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IRELAND:Former Sea King no paper boy

Q&A WITH JOHN

The sportscaster on TV with KCAL Channel 9 and on the radio with ESPN got his start delivering the local newspaper back in the day.

August 07, 2007|By Matt Szabo

The media, in some form or fashion, has been a big part of John Ireland's life for a long time. His first job ever was delivering the Daily Pilot, when he was a middle school student in Corona del Mar.

Ireland, the 1981 CdM High grad who just turned 44 and lives in Manhattan Beach with his wife and child, has also come a long way. He went on to college at UCLA, graduating in 1985 with a history degree.

Ireland has also been with KCAL Channel 9 for 12 years. In addition to studio work on Channel 9 and sister station KCBS Channel 2, Ireland is the recognizable face who is the Los Angeles Lakers sideline reporter, and also works L.A. Dodgers games. Ireland is also employed by the 710 ESPN radio station, where he does "The Big Show" afternoon show with Steve Mason from 3-7 p.m. on weekdays.

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The Daily Pilot caught up with its former newspaper boy on Thursday. Ireland and Mason were broadcasting their radio show on site at the Home Depot Center, the site of X Games 13.

Question: You were on the CdM basketball team that won the CIF 3-A championship in 1981, right?

Answer: I was. We had a great team that year. I didn't see too much playing time because we had such a great team. All five of our starters went on to play in college. Jeff Pries was the best athlete in the school, Sea King of the Year and he was drafted by the Yankees. He was our second or third-best player, and he was unbelievable. He would have been the best player on any other team in the league.

Jeff Pries, Mark Spinn and Steve Moore all went on scholarships to play basketball. Then we had underclassmen in the backcourt, Chris Lynch and Mike Hess, and the next year they both went on [to play college basketball]. And they all went to good schools. Hess went to Texas, Lynch went to Dartmouth, Moore went to Cal Poly Pomona, Spinn went to [UC Irvine] and Pries went to UCLA to play baseball.

Q: Do you still keep in touch with Corona del Mar at all? I know you host Irrelevant Week every year.

A: Well, my parents still live there. I'm down there a couple of times a month. I play golf at the Newport Beach Country Club with my dad probably five or six times a year. I'm down there fairly often, so I hear a lot about what's going on.

I do Mr. Irrelevant for Paul Salata, the guy who runs all that. We've been friends with that family, Paul and Melanie, for a lot of years; I'll do that as long as he wants me to. I think he's a really cool guy, even though he went to USC, and that's a really cool event.

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