Skip Bayless

Skip Bayless is a famous television personality. He is known for his show "First Take on ESPN." He is also a sports columnist and author, who was born on December 4th, 1951. His original name is John Edward Bayless, but his father called him Skip. Since then, his parents never called him by the name John. He even changed his legal name to Skip. He was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Apart from his parents, he has a younger brother and sister. His parents owned the Hickory House Restaurant,  which was famous for barbecue in Oklahoma City. Although Skip did work in the restaurant while he was still young, he never thought of it as his future career. Instead, his brother, Rick Bayless, took charge of the restaurant after their parents.   

Became a Sports Writer in School Life itself

He had an interest in sports from a young age and started playing in his school tournaments. He was among the top scorers on the Basketball team. During college, he played many football tournaments and won many prizes. Skip was a member of the National Honor Society for two years and had occupied the seat of the president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter of his school. He also served as a Letterman’s Club Officer. Whether it was his junior years or his senior years, he was the primary sports columnist of the school newspaper. In 1976, he wrote about sporu features for the Los Angeles Times and launched his first book in 1989. Later, he became a famous sports columnist and author.
After his graduation, Skip received a Grantland Rice scholarship for attending Vanderbilt University. He didn’t stop writing as a sports columnist even in that University and eventually ended up becoming the sports editor of the university’s student newspaper, The Hustler. The Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity invited him to be its sports director and he accepted the invitation.

Didn’t Stop Writing for Sports ever after Graduation

Upon graduating from Vanderbilt, Skip started writing for the Miami Herald in the capacity of a sports feature writer. He stayed in that company until August 1976 when he was called by the Los Angeles Times. There, he mostly worked as an investigative story writer. In 1977, he received many accolades for winning the Eclipse Award. This Award was given to him because of his Seattle Slew’s Triple Crown victory coverage. At the age of 26, Skip was working as a lead sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News. Three years later, he was hired by the Dallas Times Herald. The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association voted Skip as the Texas sportswriter of the year for 1979, 1984 and 1986.

Books & Awards

“God's Coach: The Hymns, Hype and Hypocrisy of Tom Landry's Cowboys” was the title of the first book of Skip, which was published in 1989. After his first book, he wrote many other titles, like The Boys: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys' Season on the Edge, Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the "Win or Else" Dallas Cowboy, etc. In 1998, Chicago Tribune made him leave Dallas as they hired him in the capacity of lead sports columnist for itself. There, he received the Lisgor Award by the Chicago Headline Club (the Chicago chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists). In 2000, National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association voted him as the Illinois sportswriter of the year.

Radio & TV Shows

In 1991, Skip had a couple of years of stint as a host for a sports radio talk show. This stint inspired him to invest in the Fort Worth radio station KTCK ("the Ticket"). He also talked several times on ESPN Radio. He made several more appearances in different shows on different radio stations.


After having a taste of the world of radio, he was now ready to go for the TV shows. In 1989, The Sports Reporters show of ESPN welcomed him as a panelist with its host Dick Schaap. After showing up regularly for about a decade there, he chose to be a debate team member on NFL’s “Knights of the Roundtable.” He made his appearances in some films too, like 30 for 30, Rocky Balboa, etc.

Love of His Life

He had an affair in his school time and got married to the same girl. However, it soon ended. The reason for separation was that he always kept to himself and nobody was able to get close to him emotionally. After that, he met Ernestine Sclafani, who was a famous publicist. She is the only one with whom he spent his life. She is the only one who could live with him, as she is obsessed with his job. He told her on their first date about his priorities and she accepted that. Ernestine is the only one who handled him throughout his life. Skip and Ernestine have shared many memorable moments as a girlfriend and boyfriend in the start of their relationship.

Skip did not comment more than this about his wife and his personal life. They do not have any children together. Once, Ernestine Sclafani threatened him to file a divorce as Skip was very superstitious. She put forth a condition that if he won’t leave his superstition, she will leave him forever. Once during a show, he accepted that he is not able to spend much time with her at all because he had to play on Sunday as well. His ignoring her and paying more attention towards the sports lead to a situation whereby Sclafani decided to separate. Her decision of separation was a setback for Skip so he decided to leave the games aside for his married life. He apologized to her for the same, during his show and accepted that he has done a lot of stupid things in his life. He also admitted that these weird acts somehow give pleasure to him and they worked for him at many situations.

According to a report, they were spotted together in Manhattan where he used to live and spend very intimating moments with her while watching  ‘Jeopardy’episodes. Usually, Skip avoids talking about his personal life and she does not like to indulge with her husband in any publicity. His net worth is $4 Million and he has a lot of fans.

Last Modified: Apr 8, 2020

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