Named one of the “50 Most Influential People in Jacksonville,” Sam Kouvaris is a columnist for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Florida. He also serves as the President and CEO of Pegasus Media Productions operating Samsportsline.com.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland and a graduate of the University of Maryland, Sam began his broadcasting career in Charleston, S.C. as the Sports Director at the ABC affiliated station, WCBD from 1978-1981. Previously, he was an intern sports reporter in the Washington/Baltimore area.
From 1981-2018 Sam was the Sports Director/Managing Editor at WJXT-TV, Channel 4 in Jacksonville.
In June of 1981, Sam joined WJXT and was promoted to Sports Director in March of 1982. January 1, 2000 Sam was given additional duties as Managing Editor of the sports department at WJXT.
As Sports Director/Managing Editor, Sam’s responsibilities included the presentation of the daily newscasts and the leadership of the sports department. He helped determine the sports coverage policy throughout the year. He also served as the permanent relief main news anchor for seven years from 2003-2007.
Since the inception of the local NFL franchise, Sam hosted a weekly review of the Jaguars game called “The End Zone” on Monday nights during the football season from 1995-2012. He also hosted “Jaguars All-Access” on Monday nights from 2014-2017.
Sam has anchored many other sports specials throughout the year covering the Daytona 500, The Super Bowl, March Madness, The Players, The Masters, The NBA Finals, The World Series, The BCS National Championship, The Gate River Run, The Florida/Georgia game as well as other local events.
Sam’s play-by-play experience stretches from football to polo and he has called events for CBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN, SportsChannel and the Sunshine Sports Network. He was the pre-season television play-by-play voice for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars from 2013-2016, served in that capacity as well in 2001 and 2002, and as the sideline reporter for the Jaguars Radio Network during the 2000 season. Sam was also the television play-by-play voice for the Jacksonville Bulls in 1984 and 1985.
A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee, Sam is one of 48 selectors asked each year to vote on candidates eligible for induction into the Hall. He also is a designated voter for the Heisman Trophy and the College Football Hall of Fame.
Sam’s web site Samsportsline.com is a very popular destination for sports fans looking for commentary, information, scores and sports. Sam also maintains a Facebook page (Sam Kouvaris, Samsportsline) and regularly posts on Twitter (@samkouvaris) and LinkedIn to keep sports fans informed.
Sam is an Emmy Award winner and has won the Associated Press Broadcast Award as well as other honors including Sportscaster of the Year by numerous organizations.
A 3-sport varsity athlete in High School, Sam also participated in football and baseball in college and on the semi-professional level. He still stays active in sports, mainly cycling, golf, weight training and has participated in several fantasy baseball camps with the Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins and the Detroit Tigers.
As part of his sports coverage, Sam had “triy outs” for the NASL’s Jacksonville Tea Men and the USFL Jacksonville Bulls. He served as the voice of the Tea Men of the NASL in 1983.
A popular feature on WJXT’s Eyewitness News at 5:30 for 20 years was “Stump Sam.” Viewers were invited to send in their sports questions to see if they can “Stump Sam.” Sam maintained about an 90% correct answer rate since the feature’s inception in 1990 through 2010.
Sam calls his experience in Navy tactical aircraft the highlight of his career. After a flight with the “Blue Angels,” Sam completed six weeks of training administered by the U.S. Navy at NAS Jacksonville and Cecil Field and received his “up-chit” (backseat qualified) to fly in the F/A-18.
He has done stories with several squadrons in the Atlantic Fleet and has three carrier arrested landings and launches. Sam is one of a handful of people who have experience with the Blue Angels also have flown with the USAF Thunderbirds in the F-16. He earned his “9-G” pin, and has flown in the L-39 experimental jet training aircraft. He is a FAA Certified Pilot.
Music and drama are among his hobbies; Sam plays several musical instruments including the trumpet and guitar. He has appeared as the lead vocalist for the St. Johns River City Band, the UNF Jazz band, The Douglas Anderson Jazz Band and The Les DeMerle Jazz Festival and Orchestra at numerous “Big Band” concerts.
He has served on the Board of Directors for several charities in North Florida, including the MS Society. Sam’s annual golf tournament was held each May to benefit Habijax and then Dreams Come True, a Jacksonville based wish granting organization for children with life threatening illnesses. Those tournaments raised over $5 Million for local causes. He is a member of St. Joseph’s Parish.
Sam lives in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville with his wife of over 40 years, Linda. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.