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Ann Liguori: “Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things”

The Ann Liguori Foundation Charity Golf Classic takes place every year at a prestigious golf course in The Hamptons. We recently held our 22nd consecutive tournament, this year at the Maidstone Club in East Hampton. We raise money and awareness for cancer research, care and prevention and several mentorship scholarships. Several of our beneficiaries include […]

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The Ann Liguori Foundation Charity Golf Classic takes place every year at a prestigious golf course in The Hamptons. We recently held our 22nd consecutive tournament, this year at the Maidstone Club in East Hampton. We raise money and awareness for cancer research, care and prevention and several mentorship scholarships. Several of our beneficiaries include St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation and KIDS Need More, a camp for children who have cancer. I’m proud of this tournament and how we’ve made a difference in the fight against cancer.


As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ann Liguori.

Ann Liguori is a polymath — a radio and television golf commentating phenomenon, President of Ann Liguori Productions and owner of the Sports Innerview Radio & Cable series archives, a collection of interviews Ann did and continues to do with sports legends and entertainment stars. Some of Ann’s Classic shows include interviews Ann did with sports legends such as Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Sam Snead, Don Budge, Hank Aaron, Julius Erving, Jim Brown, Harry Carson, Gordie Howe, Billie Jean King, Wayne Gretzky, Charles Barkley, Brett Favre, among hundreds of other interviews.

Liguori is one of the nation’s top sports radio and television personalities and has distinguished herself in her business as both on-air talent and the owner of her Sport’s Innerview properties.

Liguori is the author of ‘A Passion for Golf: Celebrity Musings About the Game,’ (2007) available on amazon.com.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was always an athlete, played sports with my brother and his friends after school. All the neighborhood kids would gather in our backyard to play football, baseball, kickball, etc. I would be among the first kids’ picked when teams were chosen because of my athletic ability. I earned letters in volleyball, track and tennis every year in high school. I competed on the boy’s tennis team because we didn’t have a girl’s team at that time. You could say I was a real ‘jockette.’ I always participated in a variety of sports and enjoyed watching sports and talking about sports so sports broadcasting was a natural career choice for me.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

There are tons of stories but here’s one while taping my long-running ‘Sports Innerview’ cable show. I’ve had a lot of legendary athletes on ‘Sports Innerview’ and on my ‘Hey Liguori, What’s the Story’ radio show on WFAN. A funny story that happened while taping my cable show with Cecil Fielder, who was a slugger with the N.Y. Yankees at the time. We were taping in a huge suite at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan and I stayed there with my husband and our golden retriever puppy the night before. They allowed us to bring our dog. During the interview, I put the puppy in the huge bathroom with marble floors. Cecil opened the door to go into the bathroom and the puppy jumped out and Cecil nearly hit the ceiling! His reaction was hysterical. He said he was afraid of dogs! This big, burly slugger was afraid of a little golden pup! We all laughed but Cecil was truly terrified of our loveable golden retriever pup!

Here’s another memorable moment from my show on WFAN: I covered a lot of boxing back in the day and had Mike Tyson’s former trainer, Kevin Rooney, on my ‘live’ call-in sports show the night Mike Tyson, who was undefeated at the time, fought Buster Douglas. Douglas shocked the world with his 10th round knock-out of the heavyweight champ. Rooney had been fired by Tyson just before this fight and Rooney and I were watching the fight on television and commenting on it, ‘live,’ on my radio show, as it was happening. As soon as Tyson hit the canvas, Rooney went ballistic on the air, uttering every swear word imaginable. He was still angry that Tyson had fired him and he couldn’t believe he wasn’t in his corner in Tokyo, where the fight took place, and that Tyson got knocked out for the first time in his career! Instead, Rooney was watching the action with me, in real time, and reacting to everything on my radio show. Rooney used so many four- letter words, I had to go into a commercial break and remind him that this was ‘live’ radio and he couldn’t say those words on radio! It was quite the memorable radio segment, to say the least.

Every day of my life there seems to be an interesting story or happening. From golfing and interviewing Celine Dion and Matthew McConaughey, to beating the legendary running back Jim Brown in tennis and outdriving him and Giant’s Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor in a celebrity golf tournament long-drive competition (albeit, from the forward tees), to sitting next to Mohammad Ali during a luncheon at Mickey Mantles restaurant, every day, there is a special memory that I’ll cherish.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This wasn’t a mistake I made but I remember correcting a mistake made by the legendary Howard Cosell. I was new in the job producing at ABC Radio Network. Howard Cosell taped his commentary that was distributed to all the ABC affiliates early in the morning before I started my shift. It went on air in the morning and again in the afternoon. When I came into work and heard it, I realized he had made a mistake in the commentary. But he had already left for the day. It was my job to make sure it was perfect so I asked the engineer for Howard’s home number. The engineer was mortified. Apparently, no one called Howard at home. And Howard had quite the intimidating presence when he walked the halls of ABC Radio. But I was determined to find Howard’s number and ask him to re-do the one line in his commentary so I could edit in the corrected version. I found his number and called him. There was a long pause after I said hello and introduced myself as ‘Ann Liguori, new on the job,’ and then I asked him if he could re-do a line in his commentary because he had made a mistake…’ Suddenly, his legendary, familiar voice snapped back: ‘Do you know who I am young lady? This is Howard Cosell, I don’t make mistakes.’ I eventually got him to re-do it, but it was one heck of a phone call! I’m happy that I persisted and had the guts, as a young woman in my twenties, working a new job, to stand up for what I believed was the right thing to do to get it right. Howard Cosell never forgot my name after that. I felt that I earned his respect. And I’m proud of that moment to this day.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

The Ann Liguori Foundation Charity Golf Classic takes place every year at a prestigious golf course in The Hamptons. We recently held our 22nd consecutive tournament, this year at the Maidstone Club in East Hampton. We raise money and awareness for cancer research, care and prevention and several mentorship scholarships. Several of our beneficiaries include St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation and KIDS Need More, a camp for children who have cancer. I’m proud of this tournament and how we’ve made a difference in the fight against cancer.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

We’ve donated to many not-for-profits through the years and know that the dollars that we contribute each year have positively impacted ovarian cancer research with the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation; have helped in research and in caring for children with cancer at St Jude Children’s Cancer Research Hospital and have sent many young people with cancer to camp that KIDS NEED MORE organizes every year. We’ve visited the camp which takes place on Shelter Island every August and interact with the children and see their smiling faces. For one week, they so enjoy camp activities, that they forget about their day-to-day struggle with cancer.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Obviously, the more money that can be contributed to research, the better, as it relates to the medical field finding cures and various treatments for cancer. With so much going on in the world, many of these ‘causes’ get overlooked. It’s important to maintain awareness and to contribute to reputable not-for-profits who prove to do great work in the field of cancer research.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. Leaders ‘lead’ by example. Leaders do the right thing, set direction and build an inspiring vision for others. Leaders lead with a moral compass that differentiates between right and wrong. It’s one thing to talk about doing good. It’s another to be proactive and actually do it. Leaders do good and are positive and inspiring role models for all. Leaders inspire others to do the right thing and to lead by example.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I feel that most of the issues in our society stem from people who do not have a good moral compass — people who did not grow up learning right from wrong or refuse to let good prevail over evil. Consequently, these people resort to lying, cheating, violence, dishonesty, etc. or do anything they want with no regard for what’s right from wrong. I try to lead by example by doing the ‘right’ thing. If I could inspire a movement, it would be to inspire people to think about doing ‘good.’ Goodness must prevail over evil. I know that is a fairly simple concept but wouldn’t our world be much better if more and more people lived their lives with a moral compass, pursuing goodness and resisting evil?

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have two life lesson quotes that I live by: ‘Clearly desire, and you’ll clearly acquire’ and ‘the key to happiness is attitude and gratitude.’ If you are clear in your goals and objectives, and if you can visualize these goals, that is the first step to realizing your dream. Of course, hard work is the key. And if you think of all the great things in your life and appreciate them, you won’t let the challenges bring you down.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I can’t think of anyone that I haven’t interviewed that I really need to. I’ve sat down with hundreds of the most interesting and fascinating personalities in sports, Hollywood, music and business for my tv and radio shows in four decades. Whenever I think of a person I’d like to interview, I pick up the phone.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Follow Ann on Twitter: @annliguori

Like Ann on Facebook: www.facebook.com/annliguori

Instagram: theannliguori

Linked in: Ann Liguori

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