When someone mentions the name “Mike Golic, Sr.,” images of the popular, long-running ESPN morning sports talk show Mike & Mike probably come to mind.
Golic is, after all, one of the most respected figures in the sports media industry.
However, there’s more—much more—to Mike Golic, Sr. than that.
Golic was one of the more prominent names during the Gerry Faust era at Notre Dame in the early-to-mid-1980s.
He also shored up a Philadelphia Eagles defense that terrorized offenses in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
During his six-year stint in Philly, Golic played alongside legends such as Randall Cunningham, Cris Carter, Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Seth Joyner, Wes Hopkins, and Andre Waters.
Although Mike Golic, Sr. was never a Pro Bowl defensive lineman, he arrived during a memorable stretch in Philadelphia Eagles’ franchise history.
Michael Louis “Mike” Golic, Sr. was born to parents Bob and Dorothy in Willowick, OH on December 12, 1962. Mike is the youngest of three brothers. The Golic family is of Slovenian descent.
Football runs deep in the Golic bloodline. Bob Golic played in the Canadian Football League (CFL) from 1956 to 1962. He was an offensive lineman who suited up for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, and Saskatchewan Roughriders. He worked as a bricklayer after he retired from the gridiron.
Mike’s eldest brother, also named Bob, was a three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle who played fourteen seasons in the National Football League from 1979 to 1992, including seven seasons for their hometown Cleveland Browns from 1982 to 1988.
When Mike was growing up, he shared a room with his second brother, Greg. Bob had his own room because his younger brothers were closer in age.
Their parents didn’t set a specific time for supper because the brothers’ sports-related activities often got in the way. As the years went by and the Golic brothers grew bigger, their mother Dorothy implored them to move the furniture around so they don’t end up breaking anything.
Mike Golic, Sr. told the Mike Vaccaro in the Front Row podcast in the summer of 2022 that he and his brothers became competitive swimmers when they were around six or seven years old.
Golic fell in love with the gridiron when he watched his older brother Bob play little league football in Northeast Ohio. Their dad was one of Bob’s coaches. He allowed young Mike to tag along.
“That was how I got introduced to football, and I knew as soon as I was old enough to try it, that was something I wanted to do,” Golic told USA Football’s Eric Moreno in the fall of 2015.
Villa Angela-St. Joseph Academy (Cleveland, OH)@VASJFootball
Desmond Howard ’88 (St. Joseph)
London Fletcher ’93
Bob Golic ’75 (St. Joseph)
Mike Golic ’81 (St. Joseph)
Elvis Grbac ’88 (St. Joseph) pic.twitter.com/EE2u3K5LqG
— Prep2ProDB (@Prep2ProDB) December 16, 2021
The elder Bob Golic was a former Marine who told his three sons that cutting corners was never an option. They had to work hard and make sacrifices if they wanted to get ahead in life.
Mike and his brothers eventually helped their father construct chimneys and building steps during their grade school days. They realized the importance of working hard at a young age.
Wrestling in High School
Mike attended St. Joseph High School in his hometown of Cleveland, OH.
When The Plain Dealer’s Bill Lubinger asked Golic in the spring of 2010 what his greatest disappointment in sports was, it wasn’t on the gridiron. Without hesitation, Golic said his biggest sports-related heartache happened on the high school wrestling mat.
Golic hoped he could win a state title in wrestling just like his older brother, Bob. Golic went up against Salem High School’s Kirk Lowdermilk, a future NFL offensive lineman who spent a combined twelve seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts from 1985 to 1996.
It was a prelude to Golic’s and Lowdermilk’s battles in the pro football ranks.
Golic was in command in the early going of the match. However, Lowdermilk pulled off a last-second maneuver that pinned Golic and made him state champion in wrestling.
“It was a stunner,” Golic told Lubinger. “I was beating him. I took him down, let him up, took him down and let him up, and then all of a sudden I went to take him down, he got behind me and I, like, pulled off the biggest choke of my life.”
Golic shook off the disappointment and focused on the gridiron instead. He excelled with the St. Joseph Vikings football team in high school and eventually committed to one of the best college football programs in the country: the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
College Days with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Mike Golic, Sr. attended the University of Notre Dame from 1981 to 1984. He majored in finance and management.
When Mike set foot on South Bend, IN soil as a true freshman in 1981, Bob had graduated from Notre Dame just three years earlier.
In a first-person essay Mike Golic, Sr. wrote for ESPN nearly two decades later, he maintained he didn’t go to Notre Dame because of his older brother. Instead, he chose the school based on his own merits.
“I knew I got to Notre Dame because of my own achievements—not my brother’s,” Mike Golic, Sr. wrote.
Try as he might, Mike just could not shake the comparisons with his older brother. He remembered people at Notre Dame calling him “Bob” more than his brother’s contemporaries called him “Mike.” Whenever that happened, Mike politely corrected the individual who mistook him for his brother and moved on. He never felt any competitive jealousy toward Bob.
In His Brother’s Shadow
Mike admitted he got tired of people at Notre Dame singing his brother’s praises. However, he never got angry at them for mentioning his name. He just wished they would acknowledge him for his own achievements. There was no better way of doing that than in the classroom and on the college gridiron.
Mike, who played outside linebacker in college, chose to wear No. 55 in honor of his brother. Notre Dame’s athletics department listed Irish legends who wore particular jersey numbers on cards posted on the current players’ lockers. When Mike saw Bob’s No. 55, he beamed with pride.
All season long, @AlliHayesSports has been riding around campus with Notre Dame & broadcasting legend Mike @golic. This week, special guest @NDmom joined them on campus for a walk down memory lane. Watch this sweet story & more coming up on ABC57 Kickoff today from 10 am to noon pic.twitter.com/QhY8kDykJo
— ABC57 Kickoff (@ABC57Kickoff) October 23, 2021
Golic’s true freshman season coincided with Gerry Faust’s first year on the job as Notre Dame Fighting Irish head football coach. Faust, who replaced Dan Devine, had no previous coaching experience in the college football ranks. He had previously coached the Moeller Crusaders, a high school football team in Cincinnati, OH, from 1962 to 1980.
Golic joined a Fighting Irish roster that included future NFL stars Blair Kiel, Tony Hunter, Greg Bell, Chris Smith, and Larry Moriarty.
Notre Dame was an average football team with Faust at the helm. The Fighting Irish averaged six wins from 1981 to 1984. They made two bowl appearances during that four-year span. Notre Dame beat the 13th-ranked Boston College Eagles in the 1983 Fiesta Bowl, 19-18.
Golic met his future wife Christine, who had been a cheerleader in high school, during their college days. She attended St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame’s sister school located in Northern Indiana.
After Mike Golic, Sr. finished his four-year stint on the college gridiron in South Bend, IN, he embarked on a memorable nine-year career in the National Football League.
Pro Football Career
The Houston Oilers chose Mike Golic, Sr. as the 255th overall selection of the 1985 NFL Draft.
During Golic’s college days with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, he forged a tight friendship with his roommate, offensive lineman Mike Kelley. Little did they know their paths would cross again in the National Football League.
The Oilers selected Kelley 82nd overall in the 1985 NFL Draft. Houston drafted his best friend 173 selections later.
Golic told UPI’s Richard Luna several weeks later that he was shocked when the Oilers called him to inform him of his selection. Golic went on to play nine seasons for three teams in the pro football ranks. Sadly, Kelley suited up in a total of seventeen games for the Oilers from 1985 to 1987 before retiring.
Mike Golic, Sr. played outside linebacker for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during his college days out of necessity. They needed a reliable pass rusher who played that position.
When Golic entered the National Football League in 1985, Oilers’ head coach Hugh Campbell converted him into a defensive tackle. It turned out the feeling was mutual. Golic told UPI he loved being a defensive lineman.
In Golic’s two full seasons with the Oilers, they averaged just five wins per season. The Oilers had not tasted postseason football since legendary Houston head coach Bum Phillips left the organization at the end of the 1980 NFL campaign.
Golic signed with the Philadelphia Eagles midway through the 1987 NFL season. He became one of Eagles’ head coach Buddy Ryan’s stalwarts in his vaunted 3-4 defense.
Golic was part of a staunch Eagles defense that also featured Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Seth Joyner, Andre Waters, and Wes Hopkins.
On the other side of the ball, Philly had quarterback Randall Cunningham and wide receivers Cris Carter and Mike Quick. The Eagles’ roster was loaded from top to bottom.
During the pinnacle of Golic’s pro football career, his family sometimes ran into Kirk Lowdermilk during games. Lowdermilk was the guy who had beaten Golic in their Ohio high school state wrestling title match in 1980—the biggest disappointment of Golic’s sports career.
Christine Golic had grown tired of hearing about the match from other people in subsequent years. She grew so sick of it that she even asked Lowdermilk to grapple with her husband again so he could get over the stunning defeat, per The Plain Dealer.
A Taste of Broadcasting
Golic began his outstanding career in sports media when he played for the Philadelphia Eagles. He hosted the “Golic’s Got It” segment on The Randall Cunningham Show back in the day. Golic’s performance earned him rave reviews and a Mid-Atlantic Region Emmy Award.
Golic told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Reuben Frank in the spring of 2021 that his six years with the Eagles were the best of his nine-year pro football career.
Golic enjoyed the camaraderie among the Eagles. Free agency didn’t exist back then, so team rosters remained virtually intact back in the day. Players hung out together frequently off the gridiron.
“We legitimately liked each other and hung out with each other,” Golic told Frank. “Those are the times I won’t forget.”
Golic also told NBC Sports Philadelphia that Reggie White was the best defensive lineman he had ever seen play. On the other hand, Jerome Brown’s quick first step, Clyde Simmons’s hand movement on the defensive line, and Seth Joyner’s leadership got his attention.
With Golic beefing up Philly’s defensive line from 1987 to 1992, the Eagles became a perennial Super Bowl contender that averaged ten wins per season. Although they made four postseason appearances during that six-year span, they never made it past the NFC Divisional Round.
Mike Golic, Sr’s nine-year pro football career ended in controversial fashion with the Miami Dolphins during the 1993 NFL season.
Golic started off that season on a sour note. He sustained a partially-torn ligament in his knee in Week 1. Golic decided to tough it out and play in the Dolphins’ next fifteen games. He even started seven of Miami’s last eight games in 1993.
Consequently, Golic’s knee injury grew worse with each passing week. He had to undergo surgery at the end of the 1993 NFL campaign.
For some reason, the Dolphins selected defensive tackles Tim Bowens and William Gaines in the 1994 NFL Draft. Those moves made Mike Golic, Sr. expendable.
However, the league prohibited teams from releasing injured players. Golic was considered injured because he had not fully recovered from his off-season knee surgery.
Several days after the 1994 NFL Draft, Golic walked into the trainer’s office and told him he wanted to participate in the Dolphins’ mini-camp to see how his knee would hold up. The trainer told him to sign a piece of paper that confirmed his knee was healthy enough for the rigors of mini-camp. Golic promptly obliged.
He had no idea what would come next.
Golic realized another Dolphins employee stood in front of him as he signed the document. The latter told him executive vice president and general manager Eddie Jones wanted a word with him.
When Golic walked into Jones’s office, the Dolphins’ executive lowered the boom and told Golic they were releasing him. After waiving Golic, Miami promptly saved $650,000 in cap space.
Mike Golic, Sr. retired from the National Football League prior to the 1994 NFL season.
Mike Golic, Sr. and his wife Christine currently split their time between South Bend, IN, and Scottsdale, AZ. They have two sons, Mike Jr. and Jake, and a daughter, Sydney. All three siblings attended the University of Notre Dame just like their father.
Golic told Vaccaro in the summer of 2022 that his two boys, Mike Jr. and Jake, took up lacrosse when they moved to Connecticut when he started working for ESPN as a studio analyst in 1995. He thought the sport helped developed their hand-eye coordination and quickness, among other things.
Both Mike Jr. and Jake played for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during their college days. Mike Jr. was an offensive lineman who played from 2008 to 2012 while Jake was a tight end who suited up for the Irish from 2009 to 2011. Jake Golic eventually transferred to the Cincinnati Bearcats for his senior season in 2012.
Sydney Golic was a member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish swimming team.
Golic’s daughter-in-law Jenny gave birth to his grandson Jackson in the summer of 2022.
This fine young man, Jackson,came into the world Sunday. A huge congrats to my son Jake, but certainly more to his lovely wife @JennyGolic who did an incredible job, cant wait to hold this bundle of joy pic.twitter.com/kEaOtY0qOk
— Mike Golic (@golic) June 29, 2022
Mike Golic, Sr. became a well-respected figure in the sports broadcasting industry after he retired from the National Football League.
When Golic joined ESPN in 1995, he also provided color commentary for AFL and ESPN/ABC college football games.
Golic worked many SEC games in the mid-to-late 1990s. Whenever he was in an SEC town, he told the Mississippi Clarion Ledger’s Erik Hall in the fall of 2021 he frequented the local Waffle House. Golic’s usual order included two waffles with eggs, bacon, and hash browns.
Mike & Mike
Golic and his partner Mike Greenberg hosted Mike & Mike, the popular morning sports talk show, on ESPN Radio and ESPN2 from January 2000 to November 2017.
When Cleveland.com’s Joey Morona asked Golic how he felt when the show ended its two-decade run in the fall of 2017, he said he was disappointed at the turn of events.
“Quite honestly, when I first heard they were splitting us up, I was highly disappointed. I didn’t understand why,” Golic told Morona. “There’s still part of me that still doesn’t understand it. But I’m an employee. I don’t get a say.”
Golic also said his relationship with Greenberg was okay after ESPN took their long-running show off the air. They didn’t live close to each other and their kids weren’t close in age, so they didn’t have much opportunity to hang out.
Golic didn’t appreciate former staff members of Mike & Mike discussing behind-the-scenes issues publicly after the show went off the air. In 2017, he admitted to Cleveland.com that it annoyed him to no end.
Mike & Mike racked up numerous accolades during its 17-year run on radio and TV. These include the third sport on The New York Times‘s Best Sellers List and a Sports Emmy in the New Media category for Achievement in Content for Non-Traditional Delivery.
Golic & Wingo
Golic joined Trey Wingo on the new ESPN sports talk show, Golic & Wingo, in the fall of 2017. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as successful as Mike & Mike and lasted just two-and-a-half years on the air.
Back to the Booth
Golic became an ESPN college football analyst—returning to one of his first roles with the company in the 1990s—several days after the network canceled Golic & Wingo in the summer of 2020.
During that time, Golic admitted to missing talking about sports for four hours on air on weekday mornings.
“I’m not going to lie—I miss it,” Golic told the South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen in a phone interview. “I miss doing a morning show. I miss doing radio and TV. I miss talking sports all the time. It was my life.”
Golic & Smetty
— DK Nation (@dklive) July 14, 2022
Golic is currently co-hosting a one-hour weekly DraftKings podcast with Jessica Smetana entitled Golic & Smetty which began airing in March of 2022.
“I’m excited to do a podcast with DraftKings,” Golic told Variety’s Todd Spangler (via Yahoo! Sports) in February 2022. “DraftKings is one of the top players in this game. I think about where gambling is going to be in the next few years, and I think it’s great that DraftKings is growing its content.”
Type 2 Diabetes
Doctors diagnosed Mike Golic, Sr. with type 2 diabetes in 2005. He received the diagnosis when he was 42 years old—the same age his father Bob found out he had the same disease.
Golic told diaTribe.org’s Andrew Briskin in February 2022 that his parents never told them about his dad’s diagnosis when he was growing up in Northeast Ohio.
For his part, Golic promised himself he wouldn’t hide the fact he has type 2 diabetes. He told his sons and daughter that they would have to take the necessary precautions since it runs in their family.
Golic made several lifestyle changes after his type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 2005. He told Diabetes Self-Management’s Cheryl A. Rosenfeld in March 2018 that he became more particular with his food portions and worked out regularly so he could attain his ideal body weight.
The Secret of Success
Golic is enshrined in the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the National Radio Hall of Fame, the USA Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the St. Joseph High School Hall of Champions.
Mike Golic, Sr. was the recipient of the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s Man of the Year Award in 2018.
In terms of Golic’s secret to his success, he told Rosenfeld that timing played a crucial role. In most cases, he was just in the right place at the right time, and things fell into place from there.
Golic has always taken his dad’s advice to heart: just be yourself. Whenever an opportunity fell into his lap, he seized it for all its worth.