Mike Pesca

Mike Pesca first reached the airwaves as a 10-year-old caller to a New York Jets-themed radio show and has since been able to parlay his interests in sports coverage as a National Desk correspondent  for NPR based in New York City.

Pesca enjoys training his microphone on anything that occurs at a track, arena, stadium, park, fronton, velodrome or air strip (i.e. the plane drag during the World's Strongest Man competition). He has reported from Los Angeles, Cleveland and Gary. He has also interviewed former Los Angeles Ram Cleveland Gary. Pesca is a panelist on the weekly Slate podcast “Hang up and Listen”.

In 1997, Pesca began his work in radio as a producer at WNYC. He worked on the NPR and WNYC program On The Media. Later he became the New York correspondent for NPR's midday newsmagazine Day to Day, a job that has brought him to the campaign trail, political conventions, hurricane zones and the Manolo Blahnik shoe sale. Pesca was the first NPR reporter to have his own podcast, a weekly look at gambling cleverly titled “On Gambling with Mike Pesca.”

Pesca, whose writing has appeared in Slate and The Washington Post, is the winner of two Edward R. Murrow awards for radio reporting and, in1993, was named Emory University Softball Official of the Year.

He lives in Manhattan with his wife Robin, sons Milo and Emmett and their dog Rumsfeld. A believer in full disclosure, Pesca rates his favorite teams as the Jets, Mets, St. Johns Red Storm and Knicks, teams he has covered fairly and without favor despite the fact that they have given him a combined one championship during his lifetime as a fully cognizant human.


5:02 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Louisville Triumphs Over Michigan 82-76

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 9:14 am



On a Tuesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Steve Inskeep is on a reporting trip this week in Venezuela. I'm David Greene in Washington.

The University of Louisville are the new champions of men's college basketball. They beat the University of Michigan Wolverines 82-to-76 last night in Atlanta. For the Cardinals, this victory was the finale to a post season that involved overcoming so many deficits.

Here's NPR's Mike Pesca.

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6:39 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Students Turn To Jumbotron To Watch Tourney In Georgia Dome

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 10:09 am



OK. People in Kentucky, don't call me a jinx, but there is the potential for some major celebrations in Louisville coming soon. Louisville is the school to beat in both the men's and women's college Division I basketball title games. The Lady Cardinals of Louisville will face Connecticut in the championship game Tuesday. We'll have more on that in a minute. First, it's Louisville against Michigan in tonight's men's final.

NPR's Mike Pesca reports from Atlanta, where some of the best seats don't always have the best view.

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7:11 am
Sat April 6, 2013

Always In The Zone, Syracuse Is Hard To Beat

Syracuse celebrates after the team's 55-39 win over Marquette, in Washington last Saturday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 11:08 am

Any recreational league basketball team, any police athletic league squad and every group of 8-year-olds who wear the same uniform are, on the first or second day of practice, introduced to the 2-3 zone defense.

The coach will say, "On defense, you two short guys stay near the foul line, and you three bigger kids, you go down near the basket. Put your hands up, and you're now playing the 2-3."

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6:40 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Why College Basketball So Celebrates The Semifinalists

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 12:33 pm



The NCAA men's basketball tournament resumes tomorrow. Louisville plays Wichita State and Syracuse faces Michigan. On the women's side, it's Louisville again. They're playing California. Notre Dame is playing Connecticut. These quartets of teams, of course, are known as the Final Four, and this stage in the tournament is a resume booster for teams and coaches. NPR's Mike Pesca ponders the question of why college basketball, unique among major team sports, celebrates the semi finalists.

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4:46 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Personality Of Each Coach Reflected In NCAA Men's Basketball Teams

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

To achieve a deep run in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, players have to be skilled and well-trained but also well-motivated.

3:44 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Deflections: The Unofficial Stat That Measures Success

Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals is adamant about recording his team's deflections. It seems to be paying off: The Cardinals have been doing well during the NCAA tournament.
Andy Lyons Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 12:08 pm

The Louisville Cardinals are among the teams dominating at this year's men's Division 1 NCAA basketball tournament, which resumes Thursday night. The team credits harassing, active defense for its wins.

But there's something else at work, too: deflections. The team puts a lot of stock in them, though deflections aren't an officially tracked statistic.

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8:13 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Rhymed Wrap: NCAA So Far, In A Poem

NPR's Mike Pesca rhymes his way through the 32 opening-round games of the NCAA basketball tournament.

4:31 am
Fri March 22, 2013

March Madness Report From Lexington, Kentucky

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:55 am


MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: And I'm Mike Pesca in Lexington, Kentucky where Marquette, Louisville, Butler and Colorado State all advanced. That was the big story for sure, but there was something else that had all the players talking. Other than the memories of a lifetime and the chance to keep living their dreams and all that, there was - as Jamil Wilson pointed out to this Marquette teammate Vander Blue - this amazing room they just walked by in the hallway.

JAMIL WILSON: It was, like, nuts. And me and Vander were, like, yo, we gotta see the locker room.

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5:39 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

College Basketball Teams Hope For More Money By Leaving Big East Conference

For years, the Big East conference has been an elite force in men's college basketball. That ends this weekend. Realignment has dramatically transformed the Big East, as major powerhouse teams are moving on to other conferences.

5:38 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Jimmie Johnson Wins Daytona 500 For 2nd Time

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 2:10 pm



Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 yesterday, only his second career victory. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: It was his second win at Daytona.] And he made it past Danica Patrick, the first woman to ever win the pole position with the fastest qualifying time. She finished eighth. NPR's Mike Pesca was at the race.

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