Rhonda Glenn, Pioneering Female Sportscaster, Dies at 68

AP Images
Glenn (right) with former U.S. women’s amateur golf champion Barbara Romack at the Pinehurst resort in June.

The 'SportsCenter' anchor and ABC Sports golf commentator most recently worked in communications for the U.S. Golf Association.

Rhonda Glenn, who became the first woman to serve as a fulltime sportscaster for a national network when she worked as an anchor for ESPN in 1981, has died. She was 68.

Glenn had been battling cancer and died Thursday night in a hospital in Gainesville, Fla., the Associated Press reported.

After ESPN, she spent 17 years as a golf historian and manager of media operations for the U.S. Golf Association before retiring in May 2013.

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“In addition to her many accomplishments, what we will miss most about Rhonda is her generosity of spirit, her passion for the game and the people who play it, as well as her kindness and humility,” said Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA, in a statement. “In many respects, she truly represented all that was best about our game.”

Glenn started her TV career in 1969 as a sports reporter in Norfolk, Va., in 1969 and handled her first SportsCenter broadcast for ESPN two years after the launch of the cable network. She often co-anchored with Chris Berman during her two-year stint there.

“The fact that I was on what you would call the ‘cutting edge’ really didn’t make an impact on me,” Glenn told ESPN in a profile published in 2013. “It wasn’t something I strived for. I never wanted to be the first, I just wanted the job.”

She also served as an ABC Sports golf commentator for 16 years.

Glenn, who learned to play golf in Palm Beach, Fla., competed in two U.S. Women’s Opens. She was honored by the Golf Writers Association of America in January 2014 with its William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to the game.

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