Play by Play


My first experience doing sports play-by-play was in the 70’s as color commentator with Bill Meade broadcasting Gate City football & basketball games on WGAT-FM. Man did we do some driving along the back roads to such Southwest Virginia towns as Tazewell, Lebanon, Appalachia, Bluefield, Richlands, Big Stone Gap & Grundy. I remember seeing a lot of Cadillacs…covered in coal dust! Anyway, I really enjoyed doing those game broadcasts. Both coach Vickers of the basketball team and Harry Fry with football always produced great teams…and we got to be a part of some great games. One trip we really did enjoy was going to Blacksburg when Gate City made it to the state basketball championship tournament that year. They played at Virginia Tech, and we were impressed. Current WGAT-AM station owner Alan Giles was with us on this trip. (Alan was an original partner with Bill & I in the mobile Disco business.) Our broadcast location was in the press box high up in the rafters of Cassell Coliseum. We finally got all our equipment set up when we realized we hadn’t hung the station banner. There really wasn’t a good place to hang the banner, but I thought I’d give it a whirl and climb out on the catwalk, precariously over our already high perch. I’ve never been good with heights, but I was determined to hang that sucker! At one point Bill & Alan had to grab me, and if it weren’t for them, I would have been a greasy spot on the floor of the Hokie House! Bill Meade & I went on to do Dobyns Bennett football & basketball games together on WKIN. Bill wound up in Bristol doing Tennessee High games and I ended up doing play-by-play of the Dobyns Bennett games (eventually taken over by John Patrick.) We all then found ourselves together again at the stations in Gray. Later, WJCW sent Bill & I to Anchorage with Science Hill’s basketball team to cover the high school version of the Great Alaskan Shootout!

Newspaper ad in the 80’s