The radio broadcast for Pitt men’s basketball is honoring their former longtime color analyst for the entire season.
After more than four decades as part of the Panthers men’s basketball radio team, 88-year old Dick Groat was informed in March that he would not return to the broadcast this season. Groat’s longtime partner, play-by-play voice Bill Hillgrove is currently in his 51st season on-air with Pitt.
“It was a shock,” Groat said about being informed he would not return. “It hurt, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of college basketball. Pitt has treated me extremely well. But it did come as a complete shock to me.”
Without Groat this season, former Pitt guard Curtis Aiken, who played for the University from 1983-87, is now the broadcast’s sole color commentator.
According to Craig Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aiken came up with the idea to leave an empty chair on the sideline between him and Hillgrove. The seat has been unoccupied during the Panthers first seven home games and will remain that way for the rest of the season.
“It really wasn’t meant for other people in terms of their perception,” Aiken told Meyer. “It was really meant for Dick. I wanted him to know that I didn’t feel like I could replace him and this wasn’t about replacing him. With who he is and what he represents — I can’t fill that seat. I’m trying to do my own thing. I can’t replace Dick Groat.”
Aiken, a familiar name and familiar voice for the school has been featured as the broadcast’s third voice for the last decade. For the last two of Groat’s 40 years as a broadcaster, he only traveled to Duke, so most road games were called by Hillgrove and Aiken.
Groat was an All-American basketball player for Duke in the 1950s. In addition to his basketball accolades, Groat played professional baseball, mostly for the Pittsburgh Pirates, even winning the NL MVP in 1960.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Stan Norfleet To Replace N.D. Kalu On SportsTalk 790 in Houston
“My affinity for Space City spans nearly two decades and I look forward to connecting with old friends and new listeners in the market.”
Change is afoot at SportsTalk 790 in Houston. Chris Gordy will have a new co-host in middays as N.D. Kalu exits and Stan Norfleet comes aboard for Next Up.
Kalu, a former Houston Texans defensive end, has decided to leave radio behind. Instead, he will focus on his real estate business.
“N.D. is a tremendous talent and one of the most down-to-earth people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. He will be missed,” said iHeartMedia Houston’s head of AM programming, Bryan Erickson.
Stan Norfleet comes to Houston after most recently being on WFNZ in Charlotte. He is no stranger to Texas, though. He finished his college football career at Texas Southern University. He also worked in the sales departments for both the Rockets and the Texans.
“It is a tremendous blessing and honor to join the renowned iHeartMedia Houston family. I have long been a fan and avid listener of Sportstalk 790 and respect the history and contributions of its personalities,” Stan Norfleet said in a press release. “My affinity for Space City spans nearly two decades and I look forward to connecting with old friends and new listeners in the market.”
In addition to his time on air in Charlotte, Norfleet has also been heard on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta and seen on Raycom’s regionally syndicated ACC Network. He is also a former columnist at BSM.
“Stan brings amazing passion to everything he does,” said Erickson. “He has strong local ties and we’re thrilled to add him to the team.”
Mark Sanchez Jokes ‘Tom Brady Is Going To Ruin My Career For a 2nd Time’
“I get drafted to the guy’s division. Now he’s gotta come to FOX and ruin everything here. I can’t get away from the guy.”
Now that Tom Brady is done on the field, it is only a matter of time before he makes his way to the broadcast booth. Before the 2022 season began, FOX announced that Brady had signed a ten-year deal with the network that will put him in the top NFL play-by-play booth and make him a brand ambassador.
That has created speculation and uncertainty for Greg Olsen, the current analyst on FOX’s top NFL crew, but it won’t stop there. The effects will almost certainly trickle down. Mark Sanchez was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday and joked that he knows his place is a little less certain now than it was last week.
“I guess thanks for ruining the trajectory of my career for the second time, Tom,” Sanchez said with a smile. “I get drafted to the guy’s division. Now he’s gotta come to FOX and ruin everything here. I can’t get away from the guy.”
Mark Sanchez led the New York Jets to two AFC Championship Games during Tom Brady’s Super Bowl drought. He was also a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, and the then-Washington Redskins during his ten-year NFL career.
He began his broadcasting career in 2019. He was first with ABC and ESPN as a studio analyst for college football. Before the 2021 NFL season, he moved to FOX, where he joined Kevin Kugler in the broadcast booth.
With a few years and plenty of reps under his belt, Mark Sanchez is a broadcast veteran. He joked that that will give him some clout over Tom Brady when the GOAT makes his FOX debut.
“Hopefully he doesn’t get too annoyed with the hazing we put them through as rookies here at FOX. Hopefully, it doesn’t get too annoying for him.”
Adam Jones: ‘I Hold No Animosity Towards 98.5 The Sports Hub’
“I think we did a good thing at night for 10 years, but nights are nights, and I honestly was ready for something different.”
Adam Jones left one Boston sports talker for another. Earlier this month, he left his nighttime show on 98.5 The Sports Hub to join Meghan Ottolini and Christian Arcand in afternoon drive on WEEI.
In an interview with Alex Reimer of WEEI, Jones made it clear that there was no bitterness towards his old station. It was just time for a lifestyle change.
“I had done 10 years at night,” he said. “My kid is going to be going to school next year. It’s a good life-work balance, which I know a lot of people probably overuse, but it will be a good life-work balance to be home at night for the first time in 10 years and be able to do dinners at home. And it’s a new challenge. I would like to be in a more prominent day part, and try to carve out a niche there, and try to be successful there. I think we did a good thing at night for 10 years, but nights are nights, and I honestly was ready for something different.”
Jones says he knew that if he wanted to make a move, it likely wasn’t going to happen on 98.5. The station’s daytime lineup has a very successful track record and management likely isn’t eager to do anything to jeopardize that.
“I hold no animosity towards 98.5…I think people wonder that and ask that. I get why you’re not gonna get rid of Fred, or Rich, or Wallach, or Beetle, or Zo, or Hardy, or Felger and Mazz and Big Jim. There are limited opportunities.”
Now, Adam Jones is focused on making things work with Mego and Arcand. He told Reimer that there is plenty to consider and that he and Mego are trying to find their goto hot buttons.
He said they are not trying to manufacture debates. They just want to make sure the show is entertaining and doesn’t bore listeners.
“I guess there’s a journalistic aspect to this job,” Adam Jones said. “I’m not a journalist, I’ve never pretended to be a journalist. I didn’t go to school for journalism. It’s not my job. My job is to be entertaining. People might disagree, and that’s fine.”