KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Release) – CBS and ESPN analyst Dr. Jerry Punch will be the guest speaker at the second Tennessee Baseball Luncheon of the year, set to be held Thursday, April 18 at noon in the MVP Club Room at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Tickets for the luncheon will be $5 per person and UT Bullpen Club members will get in completely free. Head Coach Dave Serrano will also give the attendees an update on the season and preview that weekend’s SEC series against Ole Miss. To RSVP for the event, contact Rachel Miller at (865) 974-9001.
Punch, who is an auto racing and college football analyst for CBS and ESPN, was a quarterback in his days at North Carolina State, backing up none other than Lou Holtz. After graduating magna cum laude in 1975, he went on to earn his M.D. from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 1979.
In 1984, Punch started working at ESPN as a pit reporter for NASCAR races after serving as an emergency medical physician at Bunnell Community Hospital in St. Augustine, Fla. His background in medicine was put to use on a number of occasions while covering races, first in Bristol in 1988 where he had to revive Rusty Wallace after the driver lost consciousness following a wreck in practice. He also helped save Don Marmor’s life that same year after a crash during an ARCA race.
A Knoxville native, Punch has worn many hats at ESPN. In addition to commentating, he has served as a play-by-play voice for both NCAA football and basketball games and has also been utilized on various shows as an expert to discuss injuries and other medical issues in sports. In 2007, ESPN switched him from pit reporter to the lead lap-by-lap commentator for the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series. He later returned to pit row in 2010.
Punch was presented The United States Air Force Outstanding Performance Award for exemplary service in the auto racing community in 1989. He also earned NASCAR’s Team Player of the Year Award a year later.
For the 1990 film “Days of Thunder,” starring Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall, Punch acted as a technical advisor during the development of the movie and also appeared in the film as himself as an ESPN commentator.