Interviewing the Interviewers
Role Reversal for Lions Broadcasters
Scarborough, Roberts discuss their roles with SAGU Sports Live
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Used to being the descriptive eyes and voice at athletic events, the tables have been turned on Clay Scarborough.
The former Assistant Baseball Coach and Sports Information Director at Southwestern Assemblies of God University, he is now more familiar to Lions fans as the host on SAGU Sports Live broadcasts. Scarborough is seen and heard by viewers who tune in for football, volleyball and basketball games on SAGU TV.
Last Saturday he began his third basketball season behind the mic. The Lady Lions pre-game show comes on the air at approximately 5:15pm CST. Following a post-game review, Scarborough and his side-kick in the booth, Tim Roberts, provide the Lions men’s game, which starts about 7:30pm.
He has a strong background in athletics and journalism. He played both football and baseball at Tyler’s T.K. Gorman High School before playing both at Austin College in Sherman, Tx. Earning a degree in Communications, he coached on the AC baseball staff and worked in the Sports Information department, which allowed him to try his hand in broadcasting.
Roberts, 22, and a Communications Studies major at SAGU, is ironically from Sherman, where he attended Texoma Christian School.
Scarborough, an avid Texas Rangers aficionado, handled some Austin College football games. He also hosted the Sherman H.S. Bearcat Football Show as part of his degree studies. That led him to Lon Morris Junior College (Jacksonville, Tx), where he was an assistant coach and S.I.D. for two years.
The personable Scarborough, who is known for his warmth and wit, continued those roles locally.
He came to SAGU and began a relationship that remains today. As an assistant coach for the baseball Lions, “Scarby” worked with pitchers for nine seasons. He also served as the S.I.D. for six years.
Both were part-time jobs he did following his work day within the Waxahachie Independent School District. There he teaches technology to middle school students.
Along the side he writes for and serves as a photographer for the Waxahachie Daily Light. That role includes assignments that send him to shoot action photos of the Rangers.
Clay Scarborough Q & A
Instead of describing the action on camera and conducting live interviews, Scarborough was pinned down long enough last week to provide answers rather than questions. The swapped exchange:
Q1) What role do you play as the host for SAGU athletic broadcasts?
Clay: I do the play by play and act kind of like the studio host during pre and post-game shows. I aim to set the stage for the viewer; who is playing, where we are, what’s going on and what the on-site atmosphere is like. Basically, to paint a picture; to a give a summary.
Q2) This year your broadcast partner is a SAGU student, Tim Roberts. Tell us about him and his role.
Clay: Tim is the color (analyst) guy. Not only does he add great hair the broadcast, but he brings flavor as well. I prepare the meat and potatoes, while he serves the butter, cheese, and dessert. You will hear Tim give most of the information on the visiting team as well.
Q3) What do you hope that viewers will discover when they tune in?
Clay: I hope that the viewer gets a feeling of being in the gym or in the stadium with us! Let me add that the broadcast itself is a top-of-the-line production for any college, especially in the NAIA. The look (HD), the feel, the graphics, etc., are not only student produced, but unmatched by many schools.
Q4) How important is being more objective than most schools' broadcasts?
Clay: In trying to provide the information for the viewer, we attempt to deliver what sports fans would want to know. We also strive to provide a context with SAGU's place in the sports world. So (during the broadcasts) we talk to opposing coaches, SID’s and players. We also share scores from other games, etc. Yes, the broadcasts are SAGU-centered, but within a framework of our conference competition.
The technology provided at courtside allows us to access viewer e-mail, check in on games being played simultaneously and give up-to-the-moment stats on our game. It’s pretty neat.
Q5) What kind of reward do you receive from your involvement?
Clay: There are many. Enjoying sports and broadcasting, this feeds the hobbies in my life.
I also enjoy working with a producer like John Cookman. He has a great vision for building the program. John is taking a small school and, in every broadcast, makes us look like ESPN or something close. He pushes the envelope for quality. I like being involved with that.
I enjoy working with good people like the students involved in the broadcasts. Knowing we are delivering a product to parents, friends, fans and relatives of the players is very satisfying. In many cases, there are people that would never see their kids play collegiate sports without SSL. We are giving them that chance.
My parents made some games when I played in college, so I was lucky.
BONUS Q) How do the SAGU teams look so far?
Clay: Both the women and men are experiencing interesting transitions.
The women graduated a number of core players last year and are rebuilding in a sense that they are younger and less experienced. Not rebuilding in that they are breaking down the team, but in that a new crew has come in and are going to be asked to follow in the footsteps of those before them who had to do the same thing; gain experience and get better while they are playing.
They are a work in progress and will get there.
The men have a new coach and a new style of play.
SAGU now tries to outrun opponents instead of outlasting them. The pace of play is faster and harder to keep up with for opponents. The players are not only getting comfortable with a new coach, but a new system. So far it appears the new system is paying dividends.
But this is a long conference schedule and there will be 'off nights' ahead. How they withstand the grind of school and the conference schedule will show how good they really are.
The men look like they could be really good, but ‘how good’ is yet to be determined.
Tim Roberts Q & A
As for Roberts, who calls Jelgava, Latvia his hometown, he is preparing for a career as a media professional. Known for his colorful personality and, with his curly top, is called Chewbacca by some, added to Scarborough’s dialogue with some of his own.
Q: What about the experience of working in Media Services?
Tim: Getting to work with media services while a student at SAGU was absolutely amazing. Getting the real world experience of shooting and directing live events such as seminars, concerts, services, and of course sports really gave me more experience than I ever could have achieved just in class.
Q: What do you enjoy most about serving in the capacity as Color Analyst?
Tim: I love being able to analyze the game and try to think like a coach or player. It's a lot of fun for me to try to use that to guess what's coming next and in a way it gets the audience a lot more involved in our broadcast as they decide whether they agree or disagree with me.
Q: Describe the chemistry between you and Clay?
Tim: Clay and I have always had a really good chemistry. I was surprised by how even from our first broadcast we flowed so well together.
Clay is a very enthusiastic announcer, and he really gets into the games and I know that’s fun for the audience at home. He is always great at keeping the conversation fresh and is always there with a new topic to discuss if I run out of things to say.
On the other hand, I am known for a constant flow of stats and facts within the game. But it's probably more for the comical comments or awful puns I interject.
Q: Have you had a chance to view other NAIA schools' broadcasts?
Tim: We've done a lot of comparing between us and broadcasts of schools on our level (NAIA and NCCAA). I don't think it’s too prideful to say that we are far and away the best for our level.
From the amazing camera work (all done by students), the directing of the broadcast, the quality of the graphics, and the on-air talent, it brings together a quality of sports broadcast that you have to look towards major venues, like ESPN 3, to find better.
SAGU Sports Live
Besides Clay and Tim, there are others who work the sidelines to add details and insights, including interviews, features, and injury updates.
John Cookman, who directs Media Services as a major on campus, is the producer of SAGU SPORTS Live. During the year several students have been assigned as directors for specific sports.
It adds to their experience and keeps teamwork a by-product of the entire media crew.