, as he puts it, someone said "his father does this for a living, let's have him sit at the desk."
That led to doing the school announcements. "We did a five-minute daily show – we wanted to make it as good as possible. It was five minutes of entertainment during the school grind," he says.
He followed Austin to Notre Dame, where he was "was very interested in doing things on the digital landscape." He flourished there.
According to the NBC Sports announcement: "While in South Bend, Collinsworth created, produced and hosted a weekly ND Live digital series focused on the Notre Dame Football team. For three years, he filed weekly player features for head coach Brian Kelly’s nationally-syndicated television show, Inside Notre Dame Football, and was featured on Showtime’s A Season with Notre Dame Football, where he interviewed athletes on his weekly podcast. He also covered Notre Dame Pro Day in 2016 and 2017 for NFL Network. During his last two years of college, Collinsworth co-hosted The Student Section on Sirius XM."