Commentary: Voice of Tigers Could Be Announced Next Week


by - Correspondent -
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Some rumblings about Clemson's new play-by-play guy...


I'm hearing it could be the old play-by-play guy. Or guys.


Pete Yanity of Newschannel 7, who so capably filled in after the sudden and unexpected death of the legendary Jim Phillips, could be retained as the lead voice for Clemson broadcasts, though I'm hearing Don Munson could be in the running for the No. 1 spot.


The two split the broadcasts this past year, and it's possible next year's broadcast scenario will look exactly like 2003-2004 - Yanity and Will Merritt doing football, Yanity and Tim Bourret on men's basketball, and Don Munson handling both women's basketball and baseball.


All of this is subject to change, of course, but one thing is certain:



Whatever happens, a final decision won't be coming this week as was reported a few days ago in another publication. Phillips will interview at least one candidate for the job on Friday, and it's unlikely he'd issue a public decision the same day.


Still, it wouldn't be surprising to see the status quo remain in effect. Not only because Yanity and Munson have received generally good marks from Clemson fans, but for another reason not being talked about.


The contract of the current broadcast rights holders, Learfield/ISP, is up after the 2004-2005 athletic year. Some think making a change in broadcasters now and inking someone to a long term deal as the sole Voice of the Tigers would be unwise until a new rights holder is determined.


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And speaking of the network, perhaps athletic director Terry Don Phillips should consider foregoing a new round of bids later this year and decide to take the broadcast team in house.


It's an idea which makes great sense. The university has a state of the art broadcast facility at the Madren Center which can serve as "mission control" for a network. And goodness knows there are enough qualified people in the area with broadcast and/or network experience who can run the show.


Hire a quality sales/marketing staff and share the profits with no one. For an athletic department looking for new revenue streams, it's an idea worth exploring.


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As for Learfield/ISP, word is the marriage between the company and the school might be on the rocks anyway.


Grumblings I hear include Clemson's complaints of poor marketing, lack of imagination and creativity from the network brass, and the inability for some folks on both sides to get along.


All problems which can be solved, of course, but ones which also could play a huge role in whether or not the network returns in fall 2005.


Stay tuned.


***


Funny how things can change in a month.


It wasn't too long ago that the Clemson baseball team was sitting with an unimpressive 9-10 record, having fallen out of the national rankings. Radio talk show callers and Internet discussion board dwellers wondered aloud what was wrong with the team, the players, and even coach Jack Leggett.


But as the team takes most of this week off for final exams - and a much needed rest - the Tigers pause with a 27-14 mark, having won six in a row.


As detailed in an earlier report, there are numerous reasons for the turnaround - continued strong pitching, timely hitting, solid defense, better health and, even, a bit of good fortune.


One area we shouldn't overlook, however, is coaching.


Leggett and Co. held things together through the early stages of the season by refusing to panic when this team struggled to get its legs. But Leggett knew that with the number of freshmen and/or junior college transfers getting playing time in 2004, there would be some period of adjustment necessary before many were comfortable at the major college level.


Now, as the season hits the home stretch, it appears the team not only has adjusted but is peaking, and just at the right time.


Sometimes when a team - and coach - approach the top of the mountain (re: the College World Series) as Clemson did in 2000 and 2002, folks can get a little spoiled. When expectations fall short, they can get more than a little agitated.


But this particular team, at least so far, has shown a much different character trait was required:


Patience.


It's a difficult trait for fans to display. But you get the sense that this year, with this team, patience might indeed be rewarded.



Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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