Eric LeGrand of the RWJBarnabas Health Rutgers Sports Network was named the New Jersey Sportscaster of the Year, the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) announced. This marks the first such honor for the former Rutgers football defensive lineman.
“This is a great honor for Eric,” head coach Greg Schiano said. “As you know, he’s one of my guys, so really excited for him and the success he’s achieved.”
“I’m thrilled Eric has been recognized as the New Jersey Sportscaster of the Year,” Chris Carlin said. “For the last 12 years, behind the scenes, he has worked extremely hard to become an outstanding analyst. He adds so much to our Rutgers football broadcasts with his insight and his personality. He continues to write an incredible story. I’m honored to call him a friend and teammate.”
Having completed his 12th season with the radio team in 2022, LeGrand provides insight and commentary in the home booth, on the pre-game show, halftime report and postgame wrap. A source of inspiration, hope and perseverance for people around the world, LeGrand is a member of the Class of 2020 for the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame. His No. 52 is the only retired number in Rutgers football history.
Enrolling in 2008 and playing right away as a true freshman, a tackle on special teams during the 2010 season would be a defining moment in his legacy to Rutgers and the football program. On October 16, 2010, as a junior, LeGrand suffered a severe spinal injury during a game against Army at MetLife Stadium. Following a collision against an opposing player, LeGrand lay on the ground for several minutes before being carted off, only able to move his head. He was taken to the intensive care unit of the Hackensack University Medical Center, where doctors determined that LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down.
Despite his injury, LeGrand persevered, resuming his academic responsibilities via Skype for the spring 2011 semester. He would go on to earn his Rutgers degree in labor relations. LeGrand has displayed a tremendous amount of courage, belief and strength throughout his rehabilitation, capturing the attention and hearts of the nation. A recipient of the prestigious Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPY Awards, LeGrand founded Team LeGrand, a charity arm of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation in 2013. Team LeGrand has raised over $1 million through its events and fundraisers. The foundation works to find a cure for paralysis and helping improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries. LeGrand has continued to serve as a motivational speaker.
In addition to his presence around Rutgers, LeGrand has since enjoyed several successful business ventures, which includes last year’s grand opening of LeGrand Coffee House in Woodbridge.
The NSMA will honor its award winners and Hall of Fame inductees during the organization’s 63rd awards weekend and national convention, scheduled for June 24-26, 2023, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.