John Edward “Skip” Bayless II (born December 4, 1951) is an American sports columnist, commentator and television personality. He is best known for his work as a commentator on the ESPN2 show First Take with Stephen A. Smith, a show he left in June 2016. Bayless debuted his new show on Fox Sports 1 on September 6, 2016. Skip & Shannon: Undisputed with Shannon Sharp.
John Edward Bayless II
December 4, 1951
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Occupation||Sportswriter, television sports commentator|
| FS1 (Skip and Shannon: Undisputed) |
ESPN (Cold Pizza, First Take)
San Jose Mercury News
Dallas Times Herald
Dallas Morning News
Los Angeles Times
|Spouse(s)||Ernestine Sclafani Bayless|
|Family||Rick Bayless (brother)|
Bayless was born as John Edward Bayless II in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His father, John Sr., immediately began to call him Skip – his father also called his mother “Skip”, as in “Captain of the Ship”. The name immediately stuck, and Bayless was never called John by his parents, to the point that his name was eventually legally changed to Skip.
The Hickory House restaurant in Oklahoma City is owned and operated by the parent, which specialized in barbecue. Bayless worked in restaurants in her youth, but never considered it a career path. His younger brother Rick Bayless carried on the family tradition and became a chef, restaurateur and television personality. He also has a younger sister.
Bayless’s interest in sports began at an early age and played baseball and basketball. Bayless was the opener of Northwest Klaasen’s 1970 graduating class. He was a two-year member of the National Honor Society and president of the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter. He was also an officer in Letterman’s club. At the insistence of one of his English teachers, Bayless became the primary sports columnist for the school newspaper in his junior and senior years. Prior to his senior year, Bayless represented Northwest Klaasen at Oklahoma Boys State. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Grantland Rice Scholarship (named for the player of the same name) to attend Vanderbilt University (Rice’s alma mater).
While at Vanderbilt, he majored in English and history, and graduated in 1974. He was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, serving two years as the chapter’s “rho” (sports director). He was also the sports editor of the university’s student newspaper The Hustler, and spent the summer of 1969 interning under sports editor Frank Boggs at The Daily Oklahoman.