Dari Nowkhah is now a prominent ESPN anchor
The former Tulsan and host of SEC Now stays grounded despite success and tragedy.
Dari Nowkhah, pictured on the set of SEC Now, and his wife, Jennifer, live in Charlotte, North Carolina, with their three children, Nicolas, Nahla and Leighton, ages 5-12.
Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images
Tulsans tuning in to ESPN might recognize a prominent anchor as one of their own. Dari Nowkhah, a Tulsa native, has hosted numerous programs for the network over his career. Nowkhah currently hosts SEC Now, a daily show that covers college athletics in the Southeastern Conference.
“I’ve been a college sports fanatic for as long as I can remember,” says Nowkhah, who grew up playing baseball, basketball, soccer and hockey. “I think growing up in Tulsa had a lot to do with that. I grew up going to Tulsa basketball and football games as well as OU football games with my dad and grandfather.”
Nowkhah later earned his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism at the University of
Oklahoma. Just before coming to ESPN, he was a sports anchor and reporter at Tulsa’s KOTV News on 6, from 2002-04.
He joined ESPN in June 2004 as an ESPNEWS anchor and in August 2011 was named the host of ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network based out of ESPN’s studios in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Shortly after, the Nowkhah family lost a child, Hayden, at 39 days old due to a virus that attacked his heart. “He was so brave and such a fighter that we knew we had to continue Hayden’s legacy,” Nowkhah says.
He and his wife, Jennifer, later partnered with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association to form Hayden’s Hope, a foundation that raises awareness for pediatric organ donation and raises funds to assist families of children awaiting life-saving organ transplants. “To date, we have raised over a quarter of a million dollars and helped nearly 40 families in just over six years,” Nowkhah says.
Throughout tragedies and his accomplished career, Nowkhah remembers his Tulsa roots. “There is so much pride about being from Tulsa,” he says. “I try to represent Tulsa well in anything I do, wherever I am.”