Dec. 29, 2011
By Bill Bennett
At any UCLA men's basketball game for the last few seasons, the broadcast media lineup has consisted primarily of outstanding Bruin alumni. For instance, starting for UCLA at radio analyst is Don MacLean or Tracy Murray. As television analyst, it could be Marques Johnson or MacLean. And as pre-and-post game hosts and analysts, you'll see Mitchell Butler, Ryan Hollins or Toby Bailey.
MacLean, who is now in his 10th season as the UCLA radio analyst assisting play-by-play announcer Chris Roberts, has made sports broadcasting a full-time career, both on the radio and on TV. MacLean has been a college basketball analyst for Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket, a studio analyst for the Los Angeles Clippers, and a Fox Sports Network regional/national college basketball analyst. The UCLA and Pac-12 all-time leading scorer (2,608 points) jumped into broadcasting shortly after completing a nine-year NBA career.
"Broadcasting wasn't something I set out to do when my playing career was over," said MacLean, who last March was inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor. "I had done some work on the Jim Rome radio show while I was playing but wasn't really sure that was the direction that I wanted to go in. The year I retired, the UCLA radio job had an opening, and I decided to give it a try. I found out along the way that I really enjoyed doing it, and here I am 10 years later still doing it."
MacLean credits broadcasting luminaries such as Don Martin, John Heffner, Roy Hamilton and Tom Feuer for helping him get his start in the business and has enjoyed broadcasting his alma mater's games while working with Roberts.
"I love still being involved in the game, and to be able to do it at a place where you played has been really rewarding," MacLean said. "Chris Roberts has been unbelievable to work with the last 10 years. He is such a pro and has been doing it for so long that he made it easy for me to figure out how to be a broadcaster. He is a friend and someone who I will always be grateful to for showing me the ropes and how to have fun when doing games. Bruin fans are lucky to have him for both football and basketball for as long as they have."
Before starting his broadcasting career in the 1990s, Johnson's UCLA and professional basketball career earned him numerous national accolades. As a sophomore starting forward in 1975, he played on John Wooden's final UCLA NCAA Championship team, and two years later as a senior captain, he earned the first-ever John R. Wooden Award as the nation's top player. Johnson played in five NBA All-Star games with a career average of 20.1 points and 7.0 rebounds.
Johnson's broadcast career started as the Bruin radio analyst with Roberts. During UCLA's 1995 run to the NCAA Championship, Johnson's "Yea Baby" became a famous slogan of that Bruin team. Since then, he has served as the color analyst for the Seattle Super Sonics, broadcast college basketball games on CBS and ESPN and is now the lead basketball analyst for Fox Sports Net and Fox Sports.com.
Johnson's move to broadcasting was natural to the Theatre Arts major who appeared in several feature films, including "White Men Can't Jump," "Blue Chips" and "Speechless" and had his own variety/interview show on UCLA TV. Broadcasting came onto his radar when he took Arthur Friedman's sportscasting class.
One of Johnson's favorite UCLA radio broadcast memories took place at the start of the 1992-93 season in New York City for the preseason NIT.
"We had a wee-hours of the morning basketball roundtable featuring, P.J. Carlesimo, Sonny Vaccaro, Dick Vitale, Howard Garfinkel, Coaches Harrick, Romar, Gottfried, Lavin and me," Johnson recalled. "We were swapping basketball tales until three or four in the morning."
For Hollins, broadcasting is a way for him to look into another profession once his NBA playing days are over. Hollins, who was the starting center on UCLA's 2006 NCAA finalist team, is in his sixth year in the NBA and his first season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Through a program offered by the NBA, he attended Syracuse University and took a broadcasting class at the end of the 2010-11 campaign.
"I've always thought about broadcasting, and with lots of resources around me, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity," said Hollins, who appeared in 113 games as a Bruin from 2003-06. "Our class time at Syracuse included studio work, and I was able to put together a tape. When the NBA lockout occurred, Tom Feuer at Fox gave me the opportunity to work early-season UCLA games."
With the NBA lockout over, Hollins is back now with Cleveland but is grateful for his Bruin broadcast stint.
"Stepping into that opportunity and learning a new profession is a great opportunity for me," he said. "I can definitely see myself getting into broadcasting. Most guys get into it after their playing career is finished, but because of the lockout and Tom, I got this opportunity while my playing career is still going on. Chris, Don, Tracy, Mitch, they all took care of me and made me feel right at home. They were all there when I was a Bruin, and having a chance to work with them was such a cool and unique situation."
Roberts, who has broadcast more NCAA Division I games on Los Angeles radio than anyone, has enjoyed working with so many Bruin men's basketball greats over the years. Along with MacLean, Johnson and Murray, the list also includes actor Michael Warren, current ESPN analyst Sean Farnham, Golden State Warriors Assistant GM/VP of Basketball Oeprations Bob Myers, and even his UCLA football radio analyst Matt Stevens, who sat in one game when MacLean was sick.
"Bottom line with all the guys, we have been and still are good friends," Roberts said of his Bruin colleagues. "It has been fun not only working with them, but `hangin' out together' off the air, too."
It's not only in the sport of basketball where UCLA student-athlete alumni have entered into the broadcasting ranks, it's also at the executive level and in all sports. Hamilton, a three-year Bruin starting guard from 1976-79, has been Vice President Production/Executive Producer at Fox Sports Net since 1997. Feuer, a 1985 UCLA graduate, has worked at ESPN, Turner Sports and Fox Sports Net Northwest, and has worked as an executive producer at Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket since 2005.
Some of UCLA's greatest student-athletes have entered into the broadcasting profession as well, including Reggie Miller (TNT), Bill Walton (ABC/ESPN), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (CBS), Troy Aikman (Fox), Randy Cross (CBS), Tim Daggett (NBC), Amanda Freed (ESPN/Fox), Karch Kiraly (NBC/Fox/ESPN), Holly McPeak (Fox/Universal), Ato Boldon (NBC/Universal Sports) and Dwight Stones (ESPN/Fox/NBC).
Johnson and Hamilton agree that it is the total UCLA experience, both on and off the playing field, that prepares Bruin student-athletes for a professional future in the broadcasting field.
"There is definitely a prototypical UCLA student-athlete - articulate, intelligent, affable," Johnson said. "These are qualities coupled with a keen analytical eye that makes for a successful broadcaster."
In a 2008 Bruin Blue article, Hamilton said - "There is a balance of life at UCLA. There is a strong balance of being a student-athlete at UCLA and that helps lay the foundation for life, which includes a professional career. The professors and the coaches - the resources that a UCLA student-athlete has access to - are remarkable. The overall support is tremendous. There are also strong alumni ties, and that helps in the job-finding process. I would, of course, help any current UCLA student-athlete who was trying to get into sports television."
UCLA Alumni Student-Athletes Working In Electronic Media
|Kareem Abdul-Jabbar||Sport||Actor (Movies)/Sportscaster (CBS)|
|Troy Aikman||Football||Sportscaster (FOX)|
|Charles Arbuckle||Football||Sportscaster (ESPNU)|
|Toby Bailey||Basketball||Sportscaster (Prime Ticket)|
|Ato Boldon||Track & Field||Sportscaster (NBC/Universal Sports)|
|Mitchell Butler||Basketball||Sportscaster (Fox Sports Net)|
|Kay Cockerill||Golf||Sportscaster (Golf Channel)|
|Wayne Cook||Football||Sportscaster (AM570 KLAC Radio)|
|Jon Crispin||Basketball||Sportscaster (Fox Sports Radio)|
|Randy Cross||Football||Sportscaster (CBS/CBS College Sports/Sirius)|
|Tim Daggett||Gymnastics||Sportscaster (NBC)|
|Terry Donahue||Football||Sportscaster (Radio/TV)|
|Maura Driscoll-Farden||Gymnastics||Sportscaster (ESPN/Prime Ticket), Host (Lifetime/USA/Medical Channel)|
|Danny Farmer||Football/VB||Sportscaster (Prime Ticket)|
|Sean Farnham||Basketball||Sportscaster (ESPN)|
|Tom Feuer||Track & Field||Exec. Producer (FS West/Prime Ticket)|
|Amanda Freed||Softball||Sportscaster (ESPN/Fox Sports Net)|
|Leslie Gudel||Rowing||Studio Host (Comcast), Sportscaster (ABC, Prime Ticket)|
|Kim Hamilton Anthony||Gymnastics||Sportscaster (ESPN/Fox Sports Net)|
|Roy Hamilton||Basketball||Coord. Producer (Fox Sports Net)|
|Mark Harmon||Football||Actor (Movies, TV)|
|Ryan Hollins||Basketball||Sportscaster (Prime Ticket)|
|Marques Johnson||Basketball||Actor (Movies)/Sportscaster (Fox Sports Net)|
|Eric Karros||Baseball||Sportscaster (FOX)|
|Karch Kiraly||Volleyball||Sportscaster (NBC/Fox Sports Net/ESPN)|
|Don MacLean||Basketball||Sportscaster (AM 570 Radio/Fox Sports Net)|
|Holly McPeak||Volleyball||Sportscaster (Fox Sports Net/Universal)|
|Reggie Miller||Basketball||Sportscaster (TNT)|
|David Norrie||Football||Sportscaster (ABC/ESPN)|
|Ron Pitts||Football||Sportscaster (FOX)|
|Tom Ramsey||Football||Sportscaster (Fox Sports Net)|
|Jerome "Pooh" Richardson||Basketball||Sportscaster (Fox Sports Radio)|
|Jay Schroeder||Football||Sportscaster (Prime Ticket)|
|Matt Stevens||Football||Sportscaster (AM 570 KLAC Radio)|
|J.J. Stokes||Football||Sportscaster (Fox Sports Net)|
|Dwight Stones||Track & Field||Sportscaster (ESPN, Fox Sports Net, NBC)|
|Rick Walker||Football||Sportscaster (ESPN, Fox Sports Net)|
|Bill Walton||Basketball||Sportscaster (ABC, ESPN)|
|Michael Warren||Basketball||Actor (Television/Movies)|
|James Washington||Football||Sportscaster (Prime Ticket)|