Other colleges have produced network stars. Al Michaels attended Arizona State, Vin Scully, Fordham and Brent Musburger, Northwestern
Mike Tirico, Ian Eagle and Dave Pasch. If these three alone got together, it would be a nice story. Now, add seven other broadcasting greats and you’ve got something for which you would absolutely clear your calendar.
Almost twenty years ago, Syracuse University transformed its network radio flagship from an AM to an FM. At the time, it was a bold move; considering the fact that it ended a longstanding partnership with a local AM giant and Syracuse institution, WSYR (570).
The university also created a breakthrough partnership with International Sports Properties (now a part of the global powerhouse, IMG) to market the advertising inventory of the broadcasts and other sponsorship elements under the aegis of the SU Athletics department. Recently, Mike Veley, who was then the Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs emphasized the importance at the time of having the progressive plan succeed. If not, it could have reflected poorly on an institution known for spawning a who’s who of sports broadcasters.
To execute the framework of the program, Syracuse first hired a new play-by-play announcer; not straying far to do so. Dave Pasch, a 1994 SU alum, was given the prestigious job, succeeding 19-year Orange play-by-play broadcaster Doug Logan as the new Voice of the Orange.
To foster the public’s acceptance for the visible changes, both with on-air talent and flagship affiliates, SU paired Pasch with occasional guest commentators the first season. The guests on both football and basketball broadcasts weren’t just ordinary experts. They were SU trained alumni who excelled and grew into household names in broadcast sports. An event was held in New York City to announce the guest appearances. (see photo)
By joining Pasch, these SU affiliated broadcasters obliquely encouraged the large number of Syracuse followers to embrace the change too.
When it comes to training those behind a mic or in front of a camera, Syracuse has wonderful resources, including partnerships that are best suited for training budding broadcasters. For instance, the Newhouse School of Public Communication teams with WAER, an NPR radio affiliate. Through this joint effort, students are afforded the opportunity to do play-by-play for Syracuse’s major revenue-generating sports (football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse).
Through campus station Z89, similar opportunities surface for students to call events beyond sports that are commonly mainstream. Z89 covers women’s lacrosse and women’s basketball.
On the video side, Syracuse, ESPN and the ACC announced a 2019 launch of an ACC Network. In the interim, the ACC Digital Network serves the sports constituency. Production is done jointly through the network’s teamwork with the school, enabling students to work on actual telecasts in a variety of roles; on-air, operating cameras, serving in control rooms and doing whatever it takes to put a good show on the air.
Through CitrusTV, SU students have yet another way to get on-air experience in more of a host and analyst role. CitrusTV which does not go live during game coverage, offers three shows highlighting Syracuse athletics, including a live post-game show for men’s football, basketball, and lacrosse. It also just recently added another show which encourages debate on topics covering the ACC and NCAA
All of these opportunities foster a culture for students to be constructive and to learn the ins and outs of the business. Drive and passion are critical of course in any discipline, particularly sports broadcasting because there’s no shortage of candidates when jobs open.
While Syracuse is known for producing wonderful on-air talent, it has also had a hand in educating top sports broadcast executives. David Levy, president of Turner, Sandy Montag, one of the most powerful broadcast agents and Ed Goren, former president of Fox Sports all call Syracuse their alma-mater. Then of course there’s the esteemed pioneering players’ agent and well known entrepreneur David Falk, for whom SU’s College of Sport and Human Dynamics is named.
For all its glittering success and notable alumni, Syracuse doesn’t have a complete monopoly on the market of successful sports broadcasting programs. It only appears that way. Penn State, University of Florida, Southern California, Hofstra, and others have also developed effective programs.
Some of the big named broadcasters who attended universities other than Syracuse include Mike Emrick (Manchester/Miami/Bowling Green), Vin Scully, Mike Breen, Micael Kay and Spero Dedes (Fordham), Al Michaels (Arizona State), Dick Enberg (Central Michigan), Brent Musburger and Mike Greenberg (Northwestern), Don Criqui, Tim Ryan and Ted Robinson (Notre Dame) and Harry Kalas (Iowa).
This said, Syracuse has the preponderance of some of the biggest names in American sports broadcasting. This list, prepared in alphabetical order, covers fifty visible voices who trace their training roots to Syracuse. The list is not complete by any means and it isn’t intended to omit any Newhouse alumni working anywhere in the United States, big market or small. Its purpose is to simply demonstrate the enormous success SU has had in the sports broadcast space.
It should also be pointed out that former Orange basketball star Leo Rautins, a Toronto native who studied at Newhouse, has served as color commentator on Toronto Raptors telecasts since 1995. Rautins played for Jim Boeheim’s team from 1980-83 and averaged 11.2 points per game and 5.7 rebounds. In 2000, he was inducted into the Ontario Basketball Hall of Fame.
|Marv||Albert||NBA, NBC, Turner|
|Jason||Benetti||ESPN, White Sox|
|Ryan||Burr||ESPN, Golf Channel|
|Tony||Caridi||U West Virginia|
|Bob||Costas||NBC, Olympics, MLB Network|
|Marty||Glickman||NFL’s Giants and Knicks|
|Rich||Hollenberg||ESPN, Devil Rays|
|Andy||Musser||Phillies and 76ers|
|Dave||O’Brien||ESPN, Red Sox|
|Dave||Pasch||ESPN, NFL’s Cardinals|
|Bill||Roth||Va Tech, ESPN|
|Dave||Ryan||CBS Sports Network|
|Adam||Schein||SiriusXM, CBS Sports Network|
|Andrew||Siciliano||DirecTV, NFL Network|
|Dick||Stockton||CBS, Fox, Turner|
|This list is intended only as a measure to illustrate the extensive success of Newhouse alumni across the American landscape. It is not a ranking nor a complete list. It was finalized by the editor.|