Don Criqui, Allen Pinkett out as Notre Dame football changes its radio voices

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame football will have a new voice this season. Make that two of them.

Longtime Irish football national radio analyst Allen Pinkett confirmed Saturday evening that ND’s new multimedia partner, JMI Sports, will not retain the 54-year-old former Irish All-America running back, nor play-by-play man Don Criqui for the network broadcasts.

“I spoke with Mr. Stultz (Friday),” Pinkett told the Tribune, referring to JMI Sports president Tom Stultz. “Their plan is they want someone more local — like ‘live in South Bend’ local — because they want to do some packages during the week, and they wanted somebody who was there.

“So it was a good run. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to do it since 2001, but this thing comes to an end, so I just wish whoever’s going to do it next the best of luck.”

Pinkett resides in Valparaiso, Ind. The 78-year-old Criqui lives in Essex Fells, N.J. Both men are Notre Dame graduates.

Criqui has partnered with Pinkett on ND broadcasts since the 2006 season. He followed Tony Roberts, who was abruptly fired by Westwood One after 26 seasons of broadcasting ND games in May of 2006.

On April 26 of this year, Notre Dame announced a 12-year multimedia partnership with JMI Sports, a deal that included Notre Dame’s national radio rights.

Previously the school had a stand-alone radio agreement for many years with the Mutual Broadcasting System, Westwood One and most recently with ISP and then IMG College.

Pinkett said he’d like to continue broadcasting and will look for another opportunity to work covering another team.

“I don’t know if it’s too late in the game right now, because we’re inside of 100 days for both the NFL and college seasons starting,” he said. “So some positions are going to be locked down. But I need to take a shot and see what’s out there.

“I think I have the talent for painting a picture and I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything. and I do enjoy it. The thing about Notre Dame is I’d be watching those games anyway. It was nice to sit in the booth and watch my favorite team. I got to do that 17 years, and feel fortunate to get a chance to do it for that long.”

Former Notre Dame running back Allen Pinkett is now a former ND radio analyst after JMI Sports elected Friday not to retain him and play-by-play man Don Criqui for the 2018 football season.