Grin and Bear it: ESPN's Chris Fallica expanding his work
On occasion, Chris Fallica’s mind wonders back to his teenage years in East Moriches, N.Y.
“I wish I could go back and tell my 16-year-old self what I get to do now,” said Fallica, who’s better known by his ESPN nickname, “The Bear.” “On Monday, I was at the Final Four with Dick Vitale and the next day I’m at Augusta National. There’s no way I would’ve believe it.”
Fallica has spent almost his entire ESPN career working as a research producer for College GameDay – college football’s longest-running pregame show. Fallica provides statistics and information for the on-air and production crews leading up to and during each week’s telecast.
In recent years, his role has grown on GameDay to include a segment called the “Bear Necessities,” where Fallica educates gamblers on his favorite picks of the week. In addition, Fallica has been a part of ESPN’s Masters Tournament team since 2012.
“Growing up near Shinnecock (Hills Golf Club), my father and I always loved watching golf,” Fallica said. “So, yeah, being in Augusta for Masters Week means a great deal. It’s very special.”
Fallica spends most of his week doing research for ESPN, while also spending time in Butler Cabin.
“My favorite part of the week is around 3 p.m. Sunday when it starts happening,” Fallica said. “When it’s that time where everyone starts making a move. Things get incredibly exciting.”
Earlier this year, ESPN launched “Daily Wager,” it’s first program focused on sports betting. Fallica is an analyst on the show and makes picks against the spread, futures and prop bets.
For this week, Fallica is going international.
“My pick is Jon Rahm,” Fallica said. “This course fits his game perfectly and I expect him to play great this week. Take last year for example: Rahm opened with 75, but his Friday, Saturday and Sunday rounds were two shots better than anyone else in the field. I think it’s his time.”