Doris Burke, a sports broadcasting trailblazer still shattering barriers today, is the Association for Women in Sports Media’s 2021 recipient of the Mary Garber Pioneer Award.
Burke’s distinguished role as a basketball television and radio analyst for ESPN has made her one of sports media’s most admired professionals. In 2017, she became the first woman in a national television role to serve as a regular NBA analyst. She broke another barrier during last season’s NBA playoffs, becoming the first woman to serve as the game analyst on a network television or radio broadcast during the conference finals and finals.
“What an incredible honor to win the Mary Garber PioneerAward from AWSM,” Burke said. “To be included amongst the previous winners and chosen by fellow media members is truly humbling. Mary Garber is one of many women who have helped pave the way for all of us.”
The AWSM Pioneer Award is the latest in a long list of honors for Burke. She became the first female broadcaster to receive the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Media Award in 2018, which is given annually to media members who have made outstanding contributions to basketball. That same year, she became the first woman to receive the NSMA National Sportscaster of the Year Award.
The Pioneer Award, AWSM’s highest honor, has been given annually since 1999 to individuals who have distinguished themselves in the sports media field while reflecting and advancing the values and mission of AWSM. The award was named in 2006 for Garber, one of the industry’s original pioneers.
Burke is an AWSM member who has been a guest speaker for student chapters, has assisted numerous AWSM members and is widely known as an advocate for women in the field.
“I’m thrilled AWSM is recognizing Doris Burke, a talented broadcaster who has shattered barriers throughout her impressive career,” AWSM chair Iliana Limón Romero said. “Doris has earned the respect of the NBA and proven that women can thrive in the highest profile broadcast positions. She has been an advocate for women in sports media, frequently offering words of encouragement to our members despite a very busy schedule.”
Burke has been an industry pioneer for more than 20 years. She was the first woman to call a New York Knicks game on radio/television broadcast (2000) and to call a Big East men’s basketball game on television. She has covered basketball for ESPN since 1991 in sideline-reporter, analyst and other commentating roles across men’s and women’s college basketball and the NBA and WNBA.
Burke’s wide-ranging career also includes roles as the New York Liberty analyst for MSG Network, a women’s college basketball analyst forCBS Sports and Westwood One Radio, a Big East and Atlantic-10 women’s basketball analyst on the New England Sports Network and on the broadcast teams for the Atlantic-10 Men’s Basketball Network, the MAAC Women’s BasketballNetwork and the ECAC men’s and women’s basketball weekly telecasts.
Burke was also a radio play-by-play broadcaster for Providence College’s men’s and women’s basketball, and was a women’s basketball analyst with Penn State Television Network. Additionally, she wrote columns for Basketball Times Magazine and Eastern Basketball Magazine, and was a contributing writer for the Center for Sports Parenting website.
Burke’s immense basketball knowledge stems from a record-setting playing career at Providence College. She finished her career as the school’s and conference’s all-time assists leader, set the school’s single-season record for assists and set the school’s records most free throws in a career and single season. She was an assistant coach at Providence for two years before transitioning to broadcasting. She has been inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2005.