Jerry Punch, M.D. (born August 20, 1953) is an American auto racing and college football commentator on ESPN, as well as a physician. Punch also does local radio spots in Knoxville.
Punch began his broadcasting career in Newton, NC, when he was selected to join the local high school radio station Staff of Newton-Conover High School. The local radio station, WNNC in Newton, NC, provided free air time to the local high school broadcasting organization with rotational assignments to the aspiring broadcast journalists.
Students at the high school auditioned for the much sought after staff positions. Jerry was successful and was selected by fellow students to become a new reporter and, thus, he was permitted to participate in the weekly Saturday morning live broadcasts on WNNC.
He served as backup quarterback for coach Lou Holtz at NC State and graduated magna cum laude in 1975. He received a M.D. degree from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
Punch worked as an emergency medicine physician at Bunnell Community Hospital (now known as Florida Hospital Flagler) before moving to ESPN in 1984 as a pit reporter for NASCAR races. While working at ESPN, Punch also moonlighted at TBS and SETN doing pit reporting, as he was the first to report on the injuries to driver Terry Schoonover during the 1984 Atlanta Journal 500 for the network's race coverage.
Varsha practiced law in Atlanta, but his life took a different direction when TBS asked him to cover the Peachtree Road Race, which he headed as part of the Atlanta Track Club in 1980. He did so well that TBS offered him a part-time job. In 1986, Varsha joined ESPN, where he hosted of the network's Formula One coverage as well many other international sports events including gymnastics, figure skating, track & field and 24 Hours of Le Mans.