Players hog all the attention.
Sure, they’re athletic gazelles.
Sure, they look better in uniforms than we do.
Sure, they’re cool.
But the players make up such a small part of the fun.
The “team” goes far beyond just 13 girls.
And one of those glanced over, taken for granted, extremely important part of the puzzle team members that I want to highlight today is our very own Dave Marcus, the man behind the mic.
Since 2003 Dave has worked closely with UCLA.
The sharp looking man in the suit? That’s Dave.
The man with the voice of an angel? That’s Dave.
The UCLA play-by-play radio extraordinaire? That’s Dave.
His presence is felt, his commentary is never negative, and his passion runs deep. I’ve had the pleasure of calling a few games with Dave this season. I don’t know how the man does it. He typically goes on air for two straight hours. All by himself. No sidekick to allow him even a gulp of water! He does it all. The commentary, the set-up, the production. Despite the plate full of responsibilities his voice remains crisp and his commentary is never short of insightful.
However, his gifts weren’t given overnight.
He has worked and worked and worked at his craft.
“When I was a kid, very few games were televised. Radio was our open window to the sports world. Like many who went on to do play-by-play, I would make believe I was announcing on the radio even when I was in the backyard playing catch with my dad. It used to drive him crazy. I grew up listening to the greatest radio announcers of all time, including Vin Scully with the Dodgers, Dick Enberg with the Angels (later Rams and UCLA basketball on TV), Bob Kelly with the Rams, and Fred Hessler with UCLA football and basketball. I almost never missed a game. The Los Angeles announcers were known for their impartiality, unlike many of the markets across the country where they openly cheer for the home team. I have always tried to honor that tradition and call my games objectively.”
Midway through the first quarter of my first color commentary gig with Dave, he politely reminded me to stop saying “we.”
“We are dominating the boards right now," says Nicole.
“We can’t get over screens," says Nicole.
“If we can stop them in transition, we’ll win handedly," says Nicole.
What can I say? I’m a Bruin. And I want the world to know it.
Unfortunately, not everyone else does. I must be careful with my verbiage, with my nicknames, and with my subjectivity.
Dave makes this look easy. He is so polished. Not only does he know the ins and outs of UCLA basketball, but he is also plugged in to nearly every other team in the country.
I asked him how long it takes to prepare for a game.
“I search out as much information as I can about women’s college basketball year round. I always try to stay knowledgeable enough to be conversant about all the teams in the country, not just UCLA. Back in the old days, it was hard to even get basic statistics to prepare for a game. You had to get the sports department of each school to fax them over and that process usually wasn’t easy or quick. If we were lucky, we could get a school to mail us a media guide, which was a paper guide about the size of a phonebook.”
Dave, you’re not that old. We still know what media guides are. Phonebooks on the other hand? No promises.
UCLA found a diamond in the rough. They found a man full of passion about women in sport. They found a man, and made him family.
Many may not know what he looks like, many may not even know his name, but many know his voice; he’s the man behind the mic, and his name is Dave.