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The Sports Director Says Goodbye

Hello readers,

This is a different type of post. It’s my farewell letter to WWSU. This is the place that I grew into the sportscaster that I am today. It’s been four and a third years, and it was a fun ride. You have no idea how many times I have tried to write this piece or how many times I’ve edited this.

This has been the toughest post to write, since it has been an important part of my life since Fall Quarter 2006.

I remember walking into the station, when we were located under the stairs because the original station was being remodeled.

It was a cramped space, with a few desks and a few computers. There were doors to the other student organizations behind us, but nobody was ever allowed to open those doors. I never did find out where the sports equipment was kept, but I assume that it was hidden in the clutter. Needless to say, it was a tight space during the meetings. Not everybody had chairs to sit down in. That is where I trained to become a DJ. This is also the time I had my first attempt as sportscasting.

My first game on the air was the Women’s Basketball team taking on the Athletics in Action team, as an exhibition. The Raiders ended up losing, but this began a journey into the field. I remember calling a good chunk of the basketball season (including the Bracket Busters win over Cal State Fullerton) and the baseball season. One of my fondest memories is at a baseball game in 2007, calling a game with the same guy that I started my broadcasting career with. He ended up choking on peanuts during a baseball game and that became a running gag throughout the game. He was alright though, and I believe that was a Raider win over Milwaukee.

I did apply for the Sports Director position in 2007, having no expectations to actually get the job but rather wanted to take a gamble. Sure enough, I didn’t get the job for my sophomore year but it would set things up for the future.

For the 2007-2008 school year, I took on a football game along with all of the women’s basketball games along with a good chunk of baseball games again. I didn’t get the chance to cover the men’s basketball team because of the Sports Director’s decision. I did get better with all the experience and hints during my sophomore year, as it gave me the confidence to apply once again. I ran against someone who had about the same experience I did, but what set me apart was the ideas I planned according to the General Manager. I wanted all of the sportscasters to dress and broadcast more professionally, I wanted to bring a slogan to the broadcasts to set the games apart, and I wanted to improve how things were done.

In September of 2008, I became the WWSU Sports Director and would hold that title until now. In school years, that is two and a third years as the Sports Director. If I haven’t lost you yet, I’d like to share my experience.

I think my first year was the best year as the Sports Director. I had people helping me for every game, I brought hockey into the mix, and I used budget money to get every single broadcaster a sports polo for broadcasting games that weren’t basketball. While we did have some screw-ups, including one where a parent complained that I was talking about the cold too much, I think we established to the listeners that sports do matter to us. We started off broadcasting Fairborn High School home football games, which went okay. I had four people broadcast those football games, and yes one of those people is me. I believe the Skyhawks went 0-4 when WWSU was there, but it’s a blurry memory to me now. That would be the last time we called high school football during my stay at Wright State.

We then brought hockey to the airwaves, and it started off incredibly bumpy. While the arena told us there were phone lines available, they turned out to be digital phone lines which can’t work with the Zercom we still have (unless you make an adapter out of sixty separate parts.) So, what did I do as the person who didn’t like to back out of a deal because nothing was going our way? I used my cell phone and called the game, literally. We did have problems with the other coach (not saying who or what team) thinking I was talking trash about their team, but that was not the case. It didn’t help that other people kept messing around up near the broadcaster’s table. That is the only game I had to leave early, due to my phone being completely dead and I grown tired of fighting with the other bench about what they thought I said. I think this made me grow even more as a sportscaster, and as a person. All in all though, the rest of the games went alright.

Basketball has been on WWSU since the late 1970’s, when the station was born and closed-circuited (meaning you stayed in one spot to listen.) For the Men’s games, we sat up in the other media booths, where we still are today. We used to call games from half-court for the Women, but we had to trim some of our spending and moved to about the same location as we are for the men (turning the lines on and off were costly.) This is where I ran into a problem over-stuffing the broadcast with people, where I would be the main guy on the air and the others would just tag along and not say too much of anything. I fixed that problem in my second year, but I grew from this. Also, I learned to share only positive facts about people, because some people flip out when they hear what you say. Bad things, keep between you and the other sportscaster. Got it.

Baseball was also a blast. This was the time the SID (Sports Information Director) gave me a Bob Carpenter scorebook late in the season. I still have this book as I look forward to using it at my new gig at WSWO. We were usually outside, right behind home plate on the concourse. It was a bit chilly earlier in the season, but I think everyone got over that quickly. This was my favorite time, as I would come up to the ball park (sometimes walking from my apartment) and just relax and shoot the breeze with the SID. I learned a lot about the team, the sport, and everything else. I have to say, he was my mentor until he took another job at Tulane. I look back on junior year and I look at all the things I learned.

The second season saw the birth of Wright State football, along with soccer and volleyball. I covered the entire volleyball season (minus two games, due to being overstretched) and most of the soccer season. Football was a popular choice for sportscasters as it brought them a college team they could be proud of that isn’t Ohio State.

I will be honest, I think this was a bad year for me. I took over the majority of those games, sometimes without anyone putting me on the air (that’s right, I ran the board AND broadcasted at the same thing [my personal fastest time is 3 minutes! Don’t tell anyone!]) I did half of the games I called by myself. I did about twenty games without a producer. I look back and wonder if people didn’t want to see me suffer and turn insane during the year since it was a struggle to find people on a regular basis. I tell you though, I saw a bunch of sports and learned a lot from everyone.

Originally, I wasn’t going to be hired back as the Sports Director for Fall 2010, but luck came my way. I had to trim a lot of sports (by a lot, I mean the non-conference soccer games, volleyball, and the majority of hockey) and I had to research on the latest technologies for new equipment. However, the staff helped me out by giving me a producer every game. I had a few back out, but people were right there to help me out. Out of all the games during Fall Quarter, I called all but four (three football since I run the scoreboard and one soccer game due to another game at WSWO.) I really feel like I smoothed out during this last quarter and I hope I’m ready for the real world. Currently, I have a broadcasting internship with the Troy Bruins and a volunteer sportscasting gig with WSWO, which is the voice of the Wayne High School Warriors.

On a regular basis, I have had fans, visitors, and listeners alike tell me I do a good job and talk Raider sports with me. Most of the Athletic Department know how I am, which is a great thing for the job. I think I won over my co-workers at WWSU, since I won the Co-Director of the Year Award for 2008-2009. I’m often been described as the hardest working person at the station, as I put in a lot of hours working on stats and games. I really hope the Athletic Department also thought of me as someone that genuinely cared about the teams.

I felt as if the job got me an identity (and no, I’m not talking about the press passes.) I think it really helped me see what I can become. I’m still a little rough around the edges, but I know I can succeed as a sportscaster.

I want to thank all of the people of WWSU who I’ve worked with, as it was a pleasure to get to know you all. I really have enjoyed getting to know all of you (and hopefully, the feeling is mutual.) I might visit every now and then, but I need to move on from the station. I hope the only way for me to go is up.

Until next time,

-Lee

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1 Comment

  1. Der Kaiser of the Raider Rowdies says:

    Lee, it has been a pleasure knowing you since you first came to Wright State. I remember your first year, so awkward, but I fought to keep you with the group because I felt we needed you and I knew you needed us. It was my pleasure being a guest on your show those many times and for you to produce Raider Rowdie Radio for the short stint in which we were on the air. I believe there is no where for you to look but up and I will be here to back you whenever you need it. Congratulations on your soon graduation and welcome to the real world.

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